Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tradition!



The recent Supreme Court arguments over same sex marriage are yet again, another example of why we should not blindly follow traditional views to guide our social policy. The point so many seem to miss, which I fine absolutely amazing, is that if your an American citizen you get the whole package, all the civil rights, not some abridged version depending on who you are.

Our country is founded on some basic principles called inalienable rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. It starts with “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Marriage is a fundamental right, as in having the Liberty to form associations which are beneficial to you as an individual. No one can tell you who you should be friends with or marry or not. I would describe it as having the "Liberty to pursue happiness through Marriage” Which to some, would be at best, a dubious proposition that should be avoided at all costs. Irregardless, it should be an individuals choice. Yet many states have made laws or even changed their constitutions to stop same sex couples from marring, by defining marriage as between a man and a woman, because that is the traditional view. Since when can one group of citizens vote away civil rights of another. Have we forgotten that these rights are inalienable, and defined as: “a right according natural law, a right that cannot be taken away, denied, or transferred”. Such actions are the very antithesis of Democracy. Just because one group has a majority and can create laws or change State Constitutions, doesn't mean they can have everyone goose step to Wagner.

What is next, are we going to go after another “Liberty”, as in Freedom of Speech. What if a majority group voted to restrict a minorities right to speak their minds. Somehow I don't see this passing the smell test, since Freedom of Speech such a powerful fundamental right in America. No such attempt would go very far and would be denounced by all. But in many other countries this is still the norm.  

Freedom of Religion is at the core of this issue since most of our traditional views come from religion. Doesn't using this traditional view of marriage to define marriage, violate others religious civil rights, for it follows logically, that in order to be free to follow one's own religious convictions, you must allow others to follow their own beliefs. This is also not a multiple choice question, where you have to choose some religion. There are those who are not religious at all. To make it simpler, no one can force their religious beliefs on another. Buy defining marriage according to the traditional view, and making that law,  you are effectively imposing your religious views on others. How can one have Freedom of Religion without Freedom from Religion? So to use "traditional marriage" as an argument to define marriage as such is invalid, and goes against the basic principles of Democracy.

Let me make things even simpler. I give you two words, “compassion and reason”. We need to be compassionate towards others in order to respect their civil rights, as we would like them to respect our own. And we need to do this reasonably. Clearly we are lacking on both of these concepts regarding the current arguments over same sex marriage.

Last, being on the wrong side of history is a difficult thing, and we need to be compassionate to those whom are having difficulty with these changes, because of the traditional filters through which they view the world. But not at the expense of civil rights of the LGBT population. Patience is a virtue, not a civil right.

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