"The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of
tolerance comes when we are in the majority." Ralph W. Sockman (1889 -
1970), pastor Christ Methodist Church
As with most things, its taken me a little while to form an opinion about the
recent state Supreme Court's decision regarding Washington State's Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA). My stance on government and marriage is actually quite
libertarian--I do not believe that the government should be in the marriage
business in the first place. However, the government does provide certain
protections and rights to man/woman couples who wish to express their commitment
to one another in the form of marriage. Not allowing couples of the same sex to
enter into the same contract is clearly discrimination.
So, for a little history, Washington state's DOMA was voted into law quite easily in 1998. Then governor Gary Locke vetoed the bill which was then overridden by the people. Clearly, Washingtonians reacted strongly to this issue. Still, two previous appellate courts found DOMA to be unconstitutional. I feel that the Supreme court did not weight these decisions heavily enough, and even went so far as to create their own justification (namely, that marriage is about procreation which is in Washington's interest).
If the voting public would recognize the fact that marriage, as defined by law, is a civil act and is doing anything but encroaching on their sacred religion, we might have a foothold. However, these are the same people who pray for George W. Bush nightly (not that a few prayers couldn't hurt), but my point is, these are the people for whom God and country are nearly the same entity. They use their horribly skewed moral system to justify their bigotry. We gays are modern martyrs--if the judicial system were to ask who should be spared crucifixion, homosexuals or murderers, the Christians (especially the ones who slant toward evangelical) would most definitely be yelling for the murderers.
Last Wednesday's ruling came as no surprise to me. In fact, the type of political posturing that can be read in the plurality's decision not only kowtows to the fear-tactics of conservatives who quickly yell, "ACTIVIST JUDGE," but also contains the type of smarmy wording which only appears in election years. Even with their bigoted views, they still manage to play to center in the form of calling for legislative change. Its pretty gross.
Thank God for the dissent's argurments and the fact that this decision was a 5-4 split. When this decision is revisited a generation or so from now, the error of the plurality's ways should be abundantly clear. Until then, I guess we have the legislative fight before us.
Of the three judges up for re-election, only one, Gerry Alexander, voted with the majority (to uphold DOMA). Gerry's opponent for Supreme Court position 8 is John Groen. I have no idea how Mr. Groen feels about DOMA, but I have written to him and will let you know what type of response I receive.
If you would like further information regarding the court's decision, please check out The Stranger's coverage.
So, this whole political spiel has gotten me a tiny bit motivated. I had written to 15-or-so bloggers, none of whom have responded, about an idea I had.
Basically, I wanted to hit up bars in the ghaytto with voter's registration packets and get the word out. I'm certain that a lot of younger gay guys in Seattle don't vote which is a shame. I thought it would be fun if a group of bloggers hit the town on a Friday or Saturday and just tried to register a hundred or so voters. For Washington state, make sure they know about absentee voting.
And possibly, as a follow up, go out on Election Day (November 7th) and physically drive people to the polls.
It would give us bloggers a chance to meet one another in real life (and share pics and stories with bloggers who did similar things around the country) and, most importantly, it might kill some of this apathy surrounding voting in our community. (Or demystify the process of voting.) (Or inform people about the issues.)
I'm not sure when I'm going to attempt this--possibly the final weekend in August.
Let me know what you think. If you think I'm an idiot, let me know that, too. (By the chirping of virtual crickets on my side, you all already think I'm idiot, or I somehow became a pariah.)
Oh, and P.S.--I got ordained last Thursday. I figured, if I don't have the right to marry, I should at least have the right to marry--you follow? So you can start referring to me as Reverend Jeremy, if you wish.