Land of the free and home of the brave (but only if you’re not gay)

 I’d like to start by clarifying something:  we do not live in a democracy.  I know.  You may have thought we did.  Let me clarify.  We do not live in a democracy.

We live in a republic.  It is a democratic republic, but it is a republic.

“I Pledge allegiance to the flag of United States, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

[You’ve got to love the socialization of children :) ]

So in this republic, I think it sets a very dangerous precedent for us to allow referendums to take place wherein a majority strips rights from a minority.

I’m talking about many states’ ban on gay marriage.

Gay people are in the minority.  Most people are heterosexual.  Does that mean that we should allow the majority (heterosexuals) to strip rights (marriage) away from a minority (homosexuals)? 

I think that’s very dangerous.  What if the “sanctity of marriage” was between a man and a woman of the same race?  Would that be an acceptable restriction? 

We may not think so now, but ask that question of the majority 75 years ago (or less) and you may have gotten a different answer.

Additionally, there’s another problem I have with the legal basis of this ban.  We in the United States pride ourselves on our freedom of religion.  The law is supposed to show no preferential treatment of any religion.  “Congress shall make no law concerning an establishment of religion.”

Yet there are religions that will marry gay people.   Wiccan covens for one.  Unitarian Universalists for two.  Unity Church for three.  That’s just off the top of my head.  So what this ban is really saying is that the religions that will marry gay people cannot.  They are restricting a religion.  In the land of the free and home of the brave.

I only hope that the wonderful checks and balances of this country’s government bring this atrocity to light.  I’m hoping that the judicial system will eventually strike these bans down as unconstitutional.  I hope that we come to our collective senses.


merkaba33  is a contributing writer for Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.



Filed under philosophy, Politics

10 responses to “Land of the free and home of the brave (but only if you’re not gay)

  1. You’re premise is wrong. The “bans” on gay marriage do not adversely affect anyone’s religious practices; they merely limit what the state – a secular entity – will recognize legally.

    If you want to argue in favor of gay marriage being recognized by the state, argue it under the grounds of Equal Protection and, strangely enough, Privacy and the limit of the State’s Interest. Those are the valid grounds for argument in this matter. The 1st Amendment isn’t.

    I do not say this an attack, but as an attempt to foster valid argument. Invalid arguments just lead to failure.

  2. merkaba33

    Are marriages religous practices? Is the states recognition of the legality of these ceremonies a form of approval or lack therof?

    I agree Equal Protection, Privacy, and the limit of State’s interest are probably easier arguments to win in court. However, I would argue that bans on gay marriage are an extension of *some* religions influence into secular law, and thus a restriction on *other* religions freedom to practice and have those practices equally recognized.

  3. davidrsheehan

    California’s ability to dramatically alter their state’s constitution through a popular vote (not even a two-thirds vote) is what’s at issue here. No where else do we allow the vote of the mass to decide major issues in such a way (the presidential election has the electoral college; laws have congressmen; states have their own legislative bodies… only the smaller issues, the local issues, are truly decided by the people).

    Now, I’m not suggesting I agree with this, but merkaba is right – we’re in a republic, not a democracy, and the right to decide the larger issues have tons of red tape and leaps and bounds to go through to affect change.

    The issue with prop 8 in CA, then, is that a small margin (I think the prop won with 52% in favor, but could be wrong) makes a decision on an important topic (basic rights).

    Also, I applaud merkaba for bringing up two really interesting and important ideas (although neither was pursued for obvious reasons): 1) the socialization of nationalism and 2) the problem with majorities making decisions for minorities.

    I won’t pursue these fully either, but the majority/minority issue in particular is a really big deal – majorities RARELY give up their privileges to minorities for no reason… it has to be fought for and earned, and then arduously worked for over long periods of time.

  4. jakefunc

    Marriage is a not only a religious “institution”: it is also social, economic, political, whatever. It can be used for everything from business to pleasure to an expression of true love.

    The problem is that the word marriage is used in government documents and governmental policies; the government recognizes marriage and imposes additional benefits and consequences for that status.

    To recognize one couple’s marriage and not anothers is total hypocrisy (which, strangely enough, most people don’t have a problem with. Hello doublethink…). Either the word ‘marriage’ needs to be stripped from all governmental language and replaced with ‘civil union’, or gay marriage and every other kind of marriage needs to be legally recognzied and accepted by the general populace.

  5. merkaba33,

    The state doesn’t recognize the legality or illegality of any religious marriage ceremony. You could, if you so wished and had a friendly Imam or Mormon priest, have your multiples wives, but the law wouldn’t recognize them as such but nor would they say that the ceremonies were illegal in and of themselves.

    Marriage, for the purposes of law, is civil marriage. It is a binding legal contract between the spouses and the state, nothing less and nothing more. It is completely separate from any religious ceremony.

    • davidrsheehan

      True, but only allowing a man and women to marry is *legally* defining marriage based on religious institutions’ preferences. And not all, just some. Hence, it’s stating that one (or a few) religions are correct in their definition; everyone else can go to hell when it comes to the rights and benefits of marriage.

      • That all depends on whether homosexuals are allowed to be Domestic Partners and whether Domestic Partnerships have all the same legal rights, privileges, and duties as marriages.

        In the case of California, this is the way it works. That’s part of why Prop 8 was upheld by the court.

  6. KevinKMJr

    I was watching some random channel while entering conciousness the other morning and heard someone state that they were considering what I thought the proper thing was since day one of the issue, which is to make marraige a religious activity and have no government recognition of it at all

    Marriage is, as of todays broadest definition, a spiritual union. The seperation, more so the lack, of church and state is the real issue here. Your religion may recognize a marriage, not your government. If we want tax breaks for combining incomes and what not, then the government may recognize ‘civil unions’ of people that combine their incomes with the purpose of running a house hold, but leave marraige as a spiritual act to be defined by a persons religion.

    I recognize that most of this age’s concept of marriage is based around love. At the coception of the idea of marriage, love and spirituality had nothing to do with it. Marraige was primarily a gaurantee of blood heirs and/or a business arrangement. The religions across the world then turned it into something else entirely, but still had little to do with love until recent centuries. So the real problem with recognizing religion universaly, is that it was never intended for what any of the fighting/voting parties are currently trying to define it as.

    • davidrsheehan

      Prop 8 was upheld by the court because the question was whether or not it was legal for the people’s referendum to affect such a change (that is, the state’s constitutional legislation). The court held that it did, regardless of the the justices’ beliefs on Prop 8. It had nothing to do with domestic partnerships – just whether or not the Prop 8 referendum could legally alter the constitution to such a degree.

      • Not exactly, David. The court based their ruling partially on the fact that Domestic Partnerships offer the same rights in California as Marriages did.

        Nor does Proposition 8 fundamentally alter the meaning and substance of state constitutional equal protection principles as articulated in that opinion. Instead, the measure carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term “marriage” for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law, but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant substantive aspects of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.


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