Homosexual Marriage – Rights (Part 2)
I’ve been having trouble finding good reasons for legalizing homosexual marriage. No one is arguing that it will benefit society, help raise more stable children, lower gas prices, or have any positive effect at all. They are only arguing that it is a fundamental right, and it won’t have an adverse effect. They say that anyone against it is a bigot, trying to force their morals on others. The fact is; all laws stem from morals. Moral judgement is implicit in the act of deciding that something is wrong and should be outlawed. Why is stealing wrong? Why is murder wrong? Why is pedophilia wrong? Why is it against the law? All laws were originally created because someone recognized that it was immoral for someone to be a victim of rape or theft. Stealing is wrong because someone loses their property. Rape is wrong because it violates my right to choose who I have sex with. Those are easy. Homosexual marriage is harder because both sides think their ‘rights’ are being violated.
That is where a lot of ‘civil rights’ become harder to define. Rape, murder, theft, those are all easy because there is an obvious victim involved. Many rights, however, effect other people. So the law simply has to decide whose rights are more important. White people used to think their children had a right to attend a school without black children. Blacks thought their children had a right to attend the same school as everyone else. These ‘rights’ clashed, and so the government had to get involved and say that the rights of blacks to be treated equally superseded the rights of others to not have to be around black people.
Many people feel they have the right to smoke. This is, of course, their choice. However, other people feel they have a right to breath air that doesn’t contain addictive carcinogens. Whose right is more important? The government has to decide. In many cases they have decided that in public places people cannot smoke. They can make the choice to smoke in their own homes and cars, but they cannot smoke where other people have the right to breath clean air.
Another right that often clashes is freedom of speech. Some people feel they have the right to not hear swear words or lewd innuendoes. Other people have the right to say swear words and speak as crassly as they desire. If they happen to be in the same area, those rights clash. ‘Artists’ can produce films, sculptures and paintings more pornographic or violent than I could ever imagine. This is their right. This right clashes when these artists are working on government subsidies, and others don’t want their money spent creating offensive, pornographic art.
There are also cases where people’s rights are just denied. Some people think they should have the right to kill themselves. It is their body; I addressed the ‘self-ownership’ belief in the chapter on abortion. However, the government has decided that there are legal limits on the damage someone can do to their own body. Suicide is illegal. Many forms of drugs are illegal. Drinking is legal, despite the damage it does to the drinker, but drinking and driving is illegal because it puts other people’s lives in danger.
So that is the big problem with homosexual couples wanting to marry. They believe it is their right. Some people think it is not their right. Some people believe that marriage is a civil right, but accept that we have to make sure others rights are not being infringed on by allowing certain people to marry. This is not a new concept. The homosexual lobby wants to put all the focus on it simply being a right to marry. However, many rights are limited or not allowed because they, in turn, infringe on others rights. The questions are whether or not it is a right, and whose rights are more important.
In order to determine that, we need to take a look at what rights are being effected.
A benefit that homosexual couples want from marriage is for both parties to receive work health insurance coverage. This effects everyone receiving work insurance because prices will go up. There would be more people to cover, which increases prices. There is also the fact that people who engage in a homosexual lifestyle are more likely to contract certain diseases, some of which are very costly to treat. This expense will be passed to the companies or the employees. The increase in costs infringes on the people’s right to choose how they spend their own money. This also extends to taxes. When tax breaks formerly reserved for married couples are granted to thousands of additional couples then the government will look for other sources of revenue, which will effect everyone paying taxes.
Other consequences to legalizing homosexual marriage would be the degrading of its purpose. It was established to specifically give married couples recognition and benefits, and not give those same benefits to unmarried couples. There would suddenly be no restrictions on marriage, it would be readily available to any two people who wanted the benefits. Right now the most common benefits to marriage are monetary. Tax breaks, joint insurance, family discounts, etc. Many people have roommates, I did for a while in college. What is to stop two friends from getting ‘married’ in order to claim a tax break? If a marriage license costs $40 and the tax break is $2000, it would seem stupid for two roommates to not take advantage of it. Maybe one friend has really great insurance at his work, but one of his friends can’t get insurance because of a preexisting condition. What is to stop them from getting married and claiming the benefits? They don’t have to combine their bank accounts, they don’t even have to live together. They can just get a marriage license and claim all the benefits afforded to married couples, because suddenly there are no restrictions on who can or can’t get married. This, again, infringes on the rights of those who are effected by rising costs. It would also have a negative effect on the legal system; we can’t predict how many marriages and divorces would result. Many gay couples complain about how degrading it is to not be ‘equal’ to married couples. If merely feeling degraded is a legitimate argument, then I think it would be degrading to be in a formerly respected institution that was turned into simply a way for any two people to claim government benefits.
Apparently, in the short time homosexual marriage was legal in California, it infringed on the rights of a heterosexual couple to be married. They filled out a marriage license application, which had been changed so couples would fill out their names after “Party A” and “Party B”. They designated ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ by their names on the appropriate lines, then sent in the application. Their application was returned, denied, because it did “not comply with California State registration laws.” So, the state would not allow the couple to refer to themselves as the bride and groom on their marriage license application, probably because using the terms ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ discriminates against marrying couples which do not contain a bride and groom. Denying their marriage license was certainly an infringement on their rights.
Colorado has recently revised its Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act to include discriminating based on preference and gender identity. This means that men who claim to feel like women can use women’s restrooms or locker rooms. Not allowing them that right, or trying to make them use the men’s room, is discriminatory and illegal. So, in Colorado many women are experiencing an infringement on their right to privacy, as they have to share a locker room with a possible sex predator. Young girls entering a restroom may find a man urinating in an open stall. This law applies to restrooms in a mall, movie theatre, schools, doctors offices, restaurants, any public area. Business owners who want to keep their restroom patrons separate are subject to jail time and a fine. If a father stands outside a women’s restroom door and tries to stop a man from entering, he is subject to a $5000 fine. Companies ‘must allow each employee to dress according to the gender the employee identifies with, even if the employer has a gender-specific dress code.’ So, if a company requires men to wear suits and women to wear skirts, and one of their male employees feels like a woman, he can wear a skirt. That seems like quite the infringement on an employer’s right to decide how his or her company is run. This doesn’t directly apply to homosexual marriage, but is an example of the effects this continued tolerance will have.
There are many religious organizations which are involved in facilitating adoptions. There has already been a case with Catholic Charities of Boston, which had to shut down after gay marriage was legalized there. The adoption agency needs to be licensed by the state, and in order to receive a license they need to obey laws banning discrimination. They declared they would not adopt to same sex couples (they had placed a few children with same sex couples, but announced they would follow the Vatican’s declaration that such actions went against their church’s teachings), and so they are no longer allowed to operate. They asked for a religious exemption from the law, but it wasn’t granted. This religious charity’s choice to only adopt to heterosexual adults resulted in them having to shut down.
One of the hottest topics concerning the possible results of gay marriage is the effect it will have on the public schools. This effects people deeply because parents love their children so much and have such a strong desire to teach and protect them. So when parents are told they have no say in what their children are being taught, their rights as parents are being very much disregarded.
There have already been cases showing how legalizing homosexual marriage will effect public schools. The most famous case concerns a family in Massachusetts, who requested their Kindergarten son not be taught about homosexual relationships. They sent several letters and had several meetings with school officials; each time they were told that because homosexual marriage was legal it was not a parental notification issue. The administration and teachers simply refused to notify the parents or remove the son from the classroom when the topic came up. The parents continued to request cooperation, eventually they were at a meeting at the school where the father refused to leave until the administration respected their requests, and the father was arrested for trespassing. They are still fighting for their rights as parents. In 2006 U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed the civil rights lawsuit by David and Tonia Parker of Lexington, concluding there is an obligation for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.
Another case happened in California right before the 2008 election. Faith Ringgold School held a “Coming Out Day”, which they specifically chose not to inform parents of. Kindergarten students were given cards to sign, pledging to support the GLBT lobby. The school held several pro-homosexual events, including “Ally Week” where children were taught to be allies to the pro-homosexual cause, and “Gay and Lesbian History Month.”
In Oakland, California, some kindergarten to fifth grade students are being taught that there are more than two genders. Really? No, there aren’t. And I would not want my sons being told they might be little girls, just as I would not want my daughter being told she might be a little boy. If those things come up, eventually, later, I will deal with it. I don’t want those ideas put into their heads when they are too young to understand it.
Teaching these lifestyles to children of all ages is unnecessary and refusing to allow parents to opt their children out is infringing on their rights as parents. Parents do have the right to determine what and when their children are taught, especially when it comes to sexuality.
How about people who just want the freedom to make their own personal choices? In 2008, in the case Vanessa Willock vs Elane Photography, a Christian photographer was sued (and lost) for declining to photograph a wedding between two women. Um, what? Now Lesbian couples have the right to force someone to work for them, because to refuse based on religious convictions is discrimination? How are we as a people free when we have to fear standing up for what we believe in? What sense does that make, anyway? If she wasn’t comfortable working around lesbians, why would they want her photographing the wedding? Wouldn’t they prefer someone else, someone who would be excited about their special day and sure to do a fabulous job? If bigotry is so ridiculous, why not just blow of the stupid photographer and move on to someone less with less medieval views of sexuality. Instead they choose to bring her to financial ruin, for what? Hurting their feelings?
This push to teach homosexuality in the schools and force others to act against their religious beliefs is a blatant infringement on the separation of church and state. The fact is, it goes both ways. Schools can not in any way endorse religious beliefs, the ACLU even going so far as to make it illegal for schools to tell students that evolution is a theory, and that other theories exist. Just as a teacher can not get in front of a classroom and say “There is a God” they also can not get up and say, “There is no God.” Both infringe on the separation between church and state. Health teachers cannot tell students that sex before marriage is wrong, because that has moral implications. They also can not say that sex before marriage is right, good, healthy or normal, because that perspective also has moral implications. If gay marriage is legalized then it is legally condoned. It will have to be taught as normal, right, good and healthy, even though this specifically conflicts with many religions beliefs. Legalizing gay marriage will result in an infringement on the separation between church and state, against the church. America was established to ensure the rights of the people to practice freedom of religion. The implications of breaching those rights our forefathers fought so hard to secure are immense. The possibilities are endless; looking at what has happened so far in California, Massachusetts, and in Colorado we get only a small taste of what would happen were the gay lobby to win and legalize gay marriage.
What rights are being infringed on when homosexuals are not allowed to marry? The ‘right to marry’ is not a fundamental right, mostly because it involves two people. You can claim to have a right to marry, but if no one wants to marry you no one else’s rights can be infringed on to force them to marry you. The ‘right to marry’ is not a right, because it is not something that can be guaranteed to you. The three unalienable rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government exists to protect those rights from being taken away from us, not guaranteeing that we have all three. Of course, the couples lobbying for same-sex marriage have each other, and do want to be married. But because marriage is not a fundamental, government protected right, they can not make a claim to it. Historically, marriage has always been a religious institution.
“Somewhere in the annals of time, there came a point when someone said, we need a way to legitimize this occupation, or qualify this agreement, etc. etc. and there’s nothing like a marriage (which is supposed to represent a commitment of love and unity) to do that.
In modern US history, a marriage was a convenient marker. Governments need to group people for census purposes or taxing purposes. So they group by state, county, town, village… and then by family. But in order to recognize that group as a family, they needed an official marker.
So they said, “Why don’t we make marriage a legal institution?”
And they did.
It spiraled down from there. See, once there was a legal qualifier for it, other people wanted to use the same qualifier because it made it easier to wrap into nice packages. That’s how we end up with automatic hospital visitation rights and insurance benefits simply because we paid the $50 and signed the piece of paper that said that according to the state, we were married.”
The government took it upon themselves to define marriage, set requirements for it, allot special privileges, and secularize it. This was done for convenience, and is a reasonable succession if events. But marriage existed before the government got involved, and so the government can not simply change what marriage is. Because of this fact, couples cannot claim marriage as a right the government is obligated to provide.
In the last several decades less emphasis is being placed on the role religion has always played in marriage. In 1950 it was not socially acceptable to live with someone before you were married, nor was it socially acceptable for people to have children outside of marriage. Marriage marked a much more significant commitment than it does now. Divorce rates were significantly lower fifty years ago. Now it is quite common for people to live together for years, sometimes couples eventually get married. Adultery, cohabitation, illegitimate children are all very prevalent, and people commonly think that sex and parenting have little to do with marriage. So when gays say they want the right to marry they are not asking for the right to live together, raise children together or have a life together. It is quite common today to have all those things without marriage. What they want are the legal benefits and recognition that come with marriage.
What, exactly, are they missing out on? Some states in America have domestic partnerships and and civil unions available for gay couples, which provide some of the same rights. Probably one of the biggest differences is that marriage is so universally recognized. When I married my husband in Maryland, we were still married when we went to Mexico for our honeymoon, we were still married when we lived in Utah and we will be married wherever we settle permanently. Domestic partnerships and Civil Unions are recognized in the states they are issued, but may not be recognized in other countries and states, especially states that don’t issue those standings. It is harder to dissolve, or ‘get a divorce’, with a Civil Union. Immigrants who enter into a Civil Union with an American Citizen can not be sponsored for citizenship the way married couples can. They do not receive all the same tax benefits, especially at a federal level. There are many other benefits marriage offers; automatic spousal benefits like veterans benefits, inheritance laws, sick leave for a spouse, insurance coverage, family discounts and making medical decisions for an incapable spouse. Some of these benefits can be obtained by giving a partner power of attorney, but this is much more costly and time consuming than getting a marriage license. It probably costs less than many weddings, but that isn’t the point.
They feel like they have a right to these benefits, because they love and are committed to their partner, and because they feel discriminated against when they can’t obtain the same privileges given to married people. Legally the question is whether or not their rights are being infringed on more than the rights of others in society. Is giving them all the same benefits and recognition worth the increased costs; the monetary loss to businesses and insurance companies, the lawsuits to people who would like to choose not to provide benefits to homosexual couples, the loss of parental control over teaching their children sexual values? Whose rights are being infringed on more?
I would decide against homosexual couples on multiple levels. Marriage transcends government regulations, the fact that the government controls handing out marriage licenses does not give them the authority to redefine marriage. More importantly, I think parental and religious rights are much more important than homosexual rights. Giving monetary benefits and ‘equal standing’ to gay couples pales in comparison to taking away the parent’s right to choose the morals they want to teach their child and individuals rights to practice their religion. All parents should be able to choose the values they teach their children. If they want to teach their children that being homosexual is acceptable, that is their right. If they want to wait until they are a teenager to teach them about homosexuality, and then tell them that being homosexual is sinful, that is their right. Legalizing homosexual marriage will result in all public arenas, especially schools, openly contradicting those teachings and thrusting them upon children before they are old enough to discern between their parents beliefs and what society accepts. The rights of the parents transcend all other arguments. Teaching the homosexual lifestyle as acceptable in schools is an infringement on the separation between church and state. These rights, the rights of a parent and the right to freedom of religion, are rights that should never be infringed on.
Posted on June 20, 2011, in Homosexual Marriage and tagged constitution, constitutional rights, discrimination, equality, gay marriage, gay rights, homosexual marriage, homosexual rights, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, natural rights, same sex marriage, ssm, why I'm Conservative. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.