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01/08/2010

You can consider whatever you want, Andrew. We'll consider *civil* law.

by Jeremy Hooper
"..what is at stake is whether voters may consider their own moral and religious views about marriage -- or any other subject -- when casting their ballots."
-Andy Pugno, general counsel for Team Prop 8 (via Baptist Press)

You really have to question Andy's reference to "any other subject," and ask if he really wants to live in a world where voters can use their personal faith views to change public policy. Because just think of all the ignoble things that faith has been used to justify in the past. Do evangelicals like Pugno really want to leave civil law up to the whims of religious fervor? Do they really want all matters decided by a bare majority vote? Because if so, we'd really appreciate it if they'd let us know -- obtaining a green card takes some time.

But what you really have to consider here is Pugno's failure to understand (or at least admit) the basic issues of legal merit that are at play in this case.

PugnoBecause sure, any and all of us have the ability to cast a vote for ANY reason. One can vote against Evan Bayh simply because they hate phonetic combinations that sound unlike they're spelled. Against Barbara Boxer because they prefer wrestling. Against Sheldon Whitehouse because they find his surname too aspirational. There is no test attached to the ballot (even if we willing pose and answer essay questions related to the same).

However, a collective majority cannot vote a certain way without scrutiny. This scrutiny might involve unjustified wars, as with public rage during Bush's two terms. It might concern affection for Tetley, as with Obama's nascent presidency. Or the scrutiny might be in terms of legality, as with the ignoble marriage bans that have been foisted upon this nation. And whereas public opinion like that involving Bush or Obama is open for debate, matters of constitutional fairness, accuracy, and justice are far more concrete. There is a high degree of right vs. wrong that defies punditry and bias, and instead enters into the realm of actuality. That's precisely where we are with legal cases against marriage inequality: At a place where the voters' individual reasons for approving discrimination matter FAR LESS than whether they have the right to strip their neighbors of a fundamental freedom!

The vocal anti-gay social conservatives talk about "repentance" all the time, yet they show no remorse for the considerable pain they've inflicted upon LGBT people and their friends/families/allies. They try to hold us accountable for "destroying marriage," but they don't at all want to be held accountable for their role in ripping apart our own bonds. They shame us and claim that we wish to deny their "will" as citizens, while also carelessly shaming any court or justice who expresses a "will" that bends towards justice for all. Plus they dupe impressionable citizens into siding with unfairness by telling them that such is the way to "protect" children, yet they pay no mind to the millions of gay children (grown and current) who their actions have wounded.

Enough is enough! Those who have chosen to make the world more biased have made their votes and opinions known. It is time for people who truly understand the laws of a church/state-separated nation to tell them why their votes, time, resources, and Brinks Trucks have been exerted in vain. Next week, we will take the next step.

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Your thoughts

Typical bigot BS, his logic can be applied to literally ANYTHING. People "considered their own moral and religious views about marriage -- or any other subject -- when casting their ballots" against interracial marriage, women's suffrage and decriminalizing homosexuality.

Posted by: wackadoodle | Jan 8, 2010 5:45:27 PM

Something tells me that if many of our opponents would instead "consider their own moral and religious views about marriage" before they, you know, get *married*, their families would have fewer problems and they wouldn't have to blame LGBTs so much.

I guess it should go without saying, but I also hate how Pugno, like so many others, speaks as if nobody who disagrees with him could be one of "the people" who is "considering their own moral and religious view".

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Jan 8, 2010 7:18:53 PM

I get off duty from the fire department Monday morning. First stop, Pioneer Courthouse in downtown Portland,Oregon. The 9th Circuit will be carrying the trial live starting at 0830 and have set an entire courtroom aside with a large screen. I am very much looking forward to this trial as it will call into question Prop 8's rhetoric and hopefully, require them to back their rhetoric and lies up with fact. Should be interesting.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 9, 2010 4:00:44 PM

I'm sorry to disagree with the point of this piece -- and I should say I am a bi-sexual man who is 63 years old and grew up in a lesbian household. (In fact, my main reason for fighting for gay marriage is to give other people the right my parents never had, and to imagine how wonderful it would have been to be at their wedding, were hey still alive.) I am also an atheist who has been trying to convince my fellow liberals to start undertsnading that it is the religious background of the tea-baggers, the homophobes, even the global warming denialists, that is moving them and to realize that they have to begin taking such things seriously.

But to argue that people are wrong to use their religious views and beliefs on what is right to attempt to change public policy throws dirt on the memory of the many clergymen, priests, ministers, and rabbis -- and the believing lay people like Viola Liuzzo -- who marched, at the risk and sometimes -- as with Liuzzo -- at the cost of their lives, in the first great civil rights struggle. They marched, protested, sang, and spoke out of their own religiously-based principles, and if I deny the truth of their religion, I do not deny their sincerity.

Let us condemn the ugliness, meanness, stupidity, and downright evil of the 'new Evangelicalism' that would shudder at these memories, and I'll be with you every step of the way. Let us condemn a Catholicism -- my own one-time religion -- that went from Pope John XXIII to Pope Benedict, from Viola Liuzzo to Bill Donohoe, and I'll throw the first stone. Let us condemn the ugliness of a Judaism that has produced a Dov Hikind, and a Rabbi Lapin, and the homophobic representatives that my own Brooklyn District has produced, and I'll join you.

But to make such a generalized statement is, simply wrong. It was *not* a concern for *civil law* that motivated the marchers that (the greatest sorrow in my life) I was only able to march and not join in with. It was a knowledge that what they were fighting was indeed 'evil.' Now let us not condemn thise who fight on our side who are equally motivated by a need to fight evil, based on their own religious bel;iefs. And let us not let the truly evil men opposing us get away with claiming their own beliefs as the only true 'Christianity.'

That last is the most valuable weapon they have in the battle for 'hearts and minds' because, sadly, too many Americans see themselves as Christians, and fall for their perversions -- or see us as, inherently, anti-Christian. Let's not load their guns for them.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) | Jan 10, 2010 11:46:16 AM

Jim: Of course religion has motivated folks to take righteous moral stands. Then, now, and always.

But personal faith, regardless of how righteous or unrighteous it may be, is not meant to trump *civil* law. Religion can motivate people to do great deeds (marching for civil rights) or ignoble acts (repealing marriage equality). But those are the motivations. Those motivations still have to be meritous under the law to pass muster. And that is the point.

There really is no "generalized statement" being made here, as you assert. The continued, pointed statement of this post and many others is that anti-gay people cannot use their personal spirituality to deny LGBT people of their public, civil rights.

But that all being said: Never, ever apologize for disagreeing with any post. That's why we have this comments section. We all learn from open discussion :-)

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 10, 2010 10:00:36 PM

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