And they didn�t disappoint
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 13, 2009, 00:11

After the April 3 unanimous decision of the Iowa Supreme Court striking down that state�s same-sex marriage ban, followed by the Vermont legislature�s overriding the governor�s veto of that state�s marriage equality legislation, it was just a matter of time until the Religious Right and their minions vomited their same old vile bile. And they didn�t disappoint.

The reaction from Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Jerry Falwell�s Liberty University�s Law School, to the Iowa decision was typical: �These activist judges are no more than proselytizing engines of social change. . . . That�s not the role of a judge. They are to be umpires merely calling the balls or strikes. They don�t rewrite the definition of marriage.�

What are the odds that supreme court justices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and Iowa are all involved in some sort of �activist judge� conspiracy? Or is it more likely that barring certain citizens from the civil institution called �marriage� is unconstitutional discrimination?

And do consider Mr. Staver�s other statements about the so-called �activist judges.� He claimed they are �engines of social change� and don�t have the authority to �rewrite the definition of marriage.�

Brown v. Board of Education (1954). In this landmark case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously that state laws establishing separate (and supposedly equal) public schools for black and white students were an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement. Were the justices being �engines of social change�?

Loving v. Virginia (1967). In this landmark case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously that Virginia�s and other states� (religion-based) anti-miscegenation laws were an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision legalized interracial marriage. Were the justices rewriting �the definition of marriage�?

In both cases the Supreme Court justices were �umpires merely calling the balls or strikes,� as Mr. Staver put it, and discrimination struck out. The April 4, 2009 New York Times editorial made the point:

Like the state�s earlier landmark civil rights cases --- striking down slavery in 1839, for example, and segregation in 1868 and 1873 --- the ruling on gay marriage by Iowa�s Supreme Court is a refreshing message of fairness and common sense from the nation�s heartland.

A unanimous decision by the seven-member court on Friday approved marriage for couples of the same sex and brought the nation a step closer toward realizing its promise of equality and justice.

Matt Barber, Liberty Counsel�s director of cultural affairs, made the usual nonsensical comments in response to Vermont�s affirmation of civil equality:

�How long can a nation founded on the laws of nature and nature�s God expect to find favor in his eyes when we continue to mock God? . . . I believe that the purveyors of evil around the country feel emboldened right now with the current political climate in Washington, DC,� Barber states, what with both the Oval Office and Congress inhabited by �people who are bent on thumbing their nose at God.� [italics added]

A nation founded on the laws of nature and nature�s God.� From the prehistoric rock paintings left by the San people in modern day Zimbabwe to Native American berdache who were venerated for their �Two-Spirit� orientation, homosexuals have existed in all times and in all cultures. One would have to conclude, naturally, that nature�s laws -- authored by �nature�s God� -- were simply being expressed. But, apparently, attorney Barber knows better than �God� what those laws should be. He also seems to have forgotten a basic premise of this nation: �All men are created equal . . .�

Barber apparently considers those who believe and advocate that all men and women are equal citizens deserving of equal civil rights are �purveyors of evil.� Liberty Counsel�s director of cultural affairs would have been right at home in Germany in the 1930s.

Barber claimed that the Oval Office and Congress are inhabited by �people who are bent on thumbing their nose at God.� What does one say when confronted with such bombastic silliness?

After the next natural disaster, no doubt those who share Mr. Barber�s delusions will wildly proclaim it was �God�s wrath� on America for allowing monogamous, loving couples --- many with children -- to legally affirm their commitment and family.

The �protect marriage� crowd has no legitimate arguments. Even their Bible-based ones are distortions and misrepresentations in that �marriages� in biblical times were more often than not arranged (frequently between a very young woman and a much older man) and/or polygamous and/or incestuous. So it was no surprise that the National Organization for Marriage�s latest ad campaign was based solely on lies and distortions and relied on the main weapon of those who advocate civil discrimination, scare tactics:

Antigay Ad Says a �Storm Is Gathering�
By Neal Broverman
April 08, 2009

A new homophobic ad will soon be hitting the airwaves on channels like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, though some are calling it laughably bad.

The commercial, produced by the antigay National Organization for Marriage, shows a group of actors discussing how the �storm is gathering� because same-sex marriage has been legalized in four states. The fake doctors and church attendants discuss how new advances in gay rights will take away their �freedom� and make it impossible for them to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The ad will run in places like New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and California -- states on the front lines of the marriage-equality movement.

You can view the ad here. And you can view the Human Rights Campaign�s debunking of it here.

�Marriage� has always been an evolving institution. From biblical accounts when marriages were arranged, polygamous and/or incestuous through the introduction of marital �love� by the troubadours in the late 12th and early 13th centuries to the legalization of interracial marriage in 1967, the institution has grown along with humanity and social awareness. It continues to do so in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and especially Vermont:

Today we have overridden the governor�s veto . . . I have never felt more proud of Vermont as we become the first state in the country to enact marriage equality, not as the result of a court order, but because it is the right thing to do. --Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin

It must be noted that on the same day that marriage equality became law in Vermont, the Washington, D.C., Council voted 12-0 to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. �It�s no secret that I have been working on legislation that would take us further,� said Council member David A. Catania. �This is the march toward human rights and equality.�

Even Cal Thomas, ultra-conservative pundit and card-carrying member of the Religious Right, is seeing the light:

To those on the political and religious right who are intent on continuing the battle to preserve �traditional marriage� . . . I would ask this question: what poses a greater threat to our remaining moral underpinnings? Is it two homosexuals living together, or is it the number of heterosexuals who are divorcing and the increasing number of children born to unmarried women, now at nearly 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

But �those on the political and religious right who are intent on continuing the battle to preserve �traditional marriage�� just don�t want to see gay Americans recognized as equal citizens, so they will continue blathering and become even more deceitful, hateful, and fanatical . . . hence the National Organization for Marriage�s �A Storm is Gathering� ad.

Joseph Goebbels would be proud of the National Organization for Marriage and their �Storm� ad. History, however, will file them together under �toxic waste.�

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