Wednesday, April 17, 2013

it's not very often that we live history like we are right now

this blog post has been sitting in my draft folder for a few weeks now, and i've been conflicted if i should post it. i'm going to go ahead and post it - because i think it's important enough to share.

if there are a lot of comments saying my readers hate it, and it's off topic, i'll remove it. thanks for reading....

For this blog post, I am putting my normal writing style and "branding" on the shelf - so that anyone who reads this won't "struggle" with the style I write in.

Additionally, I'm hoping this will be the only political statement that I make on this blog, but I feel it is important and to communicate my view of these historic days.

So here goes...

This week, so far we have seen the Supreme Court of the United States hear arguments for cases dealing with Prop 8 and DOMA. Both of these cases are deeply rooted in the gay civil right movement. As of today, March 27th, 2013; we basically know how the justices feel about DOMA, but the jury is out on Prop 8 - pun intended.

A few things, other than the media circus surrounding the coverage of the cases, bother me. Let me say this, as a democrat, and gay man, I was raised to believe that you respect the Office of the President, The President, and the Supreme Court - without question. Congress on the other hand is a bunch of freaking idiots and you can say what you want about them, but you don't speak poorly about a current president or a seated justice.

So Mom, if you read this blog, close it now...

Justice Alito said in Monday's hearing that "Same-sex marriage is very new....you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?" Um, what? Same-sex marriage is newer than the internet and cellphones? Had he said the iphone, I might believe him.

Before we do the math to calculate the age of technology... Let's draw some correlations between this nation's civil rights movements.

  • 1950's Color TV was invented
  • 1955 was the year the Rosa Parks would not go to the back of the bus. One of the milestones that sparked the civil rights movement
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. gave one of this country's most powerful speeches on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963
  • Loving vs. Virginia, the Supreme Court case legalizing interracial marriage was heard in 1967 by the supreme court
The Justices didn't ask those individuals if they should render a decision on a topic younger than color TV... Of course though this is by no means the full extent of the civil rights movement, some would argue that it started in 1861, the beginning of the civil war - or even earlier; but for the sake of argument lets say the era of civil rights is from 1955 - 1967, 12 years; not that the struggle for equality is over at all.
  • The Stonewall Riots took place in 1969
  • Baker vs. Nelson, 1971. Gay marriage case heard in Minnesota
  • Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978 (granted not because he was gay)
  • DOMA was passed in 1996
  • 2008 Prop-8, which revered Californian's same-sex couples to marry was voted on
  • 2013, Supreme Court entertains arguments on Prop 8 and DOMA
Given that timeline, the same-sex marriage and gay civil rights movement has been going on for 44 years - 1969 until 2013. Or to try to compare apples to apples, from DOMA until today is 17 years.

Now this part is going to seem unrelated, but stay with me. It will all make sense. The Internet's first use of email was in 1976. The Internet as we know it today was established in 1993. Prior to that there are internet like structures dating back to as early as the late 60's.

1G cellphone technology was available in America as early as 1978, 2G cellular networks came onto the scene in 1991. So depending what you define as the beginning, the Internet is as young as 20 years or as old as 37 and cellphones are similarly aged - 22 years young or 35 years old.

Now, getting back to Justice Alito's comments. Obviously, this man doesn't know Al Gore, "creator of the internet", or how to do math and use Google. DOMA was passed in 1996 - a federal law defining marriage as 1 man one 1 woman. The first case challenging traditional marriage was in 1971. Which makes it [the idea of same-sex marriage] older than first use of email, and 1G cellphone technology. The idea of same-sex marriage is not new, especially when Justice Ginsburg references 1971's Baker vs. Nelson.

Now, there is no question that this a polarizing topic. I don't envy the Justices at all in having to decide the merits of these cases and if they should proceed or not. But what bothers me the most about this, is that there seems to be grumbling that SCOTUS should not be hearing the Prop-8 case, because marriage is a state issue not a federal one. Sure I can see that, and I can almost agree with that, but unfortunately, the Supreme Court has something with this case that I would assume they try to avoid - and that's precedence.

SCOTUS heard and ruled on Loving vs. Virginia in 1967, the case making interracial marriage legal. Thereby, imposing its federal authority over marriage, a state issue, and altered the definition of marriage from 1 man and 1 woman of the same race to 1 man and 1 woman. If the Supreme Court decides that Prop 8 is a state issue, and that imposing its federal authority over a state issue is not within it's powers, sending it back to the state - the supreme court allows the  unconstitutional decision to stand. By doing so there is a possibility that the world is about to get hugely complicated and even uglier.

Why you ask?

I am not saying that the gay struggle for rights is more important than those of African-Americans. The two are related and similarities can be drawn between the two. Both classes are discriminated on biological factors  - but in most cases gay people have been able to blend in to society easier than African-Americans.

The Federal Government has been banning it for 17 years - five years longer than the 12 years of history spanning Rosa Park's refusal to ride in the back of the bus to Love vs. Virginia. Justice Alito needs a fact-checking assistant, or an iPad so that he can Google things.

Well I come from a backwards family - and when I say backwards I mean, I have family members who didn't vote for Obama -- not because they are dyed in the bible leather Republicans, but because they were told by their pastor that Michelle Obama would paint the White House the pattern of "kente cloth" -- clearly, separation doesn't apply in their church.  That said, I know backwards mentality, and bigotry. So I promise you this, there will be a subsection of the current population of people who are obsessed with outlawing same-sex marriage - but not concerned about the 50% divorce rate of opposite-sex marriage - that will look at Loving vs. Virginia and say to SCOTUS that you don't have the authority to impose federal authority over marriage now, you shouldn't have done it then and file for the reversal of Loving vs. Virginia.

Frankly, as a Washingtonian, living downtown during the annual Roe v. Wade march, these people don't understand the METRO mantra of "Walk left, Stand Right"... I can't even begin to imagine the crazy that will come out to overturn Loving vs. Virginia...

I hope I didn't offend you too much. We'll all know something in the coming months as decisions are rendered.

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