Last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard the state of California defending proposition 8, a state ballot prohibiting gay marriage. Chief U.S. district judge Vaughn Walker overturned the new law saying the state had no constitutional right to exclude gays and lesbians from being legally joined together in same-sex marriage.
Citing the fourteenth Amendment, Walker decreed that moral disapproval alone is not a legal basis to deny the personal freedom or equal rights of gay men and lesbians. Claiming there is no rational basis for singling out same-sex marriage for denial of a marriage license he opined, “ Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples.”
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868. It overruled the Supreme Court's ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford case that held the belief that people of African descent could not be citizens of the United States.
The Amendment prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness. It also requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. This clause was the basis for a 1971 Supreme Court decision that any laws arbitrarily requiring sex discrimination violated this clause.
The legal issue of same-sex marriage shouldn’t have anything to do with personal moral values, opposing lifestyles of our neighbors or religious doctrine of Christian, Jews, Muslims or any other organized group claiming to hear the voice of God. If bigoted conservative religious groups don’t want to recognize civil unions as marriage, that's their choice.
However, times are changing. On a corporate level Starbucks announced their support of same-sex marriage and J C Penny has featured a family with two moms in one ad and two fathers in another.
At one time Mixed-marriage was a racial issue, not a lifestyle concern. Now it’s commonplace and accepted by most of society. Even ultra conservative Rush Limbaugh, admitted defeat in his opposition of Gays right to marry each other. “This issue is lost,” he said. “I don’t care what the Supreme Court does. This is inevitable. And it’s inevitable because we lost the language on this.” Actually he and republicans lost because they forgot their own political platform.
As most Republicans, especially Tea Party members should agree, the issue is our constitutional right that allows us, as individuals, the freedom to live our lives perusing happiness without government intervention. A political mantra conservatives have been chanting since they took their first breath.
Conservatives have always argued for individual freedom and less government. less government intervention and freedom in our personal lives allowing us to make our own decisions based on our own individual choice of owning assault weapons guaranteed in our Constitution. Yet, they want the government to intervene on their behalf in their discriminatory fight to deprive gays and lesbians of their individual rights and freedom guaranteed to them in the fourteenth Amendment.
If republicans were true conservatives they would hold to their political platform, forget about government intervention on issues they can’t win and embrace gay marriage as a personal freedom they support.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.