Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Proposition 8 Goes Down -- Conundrum Completed

That the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California’s four-year-old ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional is not surprising. Since the measure was passed into law in 2008, I haven’t heard a single legal argument for it – and vague promises that the measure will protect “traditional” marriage don’t count as legal arguments.

Let us revisit the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads thusly:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This is typically referred to as the equal protection clause which, among other things, was used to combat laws in territorial and early statehood Idaho that prohibited Mormons from voting, holding public office, or serving on juries.

Equal protection, in my book, means equal protection. Prohibiting gay marriage is depriving people of their liberty and denying the equal protection of the law.

Says the court:
Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted.
Yes, this puts me at odds with Mormon hierarchy. Does that mean I am not a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I certainly hope not.

I have never felt my marriage threatened by gay marriage. There are plenty of other things that threaten my marriage (selfishness, petty jealousy, etc.) but certainly not the fact that a man and a man or a woman and a woman want to get married. Overwhelmingly, the threats I see to my marriage are internal, not external – though there are certainly external threats that we can legitimately combat on Constitutional grounds, ranging from pornography to whatever else have you. I’m busy enough working out my own shortcomings to worry about imaging up constitutionally-sound reasons to prohibit gay marriage.

We’re working with our soon to be 12-year-old son to memorize the Articles of Faith. Whenever the Proposition 8 discussion pops up, I almost always turn to Articles of Faith 11, which states:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
This, in my mind, means that if people want to worship pond scum, they may. So why not gay marriage?

Yes, I know there is doctrine on that as well. I suppose I am at odds with that doctrine.

And from a doctrinal and spiritual sense, that homosexual feelings are sinful I can understand. I just cannot wrap my head around the legal trappings of a measure that would curtail liberty – free agency.

And yet.

In reading something completely disconnected from Proposition 8, I see someone else arguing for something that’s morally right, though legally defensible:
If Mitt Romney is right, and corporations are people, perhaps Marvel/Disney has the capacity to feel shame. In any event, a public flogging has already begun. Cartoonist and educator Stephen Bissette’s blog post calling for a boycott of The Avengers kicked up a lot of dust in the blogosphere. Tom Spurgeon, writing for his well-respected industry website Comic Reporter also framed the issue in moral terms, as did the cartoonist Seth: “The corporate lie about Kirby's role in the creation of all those characters is abhorrent. It's a bold faced lie. Everyone knows it's a lie. No one is fooled. Everyone lying for the company should be ashamed. Stan Lee should be ashamed. What the Marvel corporation is doing might be legal but it certainly isn't right.”
And then there’s this: The powers that be had absolutely every right to do a remake/parody/update of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for a Superbowl ad, though there are many willing to spout about the moral implications of doing so (This update violates the spirit of the original movie which is a classic that shouldn’t be tampered with, is the argument I heard most often.)

So, it’s a conundrum, this thing called life.

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