How Would You Feel…

…if you had to ask 260 million people for the right to marry?

(There’s a better quality version of this going around Facebook, but I haven’t figured out a non-Facebook way to link to it.)

Back in April, Matt Hooper of the Birmingham Weekly posted about Rep. Jay Love’s (R-Montgomery) time-wasting resolution in support of “opposite marriage” Carrie Prejean. That post has remained on the Weekly‘s most popular list ever since, despite all the intervening coverage of Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s trials (and trial), and yesterday someone named work30 showed up to share his/her wisdom. I reproduce our exchange below:

work30 1 day ago
I do not/will not promote same sex marriges.

work30 1 day ago
Everyone is out to make their personnal life public now. It’s like everyone is saying their gay/bi-sexual. Here’s the key word “Sexual”, this is your sexual preference, which I am fine with. But to say that you want to have the same rights as a man/woman is wrong. I read the bible and I have yet to run across anything that says woman-to-woman, or man-to-man. Certain things we just should keep the way the LORD intended. Yes, he didn’t make it on of his TEN Commandments, but he did make it known of this intended union to be between that of a Man and Woman.

Yes, you may love your significant other deeply and want to show them, but not this WAY. I can’t judge you but I can say if you “Believe” in the LORD….and that he died for us, you would respect this one thing. This isn’t the American way, Korean way, Arabic way, nor Buddist way…………..its GOD’S Way.

Like I said I can’t judge you…..I want every one to be happy….but don’t judge those of us who try to the best of our ability to live by the LORD/

Kathy 21 hours ago
Well, when straight couples marry, they certainly make their “personnal” lives public. And last I checked, we didn’t make law in this country based on what some people believe the Bible says. I suspect you’d have a fit if someone were pushing to base our legal system on the Koran. Not sure what Koreans or “Buddists” (it’s Buddhists, btw) have to do with the issue.

No one asked you to promote same sex marriages. Those of us who support marriage equality believe the law shouldn’t discriminate. We don’t require belief in the LORD for citizenship, but our constitution is built on the idea that everyone is equal under the law, whether you approve or not.

And sexual orientation is just that — an orientation, not a preference. It has to do with far more than sexual activity. Surely you don’t think your straight partnership/marriage is only about sex. I certainly don’t.

work30 18 hours ago
Thanks for the correction Kathy,

When I made the reference to “personal” life I am referring to sexual preference. I understand that no matter if your straight or gay you going to show affection for your significant other. My only issue is that with marriage, like I said I can’t judge anyone on whom they chose to sleep with. And as far as citizenship, I do feel that this country’s for fathers did require that you believe in the LORD for citizenship. Remember the Pledge of Allegiance “One Nation under GOD”, but yet we still go against him on simple this like marriage.

This nation has become so sensitive on everything. In order to feel accepted we must categorize everything including one’s sexual activity to make it an orientation, create a demographic to say “Hey we have RIGHTS!”

And No, I don’t think my straight partnership is about sex, Jesus spoke it and wrote it to “IDENTIFY” that this between MAN and Woman is something MORE. But again, I don’t an issue on whom ANYONE wants to be with!!!!!!!! NO ISSUES AT ALL. But MARRIAGE yes I do. And would you have a FIT if our legal system was based on it. Because you know what I wouldn’t, I would just have to live with it. And if I was brought up in the Muslim religion then I would follow it, but I wasn’t so I don’t.

Were so bold to declare our orientation in the U.S., but let’s do this in the other parts of the world. U know even though Christians and Muslims don’t see eye-to-eye on every religious aspect, we do believe in Jesus or Allah as they say. And what’s funny in both religions it’s MAN and Woman in marriage.

Again my point is Marriage, not whom you choose to spend your live/time with. Just don’t cross the line and say you want be married and want the same rights as a married Man and Woman. This to me wouldn’t be in line with the teachings of Christianity or Muslim. As children I am sure that we all were brought up to love everyone. Love everyone regardless of race, color and now sexual preference. I agree with this but, marriage is written within our religions to exist between Man and Woman.

Pls don’t take my words as being disrespectful because I don’t mean to be.

Kathy 16 hours ago
Oh my! You really, really need to go back to your history books. You may feel whatever you want, but there is nothing in the constitution requiring religious faith as a condition of citizenship. The Pledge of Allegiance was not written by the founding fathers. It was written in 1892 and has been revised several times. The phrase “under God” was not in the original and was not added until 1954. Allah is the Arabic word for God, not Jesus. Muslims revere Jesus, but they do not consider him divine. And we won’t even get started on the many different definitions of marriage that have been “ordained” over the centuries.

Civil rights in this country are not and should not be based on any one person’s or group’s interpretation of religious texts. That’s an invitation to oppression of those in the minority, and you may want to consider that you could at some point find yourself part of a minority if your particular brand of Christianity falls out of favor (and please don’t tell me how oppressed Christians are here in the United States — we’re not). Not everyone in this country is Christian, not everyone is a person of faith, not everyone agrees with your interpretation of text.

For the protection of our civil rights and our religious freedom, we need to keep the two separate. If we went your route, we’d likely still have slavery. After all, didn’t the apostle Paul admonish slaves to “obey your masters”?

I have to wonder if this person is the product of “Christian” schooling, but I fear s/he is typical of so many people who slept through history and civics classes and simply swallow whatever they’re spoon-fed by their pastor or their favorite talk radio host.  This is why “equal protection under the law” should not be predicated on the ballot box.

8 Responses to “How Would You Feel…”

  1. When they started to insinuate that the whole “under God” thing was put into the pledge by the founding fathers, that should have been a red flag. (I personally like that part, but that’s off the topic.) You can’t argue with stupid. And you’re absolutely right about the Allah thing. Muslims and Jews are actually quite similar in their beliefs, the big difference being that Muslims believe that Ishmael was the heir of Abraham– not Isaac.

    The thing I love to say to get straight people riled up is to propose that all unions (straight or gay) be considered “civil unions” by the state and that marriage licenses can only be issued via a religious organization. And since we can’t discriminate on religions, any religious organization has the right to issue and/or revoke a marriage license as they choose to define it under their particular religious standards. That usually hits home with the “states should have unions and churches should have marriage” crowd. Atheists wouldn’t be allowed to marry unless they formally declared atheism as a religion. And gee whiz… I hope none of those folks working on a second or third “marriage” happen to be Catholic or want to “marry” a protestant…

  2. Kirk Epstein says:

    Personally, I do not care if two men, or two woman, or more than two people in this country marry. I like the civil union for all idea, and marriage as a religious ceremony.

    However, marriage in this country has traditionally been understood as the union of one man and one woman. The Federal government fought the Mormons about this issue.

    “Marriage… is the civil status of one man and one woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent on those who association is founded on the distinction of sex.” Black’s Law Dictionary

    That said, I, as a member of an Orthodox Union Synagogue, had to sign a notarized paper stating I would marry only one woman for a wife, before our Rabbi would marry us. This is because as I understand our religion, I can marry more than one. Additionally, in Jewish Law, a Jew can legally marry a first cousin. According to most State’s laws this is illegal.

    My question, rhetorical, is should I be allowed to marry more than one wife, if that is my belief, and it makes us happy? Should a woman be allowed to marry more than one man? Could I marry my 1st cousin? Should I have to ask 260 million people for the right to do so?

    The answer is in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, not for the Federal Courts to decide. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Marriage Laws are not specified in the Constitution.

    Thus, the legal definition of marriage, and marriage laws, are laws that can be changed by the will of the people. They should not be imposed on us by Federal Courts, regardless of our religion, or our other beliefs.

    I believe you should have the approval of the majority of the population of your State, for the legal right to marry, recognition of your marriage, and the benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage. I think as time passes, public opinion will change, these laws will change and marriage may be defined differently. Afterwards, they will most likely change again. The important issue is for us not to loose our freedom and have the Federal Government, through any branch of the Federal System (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) define for us what marriage is, regardless of your personal opinion.

  3. Kathy says:

    I believe you should have the approval of the majority of the population of your State, for the legal right to marry, recognition of your marriage, and the benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage.

    Really? Suppose you lived in a state that voted not to recognize heterosexual marriage. How would you feel then? Of course that isn’t likely to happen, because the majority isn’t going to vote its own rights away, but consider how this feels to gay and lesbian couples.

    Sorry to burst your libertarian bubble, but it would be completely unworkable in the long run to have different marriage laws in different states . We live in a mobile society — people move for jobs, school, family — and a patchwork of rights regarding something as basic and important as marriage is ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as allowing states to vote on interracial marriage. If we’d gone that route, there would likely still be states that didn’t recognize them, and an interracial couple who took a job transfer or promotion to, oh say Alabama, would find themselves unmarried. There’s a reason we have interstate recognition of contracts.

    And, finally, I don’t have a problem with limiting marriage to two people or with enforcing minimum age restrictions, as we already do in this country. However, I recognize the reality that a certain subset of our population is not attracted to and does not want to partner with a member of the opposite sex, and I don’t see denying them the opportunity to have a lasting, officially recognized partnership.

  4. Kirk Epstein says:

    Kathy, you state “Sorry to burst your libertarian bubble, but it would be completely unworkable in the long run to have different marriage laws in different states . We live in a mobile society — people move for jobs, school, family — and a patchwork of rights regarding something as basic and important as marriage is ridiculous.”

    You yourself make mention of you “don’t have a problem with limiting marriage to two people or with enforcing minimum age restrictions.” However, why should a family be defined as between only two people, or only one man and one woman? Why should you have the right to tell a Mormon family what is best for them? Why should they not be allowed to marry as they want, just like you want to marry as you want? What gives you the right to take away their rights? Your position here is hypocritical, and now they must live with your disapproval.

    I have no bubble to burst. Firstly, I am not a Libertarian, I am a Constitutionalist. Secondly, you are misinformed. Marriage Laws and the rights associated with marriage actually are in fact different between the states; ridiculous, or not.

    Take my example in my post above in reference to first cousins:

    •Alabama: First cousins, yes.
    •Alaska: First cousins, yes.
    •Arizona: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or cannot bear children. Half cousins, yes.
    •Arkansas: No
    •California: First cousins, yes.
    •Colorado: First cousins, yes.
    •Connecticut: First cousins, yes.
    •Delaware: No
    •District of Columbia: First cousins, yes.
    •Florida: First cousins, yes.
    •Georgia: First cousins, yes.
    •Hawaii: First cousins, yes.
    •Idaho: No
    •Illinois: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or cannot bear children.
    •Indiana: First cousins once removed, yes, only if they are over a certain age or cannot bear children.
    •Iowa: No
    •Kansas: Half cousins, yes.
    •Kentucky: No
    •Louisiana: Marriage between first cousins is not allowed.
    •Maine: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or cannot bear children, or if they get genetic counseling.
    •Maryland: First cousins, yes.
    •Massachusetts: First cousins, yes.
    •Michigan: No
    •Minnesota: No, unless aboriginal culture of the couple permits cousin marriages.
    •Mississippi: Adopted cousins, yes.
    •Missouri: No
    •Montana: Half cousins, yes.
    •Nebraska: Half cousins, yes.
    •Nevada: Half cousins, yes.
    •New Hampshire: No
    •New Jersey: First cousins, yes.
    •New Mexico: First cousins, yes.
    •New York: First cousins, yes.
    •North Carolina: First cousins, yes. Double first cousins are not allowed to get married.
    •North Dakota: No
    •Ohio: No
    •Oklahoma: Half cousins, yes.
    •Oregon: Adopted cousins, yes.
    •Pennsylvania: No
    •Rhode Island: First cousins, yes.
    •South Carolina: First cousins, yes.
    •South Dakota: No
    •Tennessee: First cousins, yes.
    •Texas: No.
    •Utah: First cousins, yes, only if they are over a certain age or cannot bear children.
    •Vermont: First cousins, yes.
    •Virginia: First cousins, yes.
    •Washington: No
    •West Virginia: Adopted cousins, yes.
    •Wisconsin: First cousins once removed, yes, only if they are over a certain age or cannot bear children.
    •Wyoming: No

    A similar diverse list between the states could be made for age, and another for marital rights.

    I understand your point about recognition of marriage in between the states. However, currently Federal Law only recognizes marriage between a one man, and one woman. Thus, I will end my commentary with the begining of my first post. Personally, I do not care if two men, or two woman, or more than two people in this country marry. I like the civil union for all idea, and marriage as a religious ceremony.

  5. Kathy says:

    You’re right — I should have said “it would be completely unworkable in the long run to have different marriage laws in different states” when each state can refuse to recognize marriages that take place in accordance with the laws of other states, which is the scenario you appear to be supporting. I reiterate my example of interracial marriage. Do you really believe those “one husband and one wife” couples should have been forced to wait until the majority of voters in their states said it was okay for them to marry? Or that they should have been forced to move to and stay in states that did approve?

    And I seriously doubt whether the subset of Mormons who actually want to participate in polygyny (and make no mistake, there’s no option for a woman to take more than one husband) care one whit about my disapproval. I’m not out in the streets demonstrating against their “right” to exploit very young women and girls (that’s certainly how polygyny is practiced now), and — much more importantly — I’m not pouring millions of dollars into campaigns to demonize them or to influence elections in other states.

  6. Kirk Epstein says:

    Kathy,
    A main difference between the interracial marriage scenario you describe, and the homosexual marriage you want, is the Federal government has defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The Federal government never defined marriage as between one white woman married to one white man, or in anyway refered to marriage and race together.

    Thus, it became unconstitutional for any state to not allow a white person to marry a person of the opposite sex that was of another race.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation statutes violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In its decision, the court wrote:

    “ Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State. ”

    The Supreme Court concluded that anti-miscegenation laws were racist and had been enacted to perpetuate white supremacy:

    “ There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.

    You could make a similar argument that marriage laws that do not allow for homosexual marriage are discriminatory. However, I would argue all marriage laws are discriminatory, and an infringement on civil liberties by both the Federal government and the states. Thus, I prefer civil unions for all, and marriage as a ceremony.

  7. Kathy says:

    Again, re: interracial marriage, I was working off what you wrote initially about wanting to leave marriage laws up to the voters in individual states. My question was a “what if?” based on the scenario you set, and you still haven’t actually responded to it.

    I’m afraid I can’t make any sense out of your last two sentences. If all marriage laws are discriminatory and “an infringement on civil liberties by both the Federal government and the states”, then how would laws governing civil unions be less so?

    I hear some people say they’d prefer to have everyone enter into a civil union and leave marriage to the religious institutions, but I don’t see the majority giving up a word that is, supposedly, “sacred” in order to accommodate the wishes of a minority. And when I say minority, I’m not referring to LGBT people and allies like me who support marriage equality. I’m referring to people who think the solution is to do away with marriage as a legal concept. There may be screaming about granting someone else the rights and privileges the majority already has, but that’s nothing to the screaming that would occur if the government tried to take them away.

  8. Kirk Epstein says:

    Kathy,
    I appreciate the civility of your reply. However, I do think I have answered your “what if” question as being moot and rhetorical due to Federal Law. Additionally, I have answered the main “How would you feel” question with the answer, I did have to ask for permission to marry. The difference is I was granted permission.

    The reason I believe Civil Union for all is the most fair option is because consenting adults would be able to define their own relationship and responsibilities to each other on their own terms.

Leave a Reply