November 01, 2004

The Proposed State Amendments to the Constitution Banning Same-sex Marriage Are a Grave Threat to The Freedom of All Americans

I looked everywhere for an image that seemed appropriate to this entry. Most images were totally off the mark, and many were mean, vitriolic, and frightening. This one seemed best. It is from the Massachusetts Bar Association Web Page.

As a direct result of Massachusetts granting the right of marriage to lesbians and gays, our country is about to witness the greatest popular vote for bigotry in its history (about 1/5th of the total voting population). Conservative religious groups such as The Family Research Council are leading the fight to prevent the destruction, as they see it, of the American family.

I can't help but counter such foolishness with a brief argument. First, to think gays and lesbians have so much power is absurd. In reality, the state-by-state fight for amendments against lesbian and gay marriage is nothing more than a move to limit the rights of a class of American citizen, and it demonstrates exactly the lack of power gays and lesbians have in this country. Second, I would make the observation that 57% of all heterosexual marriages in the USA end in divorce. It appears to me that an extension of the right to marry to persons of the same sex might actually reverse the trend that heterosexuals seem hell bent on maintaining, that is the destruction of the American family.

Specifically, Missouri and Louisiana have already voted for amendments banning same sex marriage though the state court struck down the Louisiana amendment. In Mississippi, Montana, and Oregon, the proposed amendments are against gay marriage, but in 6 other states, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah, the bans would also be against civil unions. Of course such mean spirited amendments would also prevent unmarried straight couples from obtaining the benefits that gay couples never have had. These rights include but are not limited to hospital visitation, the right to adopt children, the right to adopt ones deceased partner’s children, the right to preserve one’s savings from taxation at the death of a partner, domestic partner benefits offered by employers such as health insurance, and extension of health and retirement benefits to the partner in the case of death.

Oregon is the most closely contended state, and the battle there has involved conservative accusations that the public schools would teach tolerance of same sex marriage if the amendment does not pass. Both Catholic and Mormon churches have come out in support of the amendments in Georgia and Utah, and both have contributed extensively to organizations promoting the amendments. Lesbian and Gay organizations such as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are concentrating funding in key states such as Oregon. It appears, however, that most if not all of the proposed amendments will pass. An Associated Press article, “11 States to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage,” 10/30/04, appearing in AOL News stated the following.

Recent polls showed support for the amendments at 76 percent in Oklahoma and Kentucky, 65 percent in Arkansas, 60 percent or more in Michigan, 59 percent in Montana, 57 percent in Ohio.

Unfortunately, it seems that a fearful American citizenry is once again, resorting to prejudice in order to prevent the intent of the founding fathers of our great nation from being developed to its fullest potential. In the past the constitution has been used unfortunately to limit the rights of our citizenry. In the case of slavery, Article I, section 2, and Article I, section 9 state the following.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

And, Article IV, Section 2…

No person held to Service or Labor in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labor, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labor may be due.

There is more, but this is sufficient for my purpose here.

More importantly, the constitution has been used to extend the rights of citizens. For instance, the XIX Amendment extended suffrage to women in 1920. Amendment XIV is specific as to the rights retained by the people and the power of the state to deny those rights.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Thus, the constitution of the United States of America as it stands specifically prohibits such malevolent - I know not what else to call them - amendments as those proposed and existing within the individual states. These bits and pieces of the constitution also reveal its malleability. It is not a document carved in stone, but a document that can be annealed, hammered, and reshaped to reflect the desires of the citizenry of the nation. It is possible for powerful malevolent forces to be brought to bear, whether in the name of a political organization, or, Evangelical Christianity that will alter the constitution to reflect those forces. Ultimately one would hope that the courts would strike these misplaced and prejudicial amendments.

However, the reelection of President Bush to a second term in office will lead directly to a court incapable of removing them. Why? Because the president has stated in his double-speak Texan Carl Rovian patter that he will replace retiring court justices with fundamentalist conservative Christian justices. If that happens, all bets are off, and the United States of America will have given up any claim to being a true democratic nation. Not only will we have created a second class citizenry through constitutional law in the various states, but, simultaneously, the separation of church and state, a major tenant of our constitution, will have been totally violated through the creation of a Federal Christian Court. Such a court will dominate our for thirty years, and we will see once again an amendment proposed to the Federal Constitution limiting marriage to heterosexual persons.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, as long as one man is a second-class citizen, so all men are second-class citizens!


“Findlaw: Us Constitutional Amendments,” FindLaw.for legal professions,, Tomson Findlaw, copyright © 1994-2004, Monday 9:30 AM EST.

“11 States to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage,” Associated Press, 10/30/04, in AOL News, 10/31/04, updated 2:47 PM. EST, visited 10:38 AM. EST, October 31, 2004.

Walton, Chris, Philocrites, “,” Monday, November 1, 2004, 11:41 AM EST.

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