At the heart of the (queer) matter   Leave a comment

as published on examiner.com

As Part One of this series indicates, the issue at the heart of the gay marriage debacle is reconciling the recognition of the right of gays to equal protection of property rights, inheritance, visitation, etc. with the first amendment right of those who perceive  homosexuality as immoral or view marriage as specifically appropriate only for a man and a woman.

No individual ought to be forced to support ( by any means) ideas or things they find abhorrent or are opposed to. The first amendment was designed with this idea in mind.

Part Two of this series presents an overview of what could be a way out of this dilemma.

For this solution to be affective and to be implemented those who oppose the very concept of providing the benefits and responsibilities of “civil unions” to gay couples need to be convinced that indeed such “civil unions” are indeed a “right”; that is, they need to be convinced that gay couples should not and must not be denied the same benefits and responsibilities that heterosexual couples enjoy by way of what we now grant at federal  and state level to “marriage”.

We must leave aside of course the question of whether or not marriage is or was always granted  to a man and a woman only. John Boswell’s comprehensive body of work puts to lie that argument, of course, work that includes Same Sex Unions in Pre Modern Europe and Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality.

As stated, we leave that argumentation and historical evidence aside in favor of a simple question: Why deny the benefits and responsibilities of the civil contract recognized by state and federal government?

What is the possible rational defense that could be provided for the denial of   said benefits when our Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law? Are gay individuals somehow not competent to enter into contractual agreements with their partners? Are they not fully entitled to have a contractual agreement with their partners protected under the law?

Are opponents of civil agreements between gay couples, primarily those who claim to be free market supporters, somehow able and willing to argue that civil contracts are, in this case, not an option for specific individuals, simply because the individuals in question are gay?

Remember, we are not discussing the institution of marriage, which is and was a quasi religious, quasi civil mix, with the civil portion currently protected and affirmed and the religious component allegedly left out of the mix.

We are now merely discussing the civil contract that is an agreement between two individuals.  It is, after all, a contract.

For the argument against civil unions to hold weight, opponents of  Federal or State Government recognition and protection of civil agreements between gay couples  are, as free marketers, in the unenviable position of needing to  argue that the state has a vested interest in denying the ability and the right of gay adults to enter into a contract.

I urge my friends on the right: make the case.

On the broader question of marriage: for the religiously minded’s  first amendment argument against gay unions to have any logical teeth it is up to the “defenders” of marriage to claim that marriage is NOT a religious institution, and that it does NOT have a religious component.

Gays and lesbians and their supporters have an obligation to themselves, if they wish to have their rights and responsibilities protected from interference, to concede that marriage is indeed a religious institution. We must force opponents of our rights and responsibilities to go on the defense.

Opponents of our rights and responsibilities:  if marriage is indeed a religious institution, as you have repeatedly and correctly pointed out, by what right do you demand the State and Federal authority validate and protect — and  subsidize at our expense — a religious institution to which we are not even allowed to enter into? By what right do you have your  institution protected?

You have claimed that we have no “right” to such an institution as marriage, precisely because it is a moral bond between a man and a woman based in Biblical or religious tenets, which the state merely protects and affirms. We agree, marriage is partly, if not wholly, a religious institution.

Is the first amendment in play when a religious institution is singled out for recognition, for sanction, and is subsequently rewarded? How is this not “an establishment of religion”?

I urge my friends on the right:  make the case.

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Posted May 13, 2011 by cchashadenough

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