As the U.S. Supreme Court justices hear arguments about the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 as it pertains to constitutionality, we need to reflect on what years of repression and oppression have gotten the U.S. It’s in our blood to stand up against our oppressors.
In 1775, we went to war with our oppressors, Great Britain, over unfair taxation — the Stamp Act of 1765. Not only did we win that war, we gained formidable allies against our oppressors and we earned our independence.
In 1861, we had become a divided nation, the South seceding from the North, over the issue of slavery. We went to war against each other over the rights of those who had no voice. After four long years resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, the North won — that which was fair and right in the name of humanity won. Slavery was abolished and the nation worked toward unity.
In 1920, after decades of hard-fought political battles and numerous protests, women were granted the right to vote via the 19th Amendment, as if their votes should ever have been less valuable than those of men.
In 1954, in the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ended segregation in schools. This prompted a national outcry to end discrimination and segregation everywhere. For the next 14 years, minorities and their supporters staged protests across the country, many resulting in violence. It was a hard battle to fight, a lot of hate in this country to overcome. Throughout the period, however, minds and hearts were changing and laws were enacted to protect minorities against discrimination, and segregation was dismantled.
The list goes on and on of the number of wars and battles Americans have fought, often bloody and always emotionally traumatic, but that which was fair and right in the name of equality as written in the constitution eventually became law and was upheld by the highest court. In 2013, it’s hard to imagine that, given America’s track record, any law that oppresses any particular group, denying it equal treatment, would be upheld.
What’s even more difficult to understand, however, is why there is so much outcry over such a small segment of the population asking for equal treatment. The obsession over homosexuality really bears the sentiment of hatred, not protection of what is known to be traditional marriage and family. Maybe that hatred is actually just masking fear, fear of something that so many have been taught is wrong without justification beyond biblical definitions, yet homosexuality carries more weight for being sinful than any other commandments.
Furthermore, heterosexuals have profoundly desecrated the traditional definition of marriage, fidelity and family with affairs, divorce, domestic violence and so forth. Charles Cooper, who represents supporters of Prop. 8’s ban on same-sex marriage, argued at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that marriage was an institution designed to protect responsible procreation between a man and a woman, and same-sex couples cannot procreate and should not be able to get married. If that’s the argument and Prop. 8 is upheld on those grounds, then we must do all we can to protect marriage as a lifelong institution between only those who procreate. Here are some rules to apply for marriage certificates:
We must stop granting divorces.
We must deny marriages to any couple who cannot procreate and perhaps we should invalidate the marriages of those who have not and will not procreate.
If the standard is to protect and preserve marriage for those who can potentially procreate, then we have to make the rules apply to a variety of couples who, statistically speaking, will not or cannot meet certain standards. Let’s face it, there is no “marital” norm in this country, not now and probably not ever. And as Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out, there are 40,000 children in the state of California being raised by same-sex parents who want their parents to have the same rights as everyone else. “The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?” Justice Kennedy asked Cooper.
One can hope that in a few months, if not sooner, this conversation and the millions of dollars spent on “protecting” marriage will all just be a waste of time and money and the justices will rule against DOMA and Prop. 8. If historically we have proven that the rights of the oppressed carry so much weight we are willing to die for them, then surely this issue will not disappear without justice and equality.