Separate and Unequal

May 14, 2009

Good job, Assembly.  Now it’s up to the Senate to do the right thing.  I must point out, though, some egregious hypocrisies mentioned in this article.  Two different examples of religion dictating legal policy are noted.  One even comes from a reverend who fronts an organization called NYers for Constitutional Freedoms.  What? That’s antithetical to the First Amendment, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” W/r/t the second part, it appears that folks in conservative religious enclaves are concerned that marriage equality would infringe on the free exercise of their religious beliefs.  I don’t know the specific wording of the NY bill, but in other states there are specific provisions for religious institution wherein they (the churches and clergy, etc.,) are not obligated to officiate over same sex marriages, which protects their free exercise.  W/r/t the first part:  To enact a discriminatory law that legislates hate, bigotry and inequality, all based on a religious argument, is anathema to the meaning of “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”  What that means is that no national religion should be established and that, by extension, no one religion (or two or three…) should be dictating policy – when it does, it forces one religion’s beliefs on an entire people, those people representing a mélange of religious points of view, varying from Catholic to Jewish to Agnostic to Deist to Atheist to None of Your Damn Business and so on. 

 I fully understand the fact that some people, based on their religious beliefs, practices and observances, believe that marriage equality, (read: same-sex marriage) is an abomination.  I do not agree with them but I understand that is what they believe.  (I understand that the bible reflects the wisdom of the time and of the men who wrote it so to take each and every word to heart (by the way – are you wearing clothes made from two kinds of cloth? That’s also a sin, according to the bible,) is to miss the mark completely, but that’s an argument for another time.)  I also understand that politicians are politicians, not leaders, and therefore are always thinking about reelection so the threat of an uprising from religious fanatics fundamentalists is daunting to say the least. I understand that their oath of office, while taken on a bible, (a practice that we know is simply S.O.P., not codified rule or law,) says nothing about upholding one particular religious point of view.  It does require them to say that they will uphold the Constitution (or whatever document governs their municipality) and the rule of law.  Finally, I understand that under the Fourteenth Amendment, any “persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizen of the United States and the State wherein they reside.  No State shall…deny any person with its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  This means that any right available to one citizen in the State must be available to every citizen in the State.  I do not understand the legal argument against marriage equality. 

On the eve of the 55th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Ed., (decided on May 17, 1954,) let us remember that not only is separate but equal not okay, but separate and unequal, as is the case with most current marriage and civil union laws, is disgraceful.


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