Some Traditions Aren’t Worth Preserving
Today the Supreme Court of Washington State handed down their decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and they have decided that our state constitution allows for the continuing discrimination of citizens based on their sexual orientation. The fact that our constitution is being used as an instrument to deny equal rights is bad enough, but the rational for the decision is even more disturbing, it’s religious nonsense.
If the reason for upholding the statewide ban on gay marriage is to protect children, these five justices have done a grave disservice to our state’s children in the name of protecting them. The justices signing on to the majority opinion claim that the purpose of marriage is procreation and since same sex couples don’t fulfill that purpose, they are not entitled to marriage rights. I know that the Bible deems procreation the “purpose” of marriage, but I didn’t know that the state constitution did as well. If it does, then surely all of the marriages that have not resulted in children will now be annulled. And while we’re at it, opposite sex couples that choose to marry but also choose not to have children should be excluded from marriage in the future too. Perhaps the state legislature can write a new law that gives heterosexual couples a timeline to follow. If you don’t conceive within the first five years, your marriage will be nullified. Of course, that would also include couples unable to conceive their own child and choose to adopt instead, because we all know that an adopted child is not the “product” of the marriage, therefore the marriage should be voided. Who cares if it is better for the adopted child to have married parents, this is Washington and we care about God’s intentions.
Is this really the road we want to go down? Even though it seems ridiculous to follow the convoluted logic these justices use to justify excluding gay couples from obtaining marriage rights, doing so may be the only way that religious people, judges included, will ever see the consequences of pushing their narrow beliefs on the rest of us. Until it comes back to bite them on their own ass, they simply won’t give a shit.
The same is true of stem cell research. If the use of embryos in stem cell research is “murder” as the President suggests, then every single fertilized egg should be implanted in the woman choosing to undergo in vitro fertilization. No more fertilizing a bunch of eggs and hoping one of them takes, you get one shot each time no matter what the cost. I mean really, if God wanted you to have children, he’d have made you fertile right? This is the lunacy that the religious masses, with their freedom to worship (and believe) however they choose, are unleashing on our country. I think they should try to live up to their own religious ideals before attempting to force the rest of us to comply with what they can’t seem to live up to themselves. Given that 80% or so of this country is Christian, I’m guessing that most of the fertilized embryos sitting in freezers right now belong to Christian couples. How about we pass a law forcing them to implant, carry and care for all these hundreds of thousands of “lives” they have willfully abandoned? Is that any less crazy than restricting science because it’s against “God’s law”?
I’m disappointed with the Washington Supreme Court decision, obviously, but the ball is back in the legislature’s court now and perhaps that is where this is best decided anyway. There was a time when the courts in this country made bold decisions and helped move us forward toward a more perfect union by striking down laws that were inherently discriminatory, but that time has passed. If equality is to be achieved, we are going to have to pressure our elected representatives to the point that they have no other option but to act boldly and expand rights rather than restrict them. We on the left must be the counter to the noise of the Religious Right and make clear that discrimination is not a tradition we care to honor, no matter how rooted in our history it is.