By Mark David Blum, Esq.
In an act of Legislative heroism, the State of Vermont overrode a governor’s veto and legalized gay marriage. Three other States have legalized gay marriage by judicial fiat. It is time for New York to join join the 21st century in attitude and enlightenment.
New York’s highest Court had the opportunity to end the discriminatory attitudes of religious zealotry. Instead, they deferred to the legislature. Former governor Elliot Spitzer promised to have introduced legislation removing barriers to Gay Marriage here in New York. Too busy taxing us into poverty, the incumbent remains mum on the subject.
Laws requiring marriage be defined as a ‘man/woman’ relationship are blatantly unconstitutional. Our nation is founded on principles of personal freedom and the liberty to live life as we choose. We expect to be free to speak, to express ourselves, to gather, and to believe (or not) in our respective god. These fundamental principles have held us together as a nation for more than 200 years.
The Court of Appeals disagrees with me. Rather than deal with the equal rights issue, the Court focused upon children. Mentioned more than 25 times, the words “child” or “children” formed the basis for every argument; however circular.
Consider these excerpts:
“A person's preference for the sort of sexual activity that cannot lead to the birth of children is relevant to the State's interest in fostering relationships that will serve children best.”
“The Legislature could find that unstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples, and thus that promoting stability in opposite sex relationships will help children more. This is one reason why the Legislature could rationally offer the benefits of marriage to opposite-sex couples only. There is a second reason: The Legislature could rationally believe that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father. Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like.”
“Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex. A court should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant or bigoted. We do not so conclude.”
The Court went on to say that, “[i]ntuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like.” Did the Court really feel that gay parents raising a child would isolate that child from all members of the opposite sex? Do not children come into contact with members of each gender every moment of their public lives? Ignorance and presumptions drove the Court’s opinion.
But the ultimate Christian tyranny was shown in the Decision when the Court stated that, “Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex. A court should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant or bigoted. We do not so conclude.” If memory serves, the same arguments were advanced by the Church to quiet Gallileo. Once upon a time, the entirety of human existence believed that the earth was flat, that dragons ruled the seas, and that White Anglo Europe was the entirety of humanity. Ours is a nation with the memory of a gypsy moth. Ask Mr. Korematsu.
Make no mistake: Limiting marriage to a man and a woman is a religious belief. It is one founded in Christianity and for so very many years has become the norm. Worse, it has wormed its way into civil law in that only four States presently sanctions marriage for other than one man and one woman. Some States talk about a new legal animal called ‘civil unions’ that give marriage-like rights and benefits to non-heterosexual couples. But, such unions miss the main point of the issue. The doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ died with Ms. Plessy.
Society has no interest in assuring that marriage remains a heterosexual relationship. We cannot succumb to claims that marriage is about procreation when we tolerate couples to be legally married who do not intend to have children, who cannot have children, or who are post-childbearing. There is also no basis that marriage has to be between man and woman “because that is the way it has always been done” when we live in a world where slavery, pedophilia, and imperialism were likewise once the norms.
I verily believe we need to separate out "marriage" the religious event from "marriage" the civil event. Churches of every stripe have an event called "marriage" where two people are brought together before God to live in a state of holy bliss. We should respect those beliefs. There are churches, however few in number, that will actually wed people of the same sex. At the same time, civil society also recognizes two people brought together for the purpose of creating a family. Collectively we recognize the greater benefit of encouraging people to live and work together. But civil society has no religious ethos to follow. Instead, we should just look at the common good. We can let the churches have their 'marriages' while at the same time allow society to have its' own. Perhaps society should not recognize marriage at all but instead call it something else and apply it equally to everybody.
Here in New York, the nine justices of the Court of Appeals manufactured as many excuses as it could for a legislative justification for mandating mixed gender marriages. ‘Marriage’ was gutted from being a fundamental privacy right and turned into a monster which serves at the whim of the government. In its final paragraphs, the Decision cries, “hey its not our job” and turns to New York’s Legislature for a solution.
Let us be the great People that we are. Let us learn to accept and tolerate those who do not think or live as we do. We are a pluralistic nation and as such, there has to be room for more than one idea. My idea is that we allow anybody to get married to anyone they choose. From those unions, our nation will thrive and grow and find enlightenment.
Oh, and of course, with Gay Marriage ... comes Gay Divorce ... and that is always good for business.