Cutting Through The Crap

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simple


With respect to the Prop 8 ruling, a person I know writes to me and asks,

...tell me if it fits with what your understanding of the Constitution provides. One man, overruling a majority in a vote, on a Proposition approved as constitutional by the State Supreme Court.

Yes: good move No: he was one man against the majority...
Real simple.

Since the person wants a simple answer, clearly, it's "Yes. Good move." But, sadly, for what appears to be a majority of Americans, and probably nearly all teabaggers, all the RWS™, it's far from simple. Because these people, these self-described patriots who claim fealty to the Constitution (while wanting to amend it severally and serially and cynically, for votes), don't have a clue about what it says. And, to the extent that they do, they simply ignore it.

To those who are outraged by this decision, this decision by a conservative judge, argued, among others, by a Republican former Solicitor General, I say, READ THE DAMN RULING. You might learn something about the law, and why we are a nation of laws, the role judges have in protecting minorities, upholding principle and law. I admit it's not often seen nowadays; but it's a shining example of judicial restraint. It's the opposite of judicial activism. It's a non-ideological finding of fact. It's, well, conservatism. At its best. Which we rarely see any more.

As simply as I can say it: we have laws, and we have a judiciary whose job -- its most important job, anyway -- is to keep people from running roughshod over those laws. A majority can't legally ignore the Constitution. State courts can't invalidate the Constitution. If people don't like the Constitution -- and god knows Republicans really don't -- there is a constitutional way to change it. You can't do it by state proposition. Period. People who don't get that either fail to understand the idea of constitutional democracy, or don't really love the country as established and defended for the last two hundred thirty four years. Simple.

I get that many religious people are horrified by homosexuality. In the case of many of the most public of them, clearly it's because they loathe themselves for being homosexual. For them, I feel sorry. (I'm a liberal.) For the rest, it's because their interpretation of their religious literature tells them that homosexuality is some sort of an abomination. Okay, fine. Believe it. There's nothing I can do to convince them otherwise, any more than I can convince them the earth is older than six or twelve thousand years, that evolution happens, that homosexuality is not a choice for any but a small percentage, that the climate is changing. Believe what you must. If humans valued fact, we wouldn't have religion. Or teabaggers.

As the judge said, there's simply no argument to be made against gay marriage other than a religious one. None. All the arguments -- about kids, about degradation of straight marriage, about agendas -- are simply false, as was factually established during the trial. Excluding gays from the right of marriage is discriminatory, it's religious based, it's predicated on hate for a class of people the recognition of whose rights produces no demonstrable harm to a state, to the country, to anyone; and the denial of whose rights offers no demonstrable good to those doing the denying, and only harm to those discriminated against. It's obvious. I've been married for thirty nine years. When gays got the right to marry in a couple of states, it did nothing to my marriage. Nothing. There's no way it could. (DOMA. How despicable, what a laughable title for an act. How shameful that Bill Clinton approved it.)

If you don't approve of gay marriage, don't do it. If you don't like gays, don't associate with them. Don't let them in your church or your home. Hold up nasty signs and shout at them if it makes you feel good, if your low self-esteem or shaky sexuality, your perverse view of WWJD demands it. If you think gay is a choice, an infection that you can catch, well, you're sadly misinformed, ignorant of fact, and a perfect match for the Tea Party. Join up. It's your right, it's all your right. What's not your right is to vote away the rights of others.

What in god's name is the harm to you caused by gay marriage? Down the street, around the corner, in another state? What is the state's interest in being involved?

The judge, who must be an incredibly brave man whose life, I'd have to say, is now at risk (given the hatred regularly whipped up by the RWS™), did what any person with open eyes and guts of steel -- free of prejudice, valuing the idea of the rule of law -- would have done. He struck down a law that has no place in America; a law that clearly denies rights to people with no justification; a law for which there is no constitutional argument. That a majority chose to harm a minority is no excuse. It's exactly why we have federal courts. It couldn't be clearer why we need them. And why it's a tragedy that so few people really get it. Even those on state courts.

Judicial review is as basic to America as fruited plains. Without it, we'd be Iran, or Soviet Russia. But that's not simple, it's not easy. It's hard. Democracy is hard. Respect for minorities, for the law, is hard. Accepting the rights of those with whom you disagree is hard. Being a RWS™, being a teabagger, is not hard. It's about wishing away reality, because reality is hard. It's about anger and fear, with no need to produce solutions. It's about giving in to the basest instincts, and calling it patriotism. Or something.

Unless there are more judges like Judge Walker out there, we're on our way to oblivion. And the people who are taking us there, who are responsible, are pointing their fingers in exactly the wrong direction.

And, yeah, the question pissed me off.

[Update, 8/8: I'm not the only one who sees the judge's decision as conservatism at its best.]


8 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

Wow, didn't realize 52% of Californians were RWS-ers(dammit, how do you make that little "Trademark" symbol?)
and I thought State DOMA law DOMA couldnt DOMA trump DOMA federal DOMA law DOMA.
You know, that little ole "Defense of Marriage Act" (signed by a Democrat President)which says Californ-yee doesn't have to recognize a Boston Marriage Certificate between Adam & Steve.
and anyway, the Judge is a Homo, how do you THINK he's gonna rule??
But since you like Court Decisions so much I think Clarence Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, and Scalia will go all Spike Lee, and "Do the Right Thing".
Y'know maybe dissin the Surpremes at the State of the Union wasn't such a great idea..
"Citizen's United" anyone???

Frank "it's an Exit, not an Entrance" Drackman

dodge said...

I married my partner four years ago up here in the great white scary socialist north and guess what happened? N-O-T-H-I-N-G. The sun continued to rise, the sky did not fall, society did not grind to a halt. We did recently get the new HST tax so I suppose that was our fault but otherwise everything seems to be running along as before.

Good post, Sid.

Frank Drackman said...

" I do not support Gay Marriage. Marriage has religious and social connontations, and I consider marriage to be between a Man and a Woman"
Guess which living President Said this???
I'll give you a hint, it wasn't George W. Bush.
Thats right, it was Barak Milhouse Herbert Walker Obama...

Frank " Even a broken watch is right twice a day " Drackman

Sid Schwab said...

See, here's the thing, Frankie: unlike the RWS™ (you figure it out yourself), I am able to criticize my own. There are many things about BHO with which I disagree. That's not a bad thing, by the way.

And he's so far superior to McPalin that I have no words to do it justice. Had they won, I'd be typing this from under a bridge, using a hand cranked computer, and glowing in the dark.

Anonymous said...

DrekMan...(HomosBeUponHim)...

"I think Clarence Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, and Scalia will go all Spike Lee, and "Do the Right Thing".

Hmmm!

So the pre-judgment (prejudice) of the RWS (RightWingSupremes) is so obvious and predictable that even you admit - in fact take it for granted - that the interpretation of constitutional law will play no role in any decision reached - by that incestuous quintet of RWS - so dear to your heart.

You say in fact that: that which motivates any possible RWS decision will be entirely based on a motive of revenge for perceived "dissin".

Such refreshing honesty! What could go wrong in a country where historic legal decisions are rendered in proportion to degrees of judicial butt-hurtery?

You will regret it all someday Drekman - sooner or later - most probably when you decide to come out.

EugeneInSanDiego

Frank Drackman said...

Y'see Sid,
if you actually knew any Black Peoples(I know its not good english, but thats how "they" say it) you'd know they hate the Moe's almost as much as they hate you.
I mean hate Jews. Seriously, name one Black Guy who you consider a friend i.e. someone you'd call with that one phone call you get from jail, and no fair pickin some token Intern/Resident/Fellow from back in the day..
and not the guy who shines your shoes at the airport(isn't that great)
OK, I couldn't list a bunch either, but I bet I've been in a Black Dudes house more recently than you have.
OK, it was my Crack Dealer...
JUST KIDDING...

and Ewww-Gene, if the Surpremes don't do the right thing I'll force myself to watch "Fried Green Tomatos" again..
Did you know the 2 chicks were Lesbos???? Why don't people TELL me these things???

Frank

Anonymous said...

DrekMan...(IlliteracyBeUponHim)...

Inre. the Right Wing Supremes: Of course they will do the "RIGHT" thing because -

"He that answereth an argument before he heareth it is a fool; and it is a great shame unto to him"

John Milton

Not that the Insane Clown Party (Rethuglicans, TeaBaggers, Libertarians, Birthers, Jesus Light Christians and sundry Idiocrats) have anything that approximates a sense of shame you understand; just saying!

EugeneInSanDiego

Sid Schwab said...

Also, Frankie, wrt the judge being homosexual. Neither side objected. Can you think why?