Apr 102009

It took no time at all for the religious fundies to go ape-shit over Iowa and Vermont’s decisions to allow Gay Marriage.

The Iowa situation is the result of a unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court. It’s important to note that the Chief Justice is a very conservative Republican, but sometimes the law and the Constitution just override personal convictions, as it should be in a country of laws. Justice Cady wrote an outstanding decision, and you can download the PDF and read the complete decision from here.

While the fundies are decrying the destruction of our society, and even our democracy, Justice Cady reminds us eloquently:

It is also well established that courts must, under all circumstances, protect the supremacy of the constitution as a means of protecting our republican form of government and our freedoms. As was observed by Justice Robert H. Jackson decades ago in reference to the United States Constitution, the very purpose of limiting the power of the elected branches of government by constitutional provisions like the Equal Protection Clause is “to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.” W. Va. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 638, 63 S. Ct. 1178, 1185, 87 L. Ed. 1628, 1638 (1943).

Cady goes on to remind us that, in a republic such as ours, the three equal branches of government are instituted to prevent the tyranny of the majority from circumventing the rights of the minority…something our krazy kristian kooks continuously forget:

Our responsibility, however, is to protect constitutional rights of individuals from legislative enactments that have denied those rights, even when the rights have not yet been broadly accepted, were at one time unimagined, or challenge a deeply ingrained practice or law viewed to be impervious to the passage of time. The framers of the Iowa Constitution knew, as did the drafters of the United States Constitution, that “times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress,” and as our constitution “endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom” and equality. See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 578–79, 123 S. Ct. 2472, 2484, 156 L. Ed. 2d 508, 526 (2003) (acknowledging intent of framers of Federal Constitution that Constitution endure and be interpreted by future generations); Callender v. Skiles, 591 N.W.2d 182, 190 (Iowa 1999) (“Our constitution is not merely tied to tradition, but recognizes the changing nature of society.”).

So of course the fundies got right out with the “activist judges” rant.

Pastor Eric Schumacher of Northbrook Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, IA had this meltdown claiming that equal rights was a worse disaster for Iowa than a 500 year flood:

It is not hyperbole to say that this ruling has the potential to be the worst disaster to strike the state of Iowa. Flood waters destroy houses, ruin offices buildings and displace families. Yet, recovery happens. Houses are rebuilt. Businesses relocate. Families eventually find housing.

Legalized “homosexual marriage,” on the other hand, does far more pervasive and irrecoverable damage. Civilization itself is eroded as marriage, the central building block of culture and society, is redefined. Soon, our sons and daughters are confused about what it means to be male and female, as “homosexual marriage” gains both legal status and visibility in neighborhoods and the classroom…

…Flood waters erode the soil. “Gay marriage” erodes the soul. A flood impacts for a decade. “Same-sex marriage” destroys generations…

I guess all that methanol coming from Iowa affects hormone production or something…so everyone will suddenly be confused about whether they are male or female, just because gay people get equal treatment under the law. Who would have thought it.

Then some sand got thrown in the gearbox a few days later though when gay people in Vermont were given equal rights, not by judicial fiat, but by a democratic legislative process. It took the fundies an extra nearly to come up with some bullshit talking points to address that one. So now, their claim is that, somehow…democratically elected officials, acting in a democratic process, are bringing fascism and destroying democracy. Wow…that reasoning would cause any one’s head to explode.

So they quickly came with a “brilliant” ad campaign to try to scare the bejeebus out of the Christians (all the rest of us good amurikans).   

The examples they cite in the ad are:

  1. A California doctor who must choose between her faith and her job
  2. A member of New Jersey church group which is punished by the state because they can’t support same-sex marriage
  3. A Massachusetts parent who stands by helpless while the state teaches her son that gay marriage is okay

The Human Rights Campaign came out with a very succinct point-by-point response to the assertions in the ad:

(1) refers to the Benitez decision in California, determining that a doctor cannot violate California anti-discrimination law by refusing to treat a lesbian based on religious belief. The California doctor entered a profession that promises to “first, do no harm” and the law requires her to treat a patient in need – gay or straight, Christian or Muslim – regardless of her religious beliefs. The law does not, and cannot, dictate her faith – it can only insist that she follow her oath as a medical professional.

(2) refers to the Ocean Grove, New Jersey Methodist pavilion that was open to the general public for events but refused access for civil union ceremonies (and was fined by the state for doing so). The New Jersey church group runs, and profits from, a beach-side pavilion that it rents out to the general public for all manner of occasions -concerts, debates and even Civil War reenactments– but balks at permitting couples to hold civil union ceremonies there. The law does not challenge the church organization’s beliefs about homosexuality – it merely requires that a pavilion that had been open to all for years comply with laws protecting everyone from discrimination, including gays and lesbians as part of the agreement granting tax exempt status to the group, and

(3) refers to the Parker decision in Massachusetts, where parents unsuccessfully sought to end public school discussions of family diversity, including of same-sex couples. The Massachusetts parent disagrees with an aspect of her son’s public education, a discussion of the many different kinds of families he will likely encounter in life, including gay and lesbian couples. The law does not stop her from disagreeing, from teaching him consistently with her differing beliefs at home, or even educating her child in a setting that is more in line with her faith traditions. But it does not allow any one parent to dictate the curriculum for all students based on her family’s religious traditions.

Not one single person has offered a cogent explanation for their claims that gay marriage will destroy heterosexual marriage…it’s just an empty sound bite they use to try to instill fear in their sheeple. How sad that people are so quick to deny equal treatment under the law when it’s clear that it has absolutely no effect on them.

It is equally sad the amount of dishonesty and outright lies the (so called) Christian Fundamentalists will employ. Jesus never spoke on the topic of homosexuality, but he hammered the leaders of the day and the Pharisees for how they treated the lesser people, and her certainly spoke up about honesty. If there is a God and a day of judgement, these people will have some serious explaining to do.

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