After some big discussions the other day, I've realized once again, how much I dislike a great many republicans. Specifically, the 'Christian Right' and their intolerant "We're going to force our morality on everyone else" attempts. ;-/
It's too bad, too, because if you remove the moral BS from the Republican beliefs, and they're not all that bad. I also find it a *major* contradiction. The whole idea of conservative politics, and being a republican, is the belief of smaller government, hands off in business matters, against gun control, etc. However, somewhere along the line, they decided that they were going to ignore that ideal, and expand government's interference with our every day lives by forcing their morality on us.
Actually, I know when that happened. It happened when the 'Christian Right' group of republicans infiltrated and grew in power greatly. Now they've become such a strong faction that all republicans have gotten a bad reputation because of it. What happened to the conservative republican belief that the government should stay out of my life?
It sickens me that at one time, I called myself a republican. Admittedly, that was a long time ago. My political evolution follows something like this:
The Beginning: While still not really knowing what I was talking about, I called myself a democrat, because my parents called themselves that. At this point in time, I was young, and calling myself anything didn't really mean much.
The Almost Understanding: At this point, I began to understand about three issues. I don't know what they were, nor why I had any interest in them, but I found out that my beliefs agreed with the republican side, so I considered myself a republican.
The Realization: Somewhere around here, I hit High School, and discovered that politicians were all slimy sleazy scum bags. I also came to the conclusion that the republicans seemed to be worse than the democrats. I started seeing myself as a democrat, however, I still agreed with some republican ideas, especially fiscal policy.
The Shifting: Towards the end of the last period, I became slightly disenchanted with the democrats as well, and decided to be an independent. I figured it was easier, because I never thought along party lines, I always just went with what felt right. I was pretty much fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
The Conclusion: Well, I think I've finally found a political alignment that I can mostly agree with. I'm now thinking of myself as mostly a Libertarian.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Libertarians, they're belief is that the government should be as small as it possibly can be while performing the functions it needs to perform. This includes reducing a lot of the bureaucracy that is prevalent in the US government right now.
Additionally, the Libertarians believe that laws should be as minimal as required to protect the people and the society. This means that laws restricting personal freedoms, liberties, are a very bad thing.
To put it another way, they tend to take a conservative opinion in regards to fiscal policy and business, while taking a liberal view on social issues. They want 'hands off' government, as much as possible, and taxes as low as possible (a result of our money belonging to us, and of an intent to reduce some of government's size).
They also are against the government sticking it's nose in citizen's business. This means things like legalized drugs. (However, they would strongly crack down on people who did things like driving high, as that endangers others.) I'm actually ambivalent about legalizing drugs, but that's an obvious example. Another would be that Libertarians are against gun control. I'm not 100% in agreement with the Libertarian views, but over all, they make sense.
You can find more information on the Libertarian beliefs online, just search google or something. ;-)
Now that we're finished with background, here's the reason for this rant. Nebraska has an initiative, Initiative 416, coming up for next Tuesday's election. This is a DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) initiative.
DOMA was signed into effect by Clinton a while back, at great pressure from the 'Christian Right' republicans. You may be aware that one of the things decided early in the history of the US is that contracts entered in one state are required to be held legal and valid in other states. This is a Very Good Thing (tm) so that, for example, if I borrowed money from you, I couldn't just move to another state and invalidate our contract.
Well, DOMA as signed into law basically gives a single exception to the above, stating that marriage contracts didn't have to be accepted in states other than where they were issued. Why is that, and what does it mean? It means that if two people of the same sex are married in a state that allows it, and they move to another state, their marriage may not be valid in that state. Sounds really stupid, doesn't it? I agree.
Well, the following has been proposed as an addition to Nebraska's state Constitution:
"Only a marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership or other similar same sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska."
Okay, now that you've read that, let's analyze it a little.
"Only a marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska."
This statement is a direct result of what I mentioned above, about DOMA. This *only* comes into play if someone were married in a different state and then moved to Nebraska. You see, marriage between two members of the same sex is already invalid in Nebraska. It can't be done here. Now, after this passes, it can't be brought here, either.
I personally find this statement really bad, because I believe it's an unfair infringement on the gay/lesbian population. However, similar things have been passed in around 30 states, so I'm not gonna argue too much here. Suffice to say I disagree, but don't expect anything different. Nebraska is, after all, a *very* republican state. (The City of Omaha traditionally is democrat, but the state as a whole is extremely republican. What's odd, too, is that the capitol City, Lincoln, has the third highest gay percentage of population in the US. The only cities with a higher percentage are New York and San Francisco.)
"The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership or other similar same sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska."
Okay, now this part I have a problem with. A serious problem. First of all, the is so blatantly discriminatory, it just amazes me. However, even if I were a card carrying gay basher, I would have a serious problem with this. Why? Well, for one thing even if I thought homosexuality was wrong, I'd balk at enacting laws to discriminate against it.
Secondly, it uses the word 'similar'. What does that mean? Well, similar is a word without a strict legal definition. As such, it would be up to the courts to interpret it. And without a strict legal definition, the courts are given a great deal of latitude in their decisions. A quick example of this, is the Communications Decency Act (CDA) that was passed with the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. The CDA used the word 'indecent' when describing what was illegal to post. Unfortunately, 'indecent' doesn't have a strict legal definition, like obscenity and profanity do. This is one of the primary reasons that the CDA was struck down as easily as it was.
And while the law is intended to act specifically against gays, when it gets into a court, intent means absolutely nothing. Everything is based on the text itself, to the letter.
Want to hear a great example of why this is *really* bad? A good friend of mine works as a secretary for two guys. They're best friends, and have co-owned a business together for almost 15 years now. They're also both happily married, and with children. Now, due to their relationship together, and with the business, they took out a life insurance policy together, naming the other as a beneficiary in the event of one or the other's death.
Nothing special, right? Except that this new wording to the state constitution could invalidate that. As such, their insurance company is requiring that they both renegotiate their life insurance and take out separate policies, now. And it's going to cost them both a lot more money. Nice, huh?
Now, I want to say a few words about discrimination. You'll note I haven't made heavy use of the word 'homophobic' here. There's a specific reason for that.
I don't believe in using that word.
Why, you might wonder? Because I consider it a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that this is discrimination.
Ask yourself this. If someone proposed a law that would make it illegal for African Americans to marry, do you think anyone would even consider it? Or, if someone proposed to make all Latino American marriages invalid, how about then? Sounds absolutely crazy, doesn't it? And yet, here we have a minority group being singled out and discriminated against based on prejudice. Why is it that we stand so strongly against it in most areas, and yet support it here?
People think of 'homophobic' as just another personality trait. While racism is considered extremely bad. Why? It's all the same thing, when you look at it. Discrimination against a minority based on preconceived notions. And here's another thing. We don't call people who are racist against African Americans blackophobics, do we? Ever heard someone who hated Chinese people called a Chinaphobic?
No. We call these people, who show prejudice against people of a different 'race', culture, or ethnic background discriminatory, or racist. So, why don't we do the same when bigotry is shown in regards to homosexuals?
Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?
The last thing I want to say on this, is intended for people who say that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible names it a sin. Now, I won't argue with you that the Bible says this. However, most of the people who make this argument have never read the Bible. You might be greatly amazed, and somewhat scared, by some of the things that the Bible says.
For example, how many of you have ever played football? Fun game, isn't it? Except for one thing. According to the Bible, it is a sin to touch the skin of a dead pig. And, yep, you guessed it, footballs are made of pigskin. That means that everyone who does, or has, played football, has committed that sin.
And, would you like to know what you have to do to repent that sin? You need to sacrifice a sheep or goat to your priest. Fun, huh? How much would you like to bet that your priest isn't going to appreciate you sacrificing a sheep or goat in their church, either? Yeah, that's kinda what I figured.
I suppose that's all I'll say now, seeing as this has already turned into a huge post. If you read it to the end, you have my thanks, and I'm also impressed with your fortitude. ;-)
If you've got something to add, or a differing opinion, feel free to post a comment. I could go on a lot more about this, but I'm guessing no one wants to read anymore. ;-)