Beyond the Cusp

October 29, 2014

Are Civil Rights for Sexual Preferences Tantamount to Civil Rights for Minority Races

Looking back to the first plaintive cries petitioning for acceptance and protection from being segregated against in life; many of their complaints revolved around workplace, refusal of housing or rental properties, refusal of service in restaurants or stores, and other generalities which today are granted without even a second thought. No longer is it acceptable or even forgivable to physically assault same-sex partners simply because they disturb your preference for a normalcy where such a situation either never exists because no one desires relations other than the norm or such relations are barred from the public realm.

The initial indications that the demands from the more adamant, some might even say militant, alternate life partners and sexual preferences began to compare their struggle to the Civil Rights Movement of a half century ago. These statements also brought to the fore the first warning protestations that the gender identity lobby was going to aim to overturn every last vestige of normal sexuality forcing their way into mainstream and eventually making their lifestyle and sexual proclivities the norm and traditional relationships the exception, or at least the perception of such. Those making these warnings were mostly ignored as paranoid extremists. Their main claim was that the alternate gender lobby would eventually demand a change in the definition of marriage and even force religious institutions to perform alternate gender weddings regardless of their religious convictions against such relations. Obviously these people were insane and had a very loose grip on reality. Nobody was thinking of challenging the definition of marriage as being a bond between one man and one woman. Such claims had to be absurd and dismissed out of hand, until when in more recent times this exact demand came to fruition. Recent court rulings have gone even further making objections enacted into laws, even those which have passed as citizen initiatives receiving solid majority backing when placed on ballots, have been overturned using Civil Rights Laws and equal access laws as the basis for striking down enacted laws which ban same sex marriages.

As I wrote back in March of 2013 in the article titled The Sane Solution to Same Sex Marriage, the easiest solution is to separate marriage and civil unions making one the purview of the state and the other reserved for religious institutions. With the individual states and other legally approved jurisdictions issuing a license for a civil union which qualifies those so joined all the benefits currently described as marriage benefits such as tax breaks, visitation in public hospitals and other similar rights while marriages will be issued through a religious ceremony and would have no actual civil benefits under the law. With such a difference established the state would still receive their revenue from issuing licenses for marriages and gain additional revenue for same sex unions without all of the aggravations and protestations from the religious and conservatives who have protested allowing marriage to be redefined by statutes or court decisions. The individual states and even more local jurisdictions such as counties, parishes, cities, towns and whatnot can make whatever allowances and combinations to qualify for a civil union without having any effect on the definitions of marriage which would remain with religious institutions. If an union other than traditional marriage of one man and one woman is permitted by any particular church, synagogue, temple, mosque, cathedral, monasteries or other religious institution desires to issue a marriage license to non-traditional couples, then that would be their right as well and they could attract such couples into their fold.

The coming disaster will be the eventuality when men of the cloth will no longer be permitted to even read scripture wherever the original scripture excludes nontraditional civil unions. Such an atmosphere has already cast a pale over the pulpits of Houston, Texas; yes, Texas of all places but such is Houston where they reelected Mayor Annise D. Parker who lives an open lesbian lifestyle. Her sexuality would have little to do with her position as mayor except that her administration recently was embroiled in a tempest over an apparent attempt to force the religious leaders to turn over any sermons or other material which they may have given, written or otherwise distributed which may have had any relevance to be subpoenaed. This action caught a great amount of indignation, challenges and even some outright refusals all basing their hesitance or resistance on religious freedoms under the First Amendment. This did force the Mayor to redefine the subpoena narrowing its coverage but the argument has been started and is not going to end soon in Houston. This was but the initial shot over the bow, given time this type of action will be repeated and slowly but surely it will become accepted and soon clergy will no longer be permitted free range of subject material and will begin to restrict their public positions to politically correct and approved subjects. This is the first step to thought crimes where people can be arrested for holding certain opinions and is the beginning of a dangerous slippery slope to slide down to a dark and hurtful place.

Meanwhile, the gender identity movement has one glaring difference from the Civil Rights Movement. While a minority individual cannot choose their minority status and in everything they do and everywhere they go they continue to obviously be that minority, they literally wear their minority status wherever they go, whether they are alone or in a group, they remain a minority. There is absolutely no choice or manner in which one can disguise or act in some manner and not be perceived as a minority. The same is not true for people with gender identity issues. A same sex couple when walking down the street would only be identified as potentially a same sex couple if they were walking hand-in-hand or with their arms around each other, though such would not necessarily always be accurate as such acts could have other motivations. Still, should a same sex couple simply be walking down the street or walk into a restaurant to have a meal they would not be depicted as such and could pass as two friends walking or taking a meal together. A minority is a minority walking down the street, having a meal with a friend and that is a simple fact which cannot be altered. That is the difference, a choice is made to announce or otherwise make known when a person has gender identity or sexual preferences which may be considered non-traditional otherwise they could just as easily pass as being no different than the next person or group, a minority individual cannot hide their being a minority, period. That is a large difference but the reasoning made by the gender issues advocates is that they should be able to announce and make their difference from the traditional majority without any reactions.

What does one believe would be the reaction if my wife and I entered an establishment which was known to favor people who live alternate lifestyles and we announced we were a traditional couple. Hopefully we would be accepted and not made to feel out of place and uncomfortable. I would hope in most public institutions that the same acceptance is shown people of non-traditional relationships or gender identities. Where the problem arises is solely when religion gets into the mix. This may be the single place where those who live nontraditional lifestyles or have other than traditional gender identities may have to found their own religious institutions or seek those which would accept them as they are. Should they instead choose a traditional religious institution they should expect to need to conceal, or at the least minimize, their nontraditional lifestyle or preferences. The same would apply to traditional individuals should they decide to become members of a religious institution which accommodates solely to people with nontraditional relations or gender identities.

Beyond the Cusp

March 30, 2013

The Sane Solution to Same Sex Marriage

We have written about this solution that addresses the recognition of same sex couples under the law while also maintaining the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman that should satisfy both sides of the argument. It preserves marriage while granting same sex couples with the legal rights they claim to seek and does so by reducing the intrusion of government into what should be a religious matter decided by each individual house of worship. The answer is to allow houses of worship to issue marriage certificates and hold marriage ceremonies while for those couples who wish the benefits and responsibilities the state applies to couples can receive a civil union contract from the state which will allow their pairing to have all the legal rights which currently are restricted to married couples. The marriage the houses of worship would perform would not allow the couple to claim any of the benefits of those who have a civil union contract unless the married couple also satisfied the state requirements and received a civil union contract. This separates the institution of marriage from any entanglement within the legal workings of the state thus freeing the individual state governments to decide what will be acceptable as a couple in the eyes of the law while the religious institutions decide what defines a married couple. The two are separate from each other and though any couple married by a religious ceremony would very likely also qualify for receiving a civil union contract, not every recipient of a civil union contract would be eligible to be necessarily married by every religious institution. There are also other advantages and options which become available in defining marriage which is currently disallowed due to the state being the issuing body of marriage certificates.

The main advantage is that each house of worship would be enabled to define marriage in whatever manner their congregation decides it should be defined. If the house of worship only wishes to recognize marriages between people of their religion and refuses to allow mixed religion marriages, which would be that house of worship’s right and the state would have no problems as the state has no jurisdiction over any religious service or definition as per the First Amendment. On the other side, if a couple can locate a house of worship willing to marry them, then they can have a marriage license and be considered married. Also, if a couple wishes to be married but does not deem it necessary to have state sanctioning their marriage, they would not be forced to receive a civil union contract but by not receiving the state’s issuance of a civil union contract would negate them of the benefits of being a couple in the eyes of the state and in all state functions. They would not be able to file a joint tax return or necessarily be allowed to visit each other in a state run hospital or have numerous other benefits. They would still be able to be the benefactor in their wills but would face the taxes upon one’s death as if they were not a legally joined couple.

The reason we like this solution is not because it enables same sex unions as much as it removes the government from what should be a purely religious institution, marriage. The further the government can be removed from defining terms in our lives and society, the more free the society will become. It is necessary to have the government define legal contracts as those are enforced in the courts of the state. It is not necessary to have the state define anything that does not require a legal contract. Marriage was originally not a legal contract but was a moral contract issued by the religious culture. The interest of the state in marriage has been as a financial interest, a social interest, a contractual interest, and a left over remainder from when the state and church coexisted almost as one entity through much of human history. By granting the state the issuance of the civil union contract the state continues to have all the jurisdictional constraints which it currently possesses but allows for marriage to be returned to the religious sector of our society. This is something which is desirable as it is fitting to have marriage and civil union contract both exist as the state and religion have been divorced from their previous relationship and thus should have separate interests in the whole idea of marriage. The religious institutions would have their historic interest of defining the basic structure of family and all that entails. The state would have their rightful fee for the contractual legal aspect which has been the main interests of the state as well as defining family for tax and other considerations.

There is one more benefit with this solution. We have heard time and time again that all those wishing to legalize same sex marriages desire is to have the same legal rights as do heterosexual couples. By relegating marriage to religious institutions and removing it from legal and public jurisdiction and in the legal and public forum having the contractual part of marriage relegated to civil union contracts, then all who are accepted by the state, which would likely include same sex couples as the state should not have any legal reason to deny such and moral reasons are not the state’s purview, would have the same identical rights while religious institutions could define marriage in any manner they wish. Religious institutions which allow polygamy or polyandry could allow such and it would then be up to the state on whether such could receive a civil union contract and with what limitations or provisions. Since the state licenses separate from religious institutions such discrepancies should not make for the problems we are currently facing as each would define their own definitions. This is just another application of a kind of separation of powers where the state has its set of considerations, legalizations and limitations while the religious institutions have their definitions and preferences and the two do not necessarily have to match.

Beyond the Cusp

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