Editor’s Note: A guest community post from Marc Thomas, a frequent contributor to VOR via comments. Learn more about Marc at his blog: www.heknocks.com. Guest community posts do not necessarily represent the views of Voice of Revolution.
As I write, the seven-judges of the Supreme Court in San Francisco consider the legitimacy of Proposition 8 and whether or not to uphold or overturn the legislation forbidding homosexual marriage in California.
Since the voters of California voted ‘yes’ to the ban at the end of 2008, the new rule has been a constant source of contention.
Shannon Minter, lead counsel for the overturning of Proposition 8 is quoted by BBC News Online as saying, “Proposition 8 changes the basic nature of our government from one in which the majority protects the rights of minorities…A simple majority cannot be allowed to take any rights away from a historically protected minority” In saying this, Minter implies the following:
1) “Proposition 8 changes the basic nature of our government from one in which the majority protects the rights of minorities”
In actuality, the democratic government of America is there to represent the people and to implement policies under the ‘indirect’ influence of the voting public. In short, if the people agree by vote that a policy should become law, then the leaders receive legitimacy to make the law – regardless of its effect on minority groups. However, while leaders receive the ‘O.K’ from the voters to pass and implement a law – they can equally decide not to. This is the way that a representative government works.
2) “simple majority cannot be allowed to take any rights away…”
Minter here, we assume, refers to the right to marriage. It is true to say that previously homosexual couples had a legislative right to a marriage, and since Proposition 8, they no longer have this right.
In principle, although it is an uncomfortable thought with many implications on all of us regardless of sexual orientation or religious preference, a democratic system of government shapes its legislation through the election of representatives or by direct ‘voicing’ of opinion through vote. Equally, a society’s values and rights are defined by the society itself. Not all of the population will have the rights it desires – but on another occasion, the group previously deprived of what it perceives to be a ‘right’ will gain a different privilege or benefit by the same democratic means.
However, let us question the most basic question, namely; is there a right to homosexual marriage in the first place?
We may briefly define the Christian doctrine of Marriage as the union between a man and a woman reflecting the relationship between Christ and the Church (as seen in Song of Solomon and referred to several times by Jesus in the NT). If we take this definition to be accurate, the idea of marriage between two men or two women is at very best a misinterpretation of the doctrine.
In the Bible, God expressly forbids sexual relations between two members of the same sex and consequently we must take marriage between two homosexuals to be illegitimate. If there is no legitimacy, then there is no right.
Continuing to view homosexual marriage as a right in the context of ‘individual happiness’ and love has the effect of ‘blurring’ boundary lines. Should we also view it as a right when a man wants to be married to a child? A woman to a horse?
Can we really still say “As long as it makes them happy?”
3) “…historically protected minority.”
Let us consider the facts behind this statement – It is true that since the beginning of the 20th century, homosexuality has become more acceptable in society in general. This is due to any number of complex sociological reasons: e.g. the breakdown of the family unit following depleted male population after the war, breaking down of sexual boundaries in literature and film (both hetero- and homosexually speaking).
However, we cannot forget the laws that governed homosexuality in America until very recently. Until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. Sodomy Law remained in California until 1976, and it is only since 2003 that the U.S Supreme Court has invalidated all remaining state sodomy laws.
Traditionally, legally and politically speaking, the homosexual community has not been a protected community.
The problems are present and they speak for themselves – America stands at a crossroads, she will either choose a liberal state or something else. The laws on homosexuality, particularly in a state as important as California, are a ‘levee,’ if the dam breaks, the land will flood.
In any case, America is rife with immorality from all sides (including heterosexual marriage which is rotten with sin) but she is certainly not alone in her malaise.
Here let us draw a clear distinction between basic human rights – the right to think, speak and move freely – but with responsibility and tact – with the legal and social rights i.e. the laws governing marriage.
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