Sunday, 17 January 2010
|0932 - Sometimes, conservative columnists do get it wrong|
The token conservative at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is Katherine Kersten. She's generally on target, but she bangs the anti-same-sex-marriage drum a little too much. In response to her latest column, I sent her the following email:
I am one of the conservative minority in Minnesota, and I read and support your writings whenever they appear in the Star-Tribune. In general, you're right on target. There's one issue where we part ways, though: same-sex marriage.
I understand your religious views on the subject. However, as the Supreme Court has ruled, marriage is a fundamental right of American citizens. To deny it to a substantial part of the population because of something they did not choose and cannot change is simply wrong, and a blot on America's banner as the land of liberty. It is exactly equivalent to telling a black man that he cannot marry a white woman.
Nobody is suggesting that a church be required to perform same-sex marriages it finds incompatible with its beliefs. We already have civil marriage as a recognized institution in this country. Churches would be free to believe as they wish - but they would not be free to impose their beliefs on others. To allow them to do so would lead, for example, to Muslims being able to impose Shari'a law on Christians. This is no different.
Calls for popular vote on the subject are misguided. Which of your civil rights would you subject to a vote of the public? Your right to speak freely? Your right to keep and bear arms? Your freedom from unreasonable search and seizure? All could well be in jeopardy if submitted to a popular vote. Why, then, should the right to marry be any different?
Finally, as to the objection that a same-sex marriage is bad because it does not provide for children: would you then prohibit a woman who has had a tubal ligation or a hysterectomy from marrying? Or a woman who is fertile, but simply refuses to have children? What about a man who has had a vasectomy? Is he out of luck too?
The fight against same-sex marriage by conservatives who love freedom in other matters discredits the movement and causes opposition to it by people who would otherwise support it. When conservatives realize that the cause of freedom must necessarily embrace those freedoms one finds personally objectionable but harmless to others, and stop fighting those who seek to advance the cause of freedom, they will be much better off in seeking to chart the course of our society.
current mood: awake
As you no doubt know, I am not socially conservative, however I want to give you an "amen brother" to this. Beautifully written, and quite frankly, I agree 100%. I don't really want the Gov't telling my church what to do, and vice-versa. Good job!
Well reasoned and well said, Jay.
Bah. I still say that any state sanctioned marriage, same or different, should be outside the scope of government. Government endorsed marriage, and all of the taxation changes and other laws surrounding it should be erased and it should be left entirely up to the churches to decide.
Past that, they should only be looking to enforce whatever contracts people enter into outside of and within marriage equally. Everything that people do with marriage should be done within the scope of government as mere contract law and only restricted in such that it is voluntary by the people bound by the contracts.
I have no problem with that position, either, but that's much less likely to happen. I predict marriage equality will happen within the lifespan of those alive today, though not without a lot of angst.
That's part of the problem with US politics. The two parties keep people focused on solutions that are good for them and bad for the other side, while the answer is to go a third route which would give both sides what they want. The solution I describe would satisfy the democrats in giving them full equality and I'm sure they would find religions that would give them the marriages they desire, and it would satisfy the republicans in giving the whole institution of marriage back to the religions like they want. But nobody looks at the solutions that work, only the solutions that divide people.
Sadly, this trend does seem to be the popular method in modern politics. It's no longer about doing what works well for everyone so much as it is a game of "us vs. them."
As you said, I would be perfectly fine with government staying out of marriage all together. Unfortunately, it's so deeply embedded in a lot of our Puritan roots and would have an effect on laws related to monogamy/polygamy that many people would be very resistant to change of that nature.
I'm pleased to see you stand up for what you believe in a rational way, with facts backing you up. You and I may differ on many, many things, but here we are in complete agreement.
Will she listen (especially if the missive is from "a fellow conservative"*?) In all honesty, probably not. But, stranger things have happened. Keep us informed of any follow up!
(*will she say something like "he can't be much of a conservative if he isn't against same-sex marriage"? I come across a lot of conservative, right-wingers that do, sadly.)