America’s Constitution has withstood the test of time in part because it champions equality and individual liberty over lesser, more popular documents that promote discrimination and oppression. It is difficult to comprehend why any American prefers intolerance and subjugation over equal rights, but there is no accounting for personal choice. There is, however, an accounting when the Constitution is supplanted by the more popular document and especially when equal rights and individual liberty are at stake. In those cases, Americans can be grateful the Constitution always prevails because it is the law of the land.
Yesterday, a federal appeals court ruled that the California voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it unfairly singles out one specific group to deny equal protection under the law. The ruling was a victory for the gay community, but it was a bigger victory for equality and the Founding Fathers’ belief that the Constitution is a higher power than the Christian bible. It is tragic though, that social conservatives do not agree and Republican front-runner for the nomination for president, Willard “Mitt” Romney, vehemently disagrees because for him, like many social conservatives, the bible is the law of the land. Romney said, “Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”
Romney parrots National Organization for Marriage rhetoric included in a marriage pledge he signed, and he misses an important point. The Constitution, regardless of the interpretation, guarantees equal rights to all American citizens and despite Romney’s personal opinion on the definition of marriage, banning same-sex couples from marrying is restricting equal rights. Willard also reveals to voters that for social conservatives, the only important facet of the upcoming election is preserving his fundamentalist values and not upholding the Constitution. More than that, Romney intimates that his goal is to facilitate an incredible effort by social conservatives to hijack the government to legislate Christian fundamentalist agendas; it is a 21st Century crusade to rival the 11th through 13th Century Catholic Church.
The topics that social conservatives like Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are promoting as momentous issues are of little consequence to Americans struggling in a slow economy, but that does not stop the drive to impose fundamentalist’s morality on the nation through laws more in tune with the Ten Commandments than the Constitution. During the first session of the 112th Congress, Republicans assailed women’s and gay rights after promising to make job creation their “highest priority.” Instead, Republicans in the House began what can best be described as an Inquisition to replace Constitutional protections with Bronze Age morality befitting Moses.
There is an ongoing battle between social conservatives and gay rights advocates in Minnesota that typifies the audacity of fundamentalist’s efforts to impose biblical supremacy on the entire country. When gay rights activists insisted that the school district stop gay bullying, a parent’s group in Michele Bachmann’s home district demanded the school district include ex-gay therapy training. The Parents Action League presented a 21-point resolution to the school board demanding ex-gay organizations be allowed to give instruction and training within the district, saying that “the theme of school safety is being used as a pretext for the legitimization of homosexuality.” The school district had a “no homo promo” policy in place that forced teachers to “remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation.” That means teachers who stopped bullies from bullying or beating gays were pushing an immoral agenda on the bullies and were promoting homosexuality. Social conservatives will not accept the notion that all Americans are guaranteed equal rights because it is incomprehensible to them and they cannot accept the Constitution as law of the land.
The ruling affirming the unconstitutionality of Prop 8 was about equal rights and the court reached the only decision possible. The prohibition on homosexuality has as its basis a document that is inherently inferior to the Constitution and the law of the land prevailed. It is despicable, but social conservatives who claim to love the Constitution are waging a war to replace its equal rights protections with oppression and discrimination, and at the forefront are Republicans who are out of touch with mainstream America. The anti-gay movement promised to continue their Crusade to ban same-sex marriage, and they will march on with their bibles in hand, but they will be blocked every step of the way with a vastly superior document that guarantees all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or color, are entitled to equal protections under the law. Yesterday’s ruling was a victory for same-sex marriage, equal rights, and the Constitution.