This morning, January 11, the California federal district court in San Francisco is scheduled to hear Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case challenging the constitutionality of the voter-passed amendment to the state's constitution that outlawed same-sex marriage.
". . . during the trial, the supporters of Proposition 8 will work hard to demonstrate that it was rational for voters to conclude that marriage is a unique institution that promotes the interests of child-rearing, and that those interests are broader than the personal special interests of the adults involved. And they'll make the case that voters were very much within their rights, when casting their ballots, to consider their own moral and religious views about marriage -- or any other subject." -- Edwin Meese III, "Stacking the Deck Against Proposition 8," New York Times op-ed, January 11, 2010 (click here=&emc=th&pagewanted=print)
However it might be interesting to note that Mr. Meese was US Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and is currently a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, such interest should neither add nor detract from the measure of soundness that may or may not reside in arguments he makes on behalf of California's Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage.
It's the "every word of it" that ought to be troubling to folks everywhere, regardless of their political affiliation. That's because one of only three possible conclusions can be made concerning Mr. Byrne. One, the GOP candidate is an ignorant fool who knows not what he's really saying. Two, he believes what he is saying is true, but hypocritically does not hold the consequences of his words apply to him, which makes of him a hypocrite. Or three, he does not actually believe what he is saying is true, and that makes of him a liar. In any case, it does present the Republican candidate, exactly as is Mr. Meese, as extremists who are extremely dangerous to a liberal democratic republic such as ours.
The letter of the law specific issue I"m addressing is the matter of gay marriage. But that specific issue is subsumed within the much broader matter that concerns basic rights, and who is entitled to full enjoyment of them, and who is claiming some right to deny those rights to others, and the premises upon which they choose to claim such proscribing authority. To build my case against the so-called fundamentalists among us, I'm next going to list numerous supposedly God-levied do's and don'ts, complete with Biblical attribution. For all who claim their position banning same-sex marriage owes to their allegiance to Biblical edict, it should become clear who the treacherous phonies are. Either one believes, as Mr. Byrne claims, and Mr. Meese seems to feel there's an entitlement that's beyond social challenge (Or should be), that they should abide by what's in the Bible 100%, without, because "every word" is governing, parsing for that which is most convenient to them, or they're damned, lying hypocrites. And, of all miscreants, Jesus held hypocrites in the very lowest esteem. As Yogi said, "You can look it up."
A word of warning: This list is lengthy. While the reader may prefer to scan-read it, I urge reading each one, to gather to his or her own base of knowledge some measure of the duplicity that's being played out.
Leviticus (Hereinafter Lev) 7:26, one is forbidden to use aux jeux gravy.
Lev 11:6, one may not eat rabbit.
Lev 11:7, one may not eat pork.
Lev 11:10, one may not eat lobster or shrimp or clams, etc.
Lev 11-30, one may not eat escargot.
Lev 12:2, if a woman bears a son, she is unclean for seven days, for bearing a daughter, it's 14 days.
Lev 19:19, one is forbidden to wear a garment made of "mixed linen."
Lev 10:27, all males are forbidden from shaving about their temples or trimming their beard.
Lev 20:9, any son who swears at his father or mother is to be taken to the community elders, and thereupon removed from the community, and stoned to death.
Lev 20:10, adultery is a capital offense, the mode of execution which shall be stoning.
Lev 20:13, homosexual conduct is a capital offense, the mode of execution of which shall be stoning.
Lev 20:18, any husband who sees his naked wife during the time she is menstruating must be ostracized from the community.
Lev 24:16, blasphemy is a capital offense, the mode of execution of which shall be stoning.
Lev 25:4, all farmers are strictly prohibited from planting any crop whatsoever every 7th year.
Lev 25:23, no one may hold title to any land in perpetuity. There must be an ending date to their ownership rights.
Lev 25:36, one is forbidden to charge interest on loans.
Deuteronomy (Hereinafter Deut) 5:14, no one may work on Sunday, for any reason whatsoever.
Deut 15:2, all loans must be forgiven 100% every 7th year, including those made in the 6th year.
Deut 21:18 - 21, all "stubborn and rebellious" sons are to be taken to the community elders, and thereupon removed from the community, and stoned to death.
Deut 22:5, cross-dressing is absolutely prohibited and are abominations to God.
Deut 22:9, all wine growers are prohibited from planting different varietals adjacent each other.
Deut 22:11, one is forbidden from wearing a garment made of "different sorts, as of woolen and linen."
Deut 22:20 - 21, any young woman who "has not the tokens of [her] virginity" on the day of her marriage shall be delivered to the "men of her city," and she shall be stoned to death."
Deut 22:22, adultery is a capital offense, with the mode of execution as described above.
Deut 23:2, to the 10th generation, no bastard child shall be permitted in church.
Deut 24:5, newlywed men may not enter unto war until a year has elapsed from the day of wedding, in order that he "shall cheer up his wife."
The preceding are some of the commandments from God that the one who holds every word as true is absolutely morally obligated to obey; not just the ones he or she agrees with, or finds convenient, but ALL OF THEM. I wonder how many items of apparel that Mr. "Every word" Byrne and Mr. Meese and all self-confessed Christian fundamentalists and Mormons have that are made of different materials? I wonder how much real estate these folk own that have ending dates to their ownership rights? Or how many blasphemers they have demanded be executed . . . via the prescribed mode: stoning? I wonder how many sons and daughters and adulterers Mr. Byrne and Mr. Meese and each and all God-fearing folk who insist on proscribing same-sex marriage have demanded be removed from their towns and villages, to be stoned to death? Or he or she is a liar, a hypocrite; NO! -- a damned liar and a damned hypocrite.
But you know, and I know, as do those who pontificate from some religious pretensions that their religious beliefs have nothing to do with what they're insisting on. It's naught but clothed fear and clothed bigotry.
"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
If the courts were true to themselves there would be no doubt that that they would find for the plaintiffs, Perry. The controversy is a Fourteenth Amendment "due process" and "equal protection" case. To secure standing, the much transgressed rule in such cases, plaintiffs must show prima facie evidence of all three: 1.) State action, 2.) inclusion in an identifiable group, and 3.) suffering some harm that is amenable to court rectification. Any reading by even the most prejudiced observer cannot help but agree that plaintiffs do in fact meet each of these conditions.
What must be irrelevant is how the majority feels. The protecting amendments to our Constitution were never, ever intended to protect a majority from a minority. They were enacted to protect the people from abuses by the government and a minority from the tyranny of the majority. Why a majority feels as it might is of no consequence. Nor must it be allowed to become consequent.
History, even our own, is replete with examples of de jure inequality that were first premised on religious edict but which have since been both discredited as illegitimate, and been tossed into history's trash bin. The holy scriptures and practices of all of the major religions common to US society -- Christian, Jewish, Moslem -- hold women in untenably low legal esteem, relative to their male counterparts. Whether in the OT or the Koran, a woman has neither equal intrinsic value compared to those of a man, nor any genuine legal rights. Or, how many women priests and bishops can be found in the Roman Catholic faith? How many women Presbyterian ministers are there? How many women rabbis? Or mullahs? If one wishes to argue these institutions do hold women equal . . . how to manage that, given the institutional management structures of them? Yet, if they are equal, why have women not been elevated to equality?
Rhetorically, how many American women would today go along with the strict strictures elaborated in the Bible, for example? While I'll posit there may be some, I'll also insist there are none with any sense of genuine personal dignity. The architecture of genitalia cannot be a presumed foundation for basic human rights. To presume it can and should works a clear attack on the every notion of justice, and must never be either supported or accepted.