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

March 6, 2013

Calls for Revolution Will Lead to Undesirable Results

Revolutions are part of the natural cycles of governance and are often required to bring forth change. Change is the one result of revolution that is guaranteed. Desirable change is not guaranteed and is the least likely of all the possible results from a revolution. The one consequence of revolution is unpredictability and such uncertainty is a wicked mistress. The closest analogy of revolution in nature is fire. The great plains and forests of the world left to nature will suffer cleansing fires as that is nature’s way of effecting change. The renewals resultant from these flames is necessary in the cycles of renewal by Mother Nature. The other similarity between nature’s renewal by fire and political renewal by revolution is that each is an extremely dangerous process to all living things within the effects of the sweeping flames of change. The forests and plains then reset to an original starting point from which nature rebuilds eventually reaching the point where the conditions will eventually again reach the point where the conditions are ripe for the next renewal by fire. Governance of man is similar in that the governance that results from any revolution is not guaranteed and, more often than not, the forces in control at the end of the revolution are rarely the same forces that began the revolution. The recent revolutions in the Middle East are perfect examples of this consequence.

 

The originators of the Egyptian uprising, for example, were students and young adults who using the new high tech media began a revolution that presented the opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists to step in and reap the rewards from the wind swept flames of change. Similar results followed from what began actually in 2009 Iran where the students and many from the society protested the stealing of the election by Ahmadinejad and were violently oppressed. Their attempt at change failed largely due to the timidity by the rest of the world to support their calls for relief from despotic rule. The next country was Tunisia where a vegetable street vendor reached beyond his limits and revolted by self-immolation. This was the spark that lighted the flames of revolution in Tunisia which then ignited across Northern Africa and beyond. The original protests were demands for freedom, democratic representation, liberty, and an end to economic repressions. The results have thus far been the replacement of nationalistic dictators with the election of Islamic religious leaderships which may result in the imposition of a new dictatorial type of theocratic tyrannies. The freedom expressing youth who wished for modernized democratic governance began these revolutions and the theocratic fundamentalists had the organizational presence to take advantage of an unstable leadership vacuum which they used all their influence and power to fill while displacing the idealistic youth. The history of revolutions will verify the posit that those who initiate revolution are more often than not cast aside by other forces who have the necessary organization in the ready seemingly waiting for just such an opportunity to divert the situation for their own gain.

 

There are those who believe that a revolution may be required in order to reinstitute the original Constitutional limits and reinstate idealistic governance that they believe existed at the birth of the United States and honestly believe that they would be able to control the transformation once the existing governance had been toppled making room for their visions to be realized. Other than the disillusioned truth that even at the time that George Washington was taking the oath of office the constitution was on the verge of being compromised as soon as Congress was seated. The Constitutional standard set forth in the actual document was an idealistic governance for which we were to strive and described a perfection which was to be minded in order to limit the evils to which men fall victim simply due to the fact that all are imperfect and corruptible when compared to a perfection of the vision such as presented in the Constitution. The ideal is near impossible yet is what must be the used definition of governance if society is to have any possibility of resisting the temptations that lead to corrupt ruling leadership that result from partaking of a taste of power. The problem with any revolution, even one with the stated goal of reinstating the original Constitution in its entirety, the temptations of power will work their tantalizations on those who find themselves as leaders. Since revolutions will tend to appoint or have some assume power, they leave the aims of the revolution to become victim of the desires of those trusted with leadership. History has proven that those trusted with leadership often break every vow and trust that was instituted when they first assumed leadership and power. As the old phrase states, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

When looking at the current state of political power in the United States and comparing it to the allocations of power according to the Constitution, one finds the structure which was meant to protect the individual States from an overreaching central government have been completely turned on their head. This is very much a stipulation for change that is made by those who believe the time has come to take whatever steps may be required to reset the governance of the United States back to the originating Constitutional arrangements. The problem is there is far too much risk in attempting to force such a change as those in power will not likely surrender that which they now hold. Forcing the issue would necessitate revolution and the flames of change are usually not kind. The only guaranteed manner of reasserting the limits and doctrines of the Constitution is to go through a period of disciplined change in order to undo over two hundred years of compromise. Such an endeavor would take near inhuman dedication over generations all the while resisting the exact same temptations which caused this problem in the first place. The problem is that each compromise committed to the purity of the Constitution was seen and accepted as an improvement or necessity and was generally approved by the majority at their inception. The perfect example would be the Seventeenth Amendment which called for a change in the manner for the selection of United States Senators. In accordance with the humanistic philosophies of the period where it was theorized that the people as a whole entity were of superior intelligence and pure nature than were the State Governments which were seen as even more corrupt than the Federal Government. This caused the belief that the citizenry would be preferred to be given the power to elect their Senators instead of allowing the State Legislators or Governor to appoint them. This was seen as advantageous and the Constitutional Amendment was presumably ratified as such. The theory that the Senate was to be the house that represented the individual States was set aside and transformed to mean the Senators were to represent the will of the peoples of each State. This was definitely to the advantage of the powers in Washington as it completely removed any vestige of power over the Federal Government actions and laws from the State legislators or other governmental power. This one Amendment may have had the most far reaching affect in subsuming power from the States into the centralized Federal Government. To undo the evisceration of the United States Constitution by two centuries of compromises and cheating performed by the representatives of the people, often despite vocal protests from a minority of strict constitutionalists, the people must be convinced it is in their vital interest to partake of an effort to reassert the original limitations, definitions, identifications, and structures of the Constitution of the Federal Government and all other forms of governance throughout the United States. Even if this should become evident, it would then take transmitting this eminent desire to the ensuing generations very likely for far longer than it took allowing for the constitution to be abridged. That will be one difficult and possibly climbable mountain to conquer, but likely a worthy goal. It is that very difficulty that makes the idea of revolution and quick restoration so tempting, but that allure would likely not produce the desired end. The fires of change tend to burn out of the control of those who lighted the initial flames.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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