Monday, June 05, 2006

Keep yer soft hands off my marriage, yew faggot!

The Christopithecus wing of the Republican party has kicked off the midterm election season with their big biennial boo-hoo on behalf of marriage. Or, more accurately, their nasty, bitter, mean-spirited, ill-defined version of what they claim constitutes a marriage.

You see, in Republican JesusLand, the vitality of one's own marriage is inextricably linked to what is going on in the bedroom across town, or two states away. That's why the very institution of marriage is doomed, DOOMED I tell you, unless we amend the United States Constitution to make sure that loving couples of the same gender cannot have their committment to one another protected by law.

Now, reports are flowing in from outposts all across Left Blogistan, and rather than duplicate those worthy efforts, I'll simply point you to Driftglass and The Viscount LaCarte and Kevin Wolf for a few excellent and representative takes.


I do, however, have a take of my own; one that I believe to be compelling and which I believe should be added to the arsenal of rational arguments in favor of equal marriage rights for all. I refer to marriage rights because I believe that the right to marry is not only among the most important rights we enjoy, it is THE most important right we enjoy!

Let me 'splain. You see the couple up there? A typical, happy, married couple. She, heavy with a child and a Benson & Hedges. He, displaying his delight by way of a semi-toothy grin. Even their best man, Bubba the Rottweiler, is basking in the glow of officially sanctioned marital bliss. A cheap shot at rednecks? You betcha! But I would never suggest that they should be denied this most basic of rights. Now, I know a lot of folks just like these two. (I'm a public defender in West Virginia; do the math.) And as such, I'm more aware than most as to the rights which they stand to lose. If Bubba runs loose, he can be seized by Animal Control and euthanized, depriving them of their property. Either one of them could be locked up for domestic battery or manufacturing meth (or both), losing in the process their right to freedom. Child Protective Services would likely intervene, seeking termination of their parental rights. If that crime results in death they could (in some states) lose their very lives.

But you know what?

In no case, under no circumstances, can the government dissolve a valid marriage without consent of one of the parties.

That's pretty important. That's my big contribution to the debate, so I'm gonna repeat it.

In no case, under no circumstances, can the government dissolve a valid marriage without consent of one of the parties.

They can kill you, but they can't divorce you. The right to marry is afforded more protection than the right to life itself. That's pretty fucking fundamental.

The U. S. Supreme Court pretty much agrees. In a unanimous decision (Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987))concerning the rights of prison inmates to marry, the Court observed:

"The right to marry, like many other rights, is subject to substantial restrictions as a result of incarceration. Many important attributes of marriage remain, however, after taking into account the limitations imposed by prison life. First, inmate marriages, like others, are expressions of emotional support and public commitment. These elements are an important and significant aspect of the marital relationship. In addition, many religions recognize marriage as having spiritual significance; for some inmates and their spouses, therefore, the commitment of marriage may be an exercise of religious faith as well as an expression of personal dedication. Third, most inmates eventually will be released by parole or commutation, and therefore most inmate marriages are formed in the expectation that they ultimately will be fully consummated. Finally, marital status often is a precondition to the receipt of government benefits (e. g., Social Security benefits), property rights (e. g., tenancy by the entirety, inheritance rights), and other, less tangible benefits (e. g., legitimation of children born out of wedlock). These incidents of marriage, like the religious and personal aspects of the marriage commitment, are unaffected by the fact of confinement or the pursuit of legitimate corrections goals.

Taken together, we conclude that these remaining elements are sufficient to form a constitutionally protected marital relationship in the prison context...."

Let's take another run at Justice O'Connor's opinion, with minor editing in boldface:

"First, gay and lesbian marriages, like others, are expressions of emotional support and public commitment. These elements are an important and significant aspect of the marital relationship. In addition, many religions recognize marriage as having spiritual significance; for some gay people and their spouses, therefore, the commitment of marriage may be an exercise of religious faith as well as an expression of personal dedication. Third, [. . .] most gay and lesbian marriages are formed in the expectation that they ultimately will be fully consummated. Finally, marital status often is a precondition to the receipt of government benefits (e. g., Social Security benefits), property rights (e. g., tenancy by the entirety, inheritance rights), and other, less tangible benefits (e. g., legitimation of children born out of wedlock). These incidents of marriage, like the religious and personal aspects of the marriage commitment, are unaffected by the fact of sexual orientation or the pursuit of legitimate marriage protection goals."

Taken together, we conclude that these remaining elements are sufficient to form a constitutionally protected marital relationship in the same sex context...."

Show me where I'm wrong about this.....

3 Comments:

  • I think what we have here under the Chimpy administration is the archaic regression akin to women's suffrage and racial segregation. I bet those hard won freedoms chap Chimpy's ass and those of his sycophants!

    By Blogger La bella italiana, at 8:16 AM  

  • Excellent point made.

    Take that, Bush & Minions/Morons!

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 9:50 AM  

  • NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez
    [url=http://bk-magazin.com][/url]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:13 PM  

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