Archived Story

Time to accept culture changes

Published 10:13am Friday, March 29, 2013

This week the U.S. Supreme Court spent two days evaluating the legal standing of marriage and, in particular, marriage of same-sex couples.

Proposition 8 in California prohibited such same-sex marriages, and is now before the court to determine the constitutionality of that decision. But one possible outcome by the court may skirt that broader decision and instead decide the case on the very narrow issue of what is called “standing.”

Standing in this case refers to the plaintiffs in the case and the problem that those plaintiffs cannot establish that they personally have been or will be subject to any adverse outcomes as a result of the case.

Without standing the court simply returns the case to the Ninth Circuit Court where the law was rejected as discriminatory. The outcome would be that same-sex marriages would be legal in California.

The other case involving same- sex marriage status may evoke a broader decision by the court. In that case the court is determining if the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton, is constitutional.

Unfortunately for DOMA supporters a quote from a House Judiciary Report is making the defense more difficult.

The exact wording is: “Congress decided to ‘reflect and honor a collective moral judgment’ and to express ‘moral disapproval of homosexuality.” This blatant claim of the intent to discriminate today draws gasps of inappropriateness from listeners, reflecting a sea of social cultural change in the 17 years since the words were authored and making the intent of the law suspect to the obvious discrimination it presents.

For the most part the definition and legality of marriage has been an issue decided by individual states, but the federal government intruded upon that structure with the enactment of DOMA, which changed the basic rules across the nation for recognizing marriages from any other state. DOMA permitted states to not accept marriages from states that allow same-sex marriages.

In a practical application this makes such relationships complex at best, punitive at worst.

The fundamental problem is a couple legally married in New York state could travel to Texas, where their marriage is not recognized and find their basic rights denied in fundamental ways. If, for example, one partner was hospitalized the other could not make health care decisions or perhaps even be granted visitation rights.

On a national scale the federal government is, at least unintentionally, involved in marriage and, potentially, in discrimination by its qualifying criteria for taxation and Social Security benefits among other ramifications.

But marriage is about a great deal more than contract law, it is about social values and in many cases, religious convictions and teachings long held.

As many recent polls have indicated, popular views regarding same-sex marriage and the general acceptance of homosexuality have shifted significantly in the US over the past decade.

Today, by at least a bare majority, same-sex marriages find public approval, even though several states have voted down those marriages in recent years.

Should the court making a broad and sweeping decision, as it did in Roe V. Wade, some Americans would find themselves in a never-ending opposition to law across the land, not a decision free of longer term implications.

And for those whose convictions stem from a religious perspective such a decision, should same-sex marriages be affirmed, would create a moral conflict of lasting concern where our constitution demands a separation of church and state.

Yet, even given the complexities, can it be right ethically that 29 states permit the firing of individuals solely because of their sexuality? Can it be fair that equality before the law denies benefits based upon a social stigma of sexual preference?

A just society cannot ignore what is a most protected constitutional right, the right to equal protection under the law, regardless of your personal preferences, your skin color, your gender or your sexual relationships.

It is time to change, time to accept our brothers and sisters as they are, time to encourage any committed relationship among loving adults.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

 

  • cactus71

    Crawford, you sir are exactly whats wrong with this country. Just because the majority think its right doesnt mean its right.

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  • mikehaney

    Rep. Ross Spano, who said Planned Parenthood’s policy “makes me sick to my stomach, frankly,” just shook his head. “…[I]f we can’t take a stand to protect the most vulnerable, God forbid who we are and where we’re headed.” Where we’re headed, warns bioethicist Wesley Smith, is a world where “If a baby born during a botched abortion can be killed, why not also an unwanted baby…?”

    Meanwhile, if you’re wondering who could possibly oppose something like born-alive protections, try our current President. In the greatest of ironies, the man known for the largest expansion of health care fought to deny it from tiny children as a member of the Illinois state senate. Barack Obama (who once referred to babies as “punishment”) voted three times against a similar bill to save children who survived abortions.

    “Time to accept culture changes”—-Crawford

    After reading the above, may as well let deviants get married also, and has 51% of US citizens agreeing by vote;and apparently even higher in the “Polls”.

    I’m in the Minority and plan to stay and do not accept,so called, “culture Changes”.

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  • mikehaney

    Crawford–It is time to change, time to accept our brothers and sisters as they are, time to encourage any committed relationship among loving adults.
    ———————————–
    So Crawford wants to change the constitution to allow gays and lesbians to marry each other.

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  • mikehaney

    Crawford–A just society cannot ignore what is a most protected constitutional right, the right to equal protection under the law, regardless of your personal preferences, your skin color, your gender or your sexual relationships.
    ——————————-
    What date was it determined that gay/lesbians had a right to marry under the constitution.

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  • mickakers

    “Time to accept culture changes”, Hmm! Whether it is principled or not? Whether it is good for society or not? Family life, consisting of a man, woman and children is the basic unit of society and must be preserved at all cost. Aberrations to a normal family life, such as same-sex marriages must be avoided at all costs for the stability and betterment of society.

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  • mickakers

    Jim; As an afterthought; I think you article is a bit judgemental and misleading. I do not feel the passage of DOMA or the actions of congress was expressing “a moral disapproval of homosexuality” as such, bus was expressing the opinion that sexual acts or conjugal love between same sex individuals was abnormal and not to be desired when it comes to normal family life between a man, woman and children. Anyone who says otherwise is stretching the fact of the matter for their own sexual self gratification.

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  • mickakers

    Jim; May I offer some thoughts from a Canon Lawyer’s Blog entitled; In The Light Of The Law, By: Dr. Edward Peters. “No matter which way the US Supreme Court rules in the “gay marriage” cases before it the international debate over the definition of marriage will continue because that debate is, at root, about matters beyond a civil court’s competence, things like the nature of human beings and the fundamental good of society. Marriage exists only between one man and one woman. There is no evidence of ecclesiastical authority ever supporting any other definition of marriage. Now, however, a decade further into this debate, the distinction between same-sex, or gay, or homosexual marriage and same-sex, or gay, or homosexual unions is more commonly recognized, with the latter category (unions), insofar as it limits itself to civil consequences for certain living arrangements and does not attempt to redefine marriage itself, being a possibility to be assessed in accord with prudence, while the former category (marriage) is, as a matter of principle, to be universally and indeed vigorously rejected.”

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  • mikehaney

    Federal funding cuts are likely to force West Virginia to start charging for HIV tests. Oh well, mother nature may not be so tolerant.

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  • deist

    Marriage is a secular activity. Please keep God out of it. Do we have to get married in a church or get our license from a preacher??. NO. Two consenting adults who want to get married and have all rights that come with that, is LONG overdue.

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  • mikehaney

    Jim Crawford, do you have your sign while walking your protest outside the Tribune building? One of today’s articles is pushing patronizing our local MOM and POP businesses in Ironton. Doesn’t it disturb you that it doesn’t cover MOM and MOM or POP and POP’s?
    Or maybe you can cover it in your next article.

    (Report comment)

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