Monday, June 21, 2004

Gay marriage is not a “rights” or “discrimination” issue

Before diving headlong into the reasons why I do not believe gay marriage is a “rights” or “discrimination” issue, permit me to briefly state my personal attitude and feelings about homosexual issues. I do this to head off criticism of what follows based on what some might presume is my homophobia or a less flattering description of their choosing.

I do not morally judge others regarding what they as members of the same or opposite sex do to or with one another within the generally accepted criteria of age and mutual consent. My own sexual orientation is quite straight, but I will admit that thoughts have passed through my consciousness that would be considered beyond a strict definition of heterosexuality. But I don’t think that my true nature lies in some realm that I dared not explore because of a sense of shame or fear of discovery. And so I would not describe myself as homophobic. I do, however, take serious issue with much of the gay political agenda. I do so because there seems to be a great deal in that agenda that itself smacks of the very same intolerance of which gays accuse others.

Discussion of any issue requires that we have a common language and, additionally, mutually agreed definitions of the terms used within a given context. Tolerance, and its inverse intolerance, are often used when acceptance, approval or legitimacy are intended. One can tolerate, and in any society one is often so required, what one neither approves nor considers legitimate. The issue of gay marriage is not one of tolerance. Rather, the goal of gay marriage is to obtain approval of and legitimacy for personal behavior that the majority of American society does not approve of but in general is willing to tolerate. This is the real issue behind the social schism created by such gay political objectives.

This is no less true of the vigorous campaign waged by gay rights activists and the ever-present ACLU to defame and, if possible, destroy the Boy Scouts of America if the BSA persists in its refusal to embrace openly gay members and scout masters. I am at a loss as to why this should be such an adamantly contested issue unless I remind myself that this is, again, a seeking of approval and acceptance. This struggle for approval is doggedly pursued despite the fact that in the year 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that the BSA had a right to freedom of association and was not obligated to include those not in concert with the group's values, goals and philosophy. No matter. All across the country school boards, charities and others controlling public funds or facilities have moved to ostracize the Boy Scouts by denying funding or prohibiting the use of public facilities. To me, this can be construed as nothing other than intolerance. Intolerance of the Boy Scouts exercising their Constitutional rights.

To grease rather than grind the wheels of society, one person’s or group’s rights must be a least tolerable to a substantial majority of that society. Attempting to force acceptance or impose legitimacy creates more conflict than it resolves. The wounds and resentments so created will never cease to fester. They will be constantly picked at and remain raw. Whatever arrangements gays or other advocacy groups attempt to force upon society, the approval they seek may become law but cannot be legitimate without a willing acceptance by a substantive majority of their fellow citizens. And that cannot be imposed by legislation nor court decree.

There are a number of rights explicitly granted and guaranteed by the Constitution. One wouldn’t think that these would be the subject of much quibbling. But lawyers, and their distinguished distillations as judges, especially those of federal ilk, have found a simple - but not simplistic - reading of the Constitution insufficient to justify their remuneration. Thus the First Amendment protects all manner of pornography and other degradations but does not prohibit Congress from restricting and imposing ludicrous and easily circumvented rules on political speech -- the one thing most everyone agrees it was intended to protect. How do such inversions come about? Few if any of those reading this will have the time, inclination nor learning to answer that question. However, we must insist and force Congress and the courts to adhere to the principle that the Constitution is written to be interpreted in a straightforward and not convoluted manner. It means what it says and says what it means. It’s not rocket science nor a coded mystery that will be revealed to only a few -- the High Priests and Priestesses who will give us the law.

If this is not the case, then democracy is a sham. If the average citizen cannot understand and interpret the law, of what use is the vote? Trial by jury is reduced to nothing more than a dicey opinion poll. One should not find it too surprising that the Olympians expect--demand rather--that we acquiesce to their authority by placing our fate in their hands. We are the great unwashed, ignorant and uninitiated mass that little knows what’s in its own best interest. So it seems we have and are being told. I for one don’t buy it -- not for a minute.

To continue with definitions, I would postulate that the Constitutional prohibitions against discrimination are concerned with rights granted as a condition of existence. That is, characteristics that are a result of an accident of birth, such as sex, race, national origin and even religion cannot be used to show preference of one person over another nor used to deny any right to an individual. Thus what one has no control over is not grounds for being discriminated against. However, one does have or should have control over one’s behavior. If this is deniable we would have no basis whatsoever for law or governance by anything other than force. Behavior thus becomes a legitimate basis for discrimination. And we do discriminate between acceptable and unacceptable behavior all the time. Our prisons are chock full of those against whom we have discriminated.

Now I’m not in any way, shape or form suggesting that we imprison gays. Far from it. I am however saying that society does have a right to discriminate between those behaviors it approves and those it does not. And if society chooses not to approve and legitimize the behavior exemplified by gay marriage, it has every right to do so. This is discrimination but not the prohibited kind. Courts, because of their failings mentioned earlier, may very well end up imposing the legalization of gay marriage upon the unwilling majority. But it will not be accepted nor considered legitimate by that same majority. And the upheaval so wrought upon society will be added to the burden the Court has already imposed with its decision regarding abortion and other judicial fiats that are at odds with the reasonable wishes of the citizenry.

Next time: Gay marriage without war


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Sevakis -

Our organization has sadly informed me that you have not only established a site that actually attempts to use logic to incite people to make their own political choices, but actually maintains there is some constitutional right in doing so. Nonsense! We have gone to great lengths to insure that the "necessary" information for the masses is readily available in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times (we attempt to cover the larger influential demographic areas).

Please be informed that this is due notice that anything remotely concerned with individual choice or contra to our media polls will be dealt with accordingly. We know where you live!

The Committee for What's Good for Us is Good for You

Mr. Osay Ken Usee, Party Director

1:33 PM  

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