Wednesday, July 07, 2010

No Aloha to Civil Unions

Yesterday, Hawaii's Republican Governor Linda Lingle cast a veto on legislation that would have brought same-sex Civil Unions to Hawaii - to loud and raucous cheers from mean-spirited conservatives.

Readers of this blog will know where I stand on the issue of same-sex marriage - but I've at least grown to understand the 'thought process' behind conservative Christians being opposed to gay 'marriage' as an institution.

It's a ridiculous argument, of course - based on a flawed and inaccurate concept of 'traditional marriage' and the defense of 'religious freedoms' that aren't essentially any different to the 'religious freedoms' segregationists fought for in the 1960s - the 'freedom' to deny lodging and service to anybody with brown skin.

But there's at least some consistency to their arguments.

Same-sex Civil Unions, on the other hand - in opposing that, they're just being knobs.

Civil Unions are an imperfect compromise: Same-sex couples reluctantly surrender the right to call their commitment 'marriage' in order not tread on the toes of hyper-sensitive religious conservatives - in return, they expect the conservatives to reluctantly grant them legal protections roughly commensurate with a 'traditional' heterosexual marriage.

Neither side gets what they really want - gay couples have to pretend that Civil Unions don't mirror all that segregationist legalisation from the sixties that claimed to be 'separate, but equal', while conservative Christians have to stop being bigoted idiots for a second and concede that the American principle of 'equal protection under the law' does actually include homosexuals.

But for the most part? A fair deal for either side.

Yet drooling conservatives still showed up in force to fight the Civil Union legislation in Hawaii and after twisting the arm of Governor Lingle, it looks like they've succeeded.

Their 'victory' is a neat little reminder that there's very little 'Christian' about many conservative Christians - and whatever they're fighting for, it's no longer about protecting their own 'rights' but more about denying the rights of other people.

You can put together a not totally retarded argument against gay marriage (or, at least, they're attempting to do just that in the California Supreme Court at the moment.) You cannot, however, argue that there is any moral or legal precedent to deny same-sex couples the right to a Civil Union.

It's so clearly unconstitutional ('all men are created equal', 'equal protection under the law' and 'the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' being some of the inalienable rights the veto violates) that I fail to comprehend how Governor Lingle could stand up in front of the TV cameras with a straight face and argue: "It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials."

That's exactly how civil rights issues are decided - from the Emancipation Proclamation to Loving vs. Virginia. It's a proven fact that if you leave the issue of equal rights up to the electorate, you end up with unmitigated disasters like California's Proposition 8.

If this has taught us anything, it's that conservative Christians are unwilling to compromise on their bigotry at any level - so it's hard not to support the LGBT community when they decide to cast aside compromise themselves and take the fight for marriage equality - gay marriage, not some 'separate but equal namesake' - all the way to the Supreme Court.

8 comments:

paul mitchell said...

The ridiculous argument is that we have government sanctioned marriage of any kind. Everyone should be taxed at the same rate as everyone else. If you make 1MM a day or if you make 1 dollar a year, married or unmarried, with children or without, everyone should pay the same rate with ZERO deductions.

This, by definition, is called EQUALITY. However, government sanctioned marriage is a liberal idea to facilitate setting different tax rates, which is stupid, just like all other liberal ideas.

Andy said...

Paul kinda' stole a little of my thunder.

Roland, I would call myself a "conservative Christian," so this might surprise you.

I completely understand the frustration that gays experience in this. We have four sons that are all straight, but we do have two young men that have lived with us over the years that are homosexual. I love them just as much as I would if they were straight.

It has been a long time since I actually studied the origins of "state sanctioned" marriage. Some of the details are fuzzy, but I remember coming to the conclusion (as one of those mean spirited conservative Christians) that the problem is not with gay marriage, or civil unions.

The problem is with the "state" sanctioning marriage at all. Now, I understand why it was done...and there are some very GOOD aspects to it (a burdensome breakup that may somehow bring about reconciliation, the establishing of "community property," which was a huge step forward for womens rights...etc.)

But, if I were the King of the Forest, there would be no such thing as state sanctioned marriage. If someone holds a particular religious faith, then their church can sanction the union and pronounce it holy in the eyes of God.

But, as Paul touched on, the state sanctioning of marriage has been used as a tool for legislative bodies to either promote, or discourage one behavior or another. And in doing so has truly "bastardized" the concept of holy matrimony.

Most "marriages" are nothing more than legal contracts anyway. I would do away with state sanctioned marriages, the laws that apply to married couples, etc.

Gays can already enter into contracts with one another as to sharing of property, life insurance beneficiary, disposal of assets, powers of attorney, etc. And, straight people can, too. Certainly the laws would need some sharpening up...but it's not a big jump legislatively. The big elephant to tame would be this disaster we call Social Security, and public employee benefits, but that's another subject for another time.

I would let the market decide the rest. If a health insurance company wants to offer a policy that covers someone as a dependent/cohabitant/whatever of the policy holder, then employers would have that option to offer to that employee.

Heck, I know I'm rattling on long here, and there is MUCH more that I could say. Let me just finish up by saying that even some of us mean-spirited conservative Christians object to things the way they stand now.

Good piece, though. Good grass for chewing...

Paul said...

If you make 1MM a day or if you make 1 dollar a year, married or unmarried, with children or without, everyone should pay the same rate with ZERO deductions.

This, by definition, is called EQUALITY.

Paul, are you a socialist or something? TRUE EQUALITY would mean the guy making 1MM a day and the guy making 1 dollar a year pay the exact same amount of taxes in ABSOLUTE TERMS!

For the sake of argument let's set the tax amount at $10,000 a year. Then the first guy would get to keep $364,990,000 while the second guy actually OWES the government $9,999 (at this rate he'll be working solely for the government for the next 9,999 years! That'll teach him and scum like him to cease being a second hander living off of the productive wonders of his betters!).

This is a true capitalist taxation system from which any deviation makes Jesus cry. Amen.

paul mitchell said...

Paul, an equal tax rate makes sure everyone pays the same amount and is truly an equal system.

Yours is a punitive system not unlike the one that we have now.

Paul said...

Paul, an equal tax rate makes sure everyone pays the same amount and is truly an equal system.

No, no, no, no, no, NO, NOOO!!!! You're confusing rate and absolute. My system is fair. Everyone pays the same amount of tax to the government.

Your system on the other hand would take much more from the guy making $365,000,000 than from the guy making $1! How is this fair? Why are you punishing the guy who makes more money?

As we know hedge fund managers -- to give one example -- benefit this society much more than teachers or janitors or other low-paid quasi-parasites. Why should these high-paid financial titans whose arses we are not even worthy to wipe pay more taxes than the low-paid troglodytes?

Paul, repeat after me:

DO NOT PUNISH THE PRODUCERS!!!
DO NOT PUNISH THE PRODUCERS!!!
DO NOT PUNISH THE PRODUCERS!!!

paul mitchell said...

The lower intelligence of Democrats that make lower wages is punishment enough. As intelligent Republicans, we are kinda responsible for taking care of those that are "less fortunate" in the brains department.

I accept that and move on.

Paul said...

The lower intelligence of Democrats that make lower wages is punishment enough. As intelligent Republicans, we are kinda responsible for taking care of those that are "less fortunate" in the brains department.

I accept that and move on.


Ah, I see that you are on ideological auto pilot and therefore, sadly, you can travel in but a single predetermined direction. I wish you good luck on your trip! You're going to need it.

paul mitchell said...

Ideological? Hardly, I use mathematics, science, history, and philosophy to make my mind up on things. All facts point to overwhelming evidence that all Democrats are idiots. Some alleged Democrats are slowly lifting the fog of idiocy, though, with Obama as President.