Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Well-stated editorial on GOP’s NH fight to discriminate

with 3 comments

Editorial in the NY Times:

State legislators in New Hampshire, who are on the verge of writing government-sanctioned discrimination back into state law, might want to take a look at a powerful ruling on marriage equalityby the federal appeals court in San Francisco.

A three-judge panel on the court ruled 2 to 1 that the California ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, was unconstitutional because it singled out a minority group and took away a right — the right to marry — that had been granted to them by the State Legislature “without a legitimate reason for doing so.”

The judges said the United States Constitution “simply does not allow for” laws that are intended only to “lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”

This is just what the New Hampshire Legislature seems poised to do. The state extended the right to marry to all its citizens in 2009, but right-wingers vowed to overturn the law and now stand a good chance of doing so.

Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, has said he would veto such a bill, but the Republicans in both houses of the Legislature have veto-proof majorities. Partisan lines on this issue are a bit fuzzy, so it’s still not clear whether enough Republicans would balk at so blatantly setting back the cause of equal rights.

It is especially distressing to see this slide in New Hampshire when other states are moving forward. Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland is on the verge of signing a marriage-equality bill.

New Hampshire’s bill would not affect the 1,900 same-sex couples who have married since 2009, but it would replace marriage with the separate-and-unequal system of “civil unions.” There is no “legitimate reason” for this. The argument that same-sex marriages somehow harm marriages between men and women does not hold water. The marriage rate in New Hampshire has not suffered at all since 2009. If anything, it’s gone up a tick because of new families formed by same-sex couples.

That leaves intolerance, fear and an attempt to impose religious beliefs through the law as motivations, and they have been evident in abundance. Representative David Bates, the Republican who filed the repeal bill, argues that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, and he even included a sentence that says: “Children can only be conceived naturally through copulation by heterosexual couples.” This is breathtakingly dangerous foolishness.

A recent poll by the University of New Hampshire showed that 59 percent of the state’s residents oppose repeal of marriage equality. If Republican lawmakers don’t want to pay attention to the federal court, they should pay attention to their own constituents. The ninth state to ratify the Constitution in 1788 should not be demonstrating such contempt for the nation’s founding principles.

In talking about resistance to gay marriage, the only answers I get are careful not to focus on law, rights, church-state separation, and any legal or rational argument. Bottom line, those opposed have (so far as I can tell) just one line of argument: they don’t like the idea. In fact, it’s identical to the pattern of opposition we once had to interracial marriages in this country. Or to the idea that women could vote.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 12:34 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Jesus taught that marriage is between males and females. I’ve posted this teaching in my blog.
    Connie

    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    Constance V. Walden

    29 February 2012 at 1:02 pm

  2. If that is true, I believe then that someone who follows the teachings of Jesus will not marry another person of the same sex (though in fact I notice that people who call themselves Christians regularly don’t follow the precepts of Jesus, so why should marriage be any different?). But, alas, I don’t think is is true, though if you can find Jesus saying that women should not marry women nor men marry men, I would love to see the chapter and verse. In point of fact, Jesus never even mentioned homosexuality at all. He was, however, VERY much against divorce and said so quite explicitly. Yet I see Christians getting divorces all over the place, particularly in the Bible Belt, which has the highest divorce rate in the country. So I don’t think many Christians really care all that much about what Jesus taught, at least going by their behavior.

    But it’s quite clear the Jesus never taught anything about homosexuality. And in any event, I am talking about secular law here, not religious teachings. Church and state are separate in the US, remember?

    Thanks for commenting.

    LeisureGuy

    29 February 2012 at 1:43 pm

  3. I just remembered another thing that Jesus was quite specific in speaking against: wealth. He didn’t like and thought it was a mistake. And he didn’t like divorce. But he said nothing about homosexuality.

    How many putative Christians follow the teachings of Jesus on wealth?

    LeisureGuy

    1 March 2012 at 6:40 am


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