Gay Marriage Poison Pill: Equality or Abolition

Michael Lindenberger of Time says that civil unions are the way to break out of the quagmire that gay marriage activists find themselves in, giving voice to the lies that the word marriage means nothing and that a church wedding after the fact would have all the same meaning for couples.

give gay and straight couples alike the same license, a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a civil union — anything, really, other than marriage. For people who feel the word marriage is important, the next stop after the courthouse could be the church, where they could bless their union with all the religious ceremony they wanted. Religions would lose nothing of their role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that they find in keeping with their tenets.

Lindenberger jokes that the biggest problem with such a reorganization of legal coupling would be knowing how to decide on the proper Hallmark card for the occasion.  That’s hardly the case. 

The real matter at hand is the poison pill that is the last resort of the gay marriage activists and the hidden threat at the center of their equal protection argument:  If homosexual couples can’t have traditional marriage then no one can.

If implemented, Lindenberger’s legalistic compromise would satisfy no one, least of all gay rights activists who want nothing more than to force society to change its definition of marriage to include homosexual couples.  “I didn’t come to the courthouse to be civil unioned,” one such activist cried on NPR last year, which demonstrates part of the problem with California’s search for the middle ground.

The other part is, of course, the entire span of of recorded human history in which marriage has been a covenant entered into by men and women.  Heterosexual marriage is the building block on which America is based.  Tampering with that definition is not only akin to swimming upstream, culturally speaking, but biologically as well, the facts of life being what they are. 

Lindenberger doesn’t address this key issue.  Instead, he quotes a pair of Pepperdine law professors, one of whom is Ken Starr of Clinton-gate infamy, as saying the issue is one of the afore-mentioned equal protection under the law.

Certainly that is what gay rights activists would like it to be – a textbook case of homosexuals being denied a fundamental human right.  If this were the case, they reason, courts would be forced to rule for them despite the negative repercussions of such activisim.

One problem with this argument is that law is by definition the affirmation of the rights of some and the denial of the rights of others.  Thieves, speeders, forgers, rapists, murderers, embezzlers, inside traders, child molesters, jay walkers, and drug addicts, to name just a few of the classes of people modern society discriminates against, are all denied the right to do things that they deem appropriate.  Why?  Society does not find these activities to be desirable and it has always claimed the right to reject arguments to the contrary.

A second problem is that the things that homosexual couples are being denied – and they are being denied something, make no mistake – are the very things that society is unlikely ever to bestow on them, regardless of legal rulings: respectability and acceptance.  No judge’s decision can ever bring about that outcome because it is not a legal matter.

A third issue is one of precedent.  Giving legal recognition to homosexual unions would also give added legal standing to other gay rights issues that society at large wants to discourage, gay adoption and procreation through artificial insemination and/or surrogates, to name two.

Legally it is possible to argue that the last two of these are irrelevant to the issue at hand.  However, the purpose of the law is judge between the behaviors desired by the citizens of a nation and those that are not, affirming the former and discouraging the latter using punishment as a deterrent.

Homosexuality falls into a gray area here in that it does not make sense to treat sexual preference as a criminal matter.  While society does in fact want to reduce or eliminate homosexuality, using the law to do so would be beyond the pale, a throwback to darker, more hateful days and a gross rejection of people who have done nothing wrong.  By the same token, the use of the law to force the acceptance of homosexuality on an unwilling populace is equally beyond the purpose – and capability – of the justice system.

Gay rights activists frequently compare homosexual and interracial marriage as if they were equivalent in order to demonstrate legal precedent for their argument.  Yet there is a critical difference: interracial marriage has demonstrable benefits for society in terms of racial integration and increased population.  Legalized gay marriage would grant legal succor to a small segment of society and injure the rest by dealing a crushing blow to the institution of traditional marriage, battered and unappreciated as it already is by liberal America.

American society exists because of the people’s right, through the government, to define right from wrong – on its own terms.  That’s how this country came into being and that is how it’s supposed to govern itself.  The people have spoken time and again on this subject, perhaps most clearly in California when Prop 8 passed.  To reject the people’s right to determine societal mores is to reject the very concept of justice itself.

Indeed, this right of self-determination – perhaps the most definitive aspect of this nation’s founding principles –  itself provides the true remedy to the issue of gay marriage.  As of late it is now legal for homosexual couples to marry in Connecticut.  While I am pleased to live in another state where that’s not the case, it’s Connecticut’s right to define its own set of standards, whether Texas agrees or not.  So be it, for citizens of both states.

The Brokest Generation

Mark Steyn tries, probably in vain, to point out to Gen Y’ers exactly what their support for Barack Obama’s big-spending ways will mean to them and their children. 

We want to help the sick and heal the planet by voting for massive unsustainable government programs. Like the young, we’re still finding ourselves, but when we find ourselves stuck with a medical bill or a foreclosure notice it’s great to be able to call home and say, “Whoops, I got into a bit of a hole this month. Do you think you could advance me a couple of trillion just to tide me over?” And if there’s no one at home but a couple of second-graders, who cares? In supporting the political class in its present behavior, America has gone to the bank and given its kids a massive breach-of-trust fund.

Just a little something to thank the powers-that-be for, kids.  Sorry, but I did my best to make things go the other way.

Speaking of which, Glenn Reynolds has some incredible photos from the Cincinnati Tea Party where approximately 5000 people showed up to protest Mr. Obama’s massive expansion of the government debt – well over $1T of new debt in the next fiscal year alone.

I especially love this one that speaks directly to the point that Steyn made in his article, that it’s the children who will have to pay for the excesses of our current leadership:

image

Good for you folks who both took it to the streets and kept it peaceful today.

More great pics of the event here.

What It Takes to Fight Terrorism

At the Telegraph, Con Coughlin lays out what’s wrong with Britain’s effort to fight Islamic terrorism to-date, saying:

No one can claim that we in Britain don’t understand the nature of the threat we face. In recent months, there has been a succession of reports highlighting the increasingly pernicious influence British Islamists are having on the Nato-led campaign to bring stability to Afghanistan.

After senior officers confirmed last year that British Muslims were fighting with the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, it was revealed that RAF Nimrod surveillance planes monitoring Taliban radio stations were surprised to hear insurgents speaking in strong Yorkshire or Midlands accents.

Surprised is probably the wrong word to use in that sentence given the murderous 7/7 bombing British Muslims carried out in London nearly 4 years ago.  Dismayed might be closer, for it reveals the true nature of Britain’s – and all of Europe’s – Muslim problem: It is at once internal and foreign.

Britain, Coughlin goes on to say, has been soft on Islamic extremists in a vain attempt to smooth the ruffled feathers of Muslims at home, some of whom have provided materials used in roadside bombs in Afghanistan, harassed British soldiers returning from the war theater, and rioted in the streets of London, among other misdeeds.  The government’s response has been weak at best, as demonstrated in the case of Binyam Mohamed, about which Coughlin wrote:

When the former Guantánamo detainee Binyam Mohamed claimed that British intelligence officials were complicit in his torture, the main focus of the controversy was the alleged collusion of ministers, rather than precisely what Mr Mohamed was doing in Afghanistan.

Indeed, that is the pertinent question, yet it did not seem to get asked, possibly for fear of offending Muslim activists in Britain itself.  There are two legitimate reasons for westerners to be in Afghanistan at this moment: military and journalism.  Mohamed was and is neither.  So why was he there?  Three guesses and we don’t need the last two, do we?

Ultimately, these fears must be overcome and faced if the country is to carry on as Great Britain.  The only other available option leads inevitably toward what Melanie Philips might call the Londinistanization of the country that was the leading force in western civilization.

Coughlin:

The worldwide campaign against Islamist-inspired militancy is highly complex. But if the West to wants to prevent further terror attacks, we must first distinguish between those who are on our side, and those who are not.

As uncomfortable as it makes some of us, the fact is that there are sides to be chosen and judgments to be made.  It’s imperative that this fundamental fact be acknowledged at all levels of all nations, not specifically as a call to war but rather as the overt realization that this is the way things are.

The Anti-Purpose of Government

Mona Charen, riffing off of Charles Murray, has this to say about the effects of a welfare state on its citizenry:

To become a source of deep satisfaction, a human activity has to meet some stringent requirements. It has to have been important (we don’t get deep satisfaction from trivial things). You have to have put a lot of effort into it (hence the cliché “nothing worth having comes easily”). And you have to have been responsible for the consequences. There aren’t many activities in life that can satisfy those three requirements. Having been a good parent. That qualifies. A good marriage. That qualifies. Having been a good neighbor and good friend to those whose lives intersected with yours. That qualifies. And having been really good at something–good at something that drew the most from your abilities. That qualifies. Let me put it formally: If we ask what are the institutions through which human beings achieve deep satisfactions in life, the answer is that there are just four: family, community, vocation, and faith. Two clarifications: “Community” can embrace people who are scattered geographically. “Vocation” can include avocations or causes. . . . It is not necessary for any individual to make use of all four institutions, nor do I array them in a hierarchy. I merely assert that these four are all there are. The stuff of life–the elemental events surrounding birth, death, raising children, fulfilling one’s personal potential, dealing with adversity, intimate relationships–coping with life as it exists around us in all its richness–occurs within those four institutions. Seen in this light, the goal of social policy is to ensure that those institutions are robust and vital. And that’s what’s wrong with the European model. It doesn’t do that. It enfeebles every single one of them.

This is a profound summary of the problem created by too much government, one that makes no particular ideological claim but simply states the facts of the situation on the ground, where we all have to deal with the fallout of excessive government intervention.  Bravo, Mona, for the excellent writing.

Significantly, Charen closes with a refrain that’s been sounded before, both here and elsewhere, namely that the primary result of European-style socialism has been a self-indulgent, aging society with no particular interest in life – not even that of reproducing itself.  Individuals can defy these continental tendencies, of course, but on the whole, what more can be said about a people whose birth rate is below the replacement level even as their very way of life is threatened by an influx of Muslim immigrants who too often actively work against the core values of their new homeland?

Reading Mona’s article I had a brainstorm of an idea for a new book based on progressive values.  It’s called The Purposeless Un-driven Life.  Wanna buy it?  I didn’t think so.

This is not the kind of change that America needs.  Just the opposite, in fact.

Quote of the Day – re Union Card Check Rules

Teamsters chief Jimmy Hoffa Jr.: 

“Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?”

Uhhm, since forever is my immediate response.  That’s not really true, naturally.  But it has been an essential principle of our country since it became apparent what pressures were always brought to bear whenever the secret ballot was not used.

Salem witch hunts anyone?  That’s essentially what’s happening in Washington with the liberals’ proposed changes to the Card Check rules – the abolition of anyone who doesn’t want increased unionization, by whatever means.

Having worked in a union shop I feel qualified to say that it stunk, from beginning to end and top to bottom.  The last thing this country needs is to return to the days of fetid corruption when Hoffa’s father ran the Teamsters.

h/t Mark Steyn

Thinking Self Destruction, Not Others’

There’s a mistaken idea floating around in some of our heads telling us that suicide is the most tragic end that a person can come to.  While self destruction is a tragedy, there are far worse actions that the depressed, angry, or insane can take, as demonstrated this week in Winnenden, Germany when a former student, preliminarily id’ed as Tim Kretschmer, entered a high school and murdered 10 students and 3 teachers before killing 3 more people while on the run by police before being cornered.

His motives are unknown.

Then, in Samson, Alabama, 28-year-old Michael McClendon went on a similarly pointless rampage in his hometown, killing 10 people and wounding 6 more, including his mother, grandparents, and other family members.

Like the German murderer, McClendon’s motives are unknown and perhaps undefinable.

Frankly, who cares what prompts people like this to act like animals?

At the risk of being cynically nostalgic, what ever happened to the good old days when the deranged simply killed themselves instead of everyone else around them?

Facebook Fumbles by Terminating Pro-Israel User

Robert Spencer reports that Facebook has cut off Todd Snider’s account after his pro-Israel Facebook page was hacked and vandalized by “Lebanese Shee’a Hackers” who left threats against Facebook’s system admins on Snider’s ruined page.

Caving in to people like these is not a good idea.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what Facebook has done.  By cutting Snider off they’ve allowed the radicals to gain another victory.  This may seem like a small thing, but a death by 10,000 cuts is still a death.

Spencer:

Facebook’s outrageous action is not only an assault on free speech and internet freedom and a breach of its own social networking protocols, but also appeasement of a group of hackers who have invaded Facebook’s space and who openly avow their support for the jihad terrorist group Hizballah.

We therefore urge all Facebook members who oppose Islamist terror and internet censorship to contact the site administrators through the Facebook contact form, and all others to join us in protesting against Facebook’s outrageous behavior by writing to abuse@facebook.com.

Not cool.  We should all should tell Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg that his people screwed this one up.

The Virtue of Minding One’s Own Business

Catholic Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho’s excommunication of the mother of a 9-year-old girl who had an abortion after being raped by her step-father has infuriated many people in Brazil and elsewhere.  This is a case when being right in principle results in being wrong in fact.

Sobrinho:

Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent. Taking that life cannot be ignored.

The Catholic Church may not want her or her mother in their membership, but there are plenty of other Christian denominations that would be far less judgmental.

I dare say that the little girl was innocent as well.  The Archbishop should know that two wrongs do not make a right.  Forcing the girl to carry to term would have been a hideous crime in its own right.  This was a no-win situation, in other words, that Sobrinho would have done well to have looked away from.

Courts in this country would be wise to do the same in regard to acts of conscience by people whose professions can put them in situations in which they would have to violate their own personal, religious, or ethical beliefs in order to render service.

The Obama administration has already announced that it will restrict the rights of health care workers to be governed by their consciences by overturning the Bush administration’s “Conscience Rule” that protected  health workers who refuse to take part in abortions or provide other procedures or medicine that goes against their personal beliefs.

Now Catholic florists in Connecticut are worried that the state’s new law allowing gay marriage will force them to provide services for homosexual couples in violation of their personal religious beliefs.

Yes, the Bush Conscience Rule may have been too broad and Connecticut florists might be overly paranoid about future customers’ sexual foibles.  But the bottom line is that the right of people to make their own decisions about what is right and what is wrong is at the heart of what it means to be free.  The government has no business forcing people to undertake actions that they find objectionable.  Rather, the state should simply stay out of matters of conscience and stop attempting to bully everyone into toeing the politically correct line.

I’m sure that gay-friendly florists support that principle for reasons of their own, one of which is their economic prosperity.  Virtue is its own reward, after all.

No Crime in Doing What They Had to Do

John Yoo’s name has become synonymous with what some on the left consider egregious unethical and illegal behavior on the part of the recently departed Bush administration.  Today Yoo fired back, saying that the administration did what it had to do to protect the nation and what happened in Mumbai in November might have happened here if not for vigilant executive action.

Addressing the claim that the Bush administration’s actions violated the 4th Amendment, Yoo wrote:

The military does not have the time to obtain warrants before soldiers fire upon enemy targets and personnel; the battlefield does not provide the luxury to collect evidence needed to meet probable cause standards in civilian courts. Even if the Fourth Amendment applied, we believed that courts would judge military action under a standard of “reasonableness” — as they might review a police officer who fires in self-defense — rather than demand a warrant to use military force to stop a terror attack.

In all probability the Bush administration’s actions violated the intent of the 4th Amendment.  But what of it?  Bush, Yoo, and others did what had to – literally, had to – be done.  Mumbai proves that to all but the densest of souls.

The key takeaway from the Bush years is simply this: No further terrorist actions were taken on American soil during the last 7+ years of his administration.  It’s typical of the opposition, of whatever party, to second-guess any controversial action.  It’s particularly easy to do so in the safety afforded by that action.  It’s also foolish and detrimental to the future security of this and other western countries.

Yoo again:

if the administration chooses to seriously pursue those officials who were charged with preparing for the unthinkable, today’s intelligence and military officials will no doubt hesitate to fully prepare for those contingencies in the future. President Obama has said he wants to “look forward” rather than “backwards.” If so, he should not restore risk aversion as the guiding principle of our counterterrorism strategy.

Again Yoo is dead-on accurate.  If Bush officials are ever charged with any sort of crime, the future aggressiveness of the nation’s security forces will be compromised and public safety will be diminished as a result.

John Yoo and company should get medals for what they did, not be subjected to politically motivated investigations aimed at feeding the Truthers’ cannibalistic appetite for the blood of the Bush administration.

Then, after they’ve been rewarded for keeping the country safe, their work should be undone.