Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Legalize It

I've only written about marriage equality a couple of times, but as things have hit a fevered pitch around Trenton, I've been thinking a lot about it. I listened to the testimony given by both sides for hours yesterday. The more I hear, the more I keep going back to my classic conservative roots, which Barry Goldwater explained the best:
The conscience of the Conservative is pricked by anyone who would debase the dignity of the individual human being.
The Conservative movement Goldwater helped start certainly has fallen very far from the tree when it comes to respecting the dignity of the individual human being. I have yet to see an argument from opponents that does not fall into the category of debasing the individuals I know who happen to be gay.

The more these new conservatives use the language of segregation, the stronger a supporter of equality I've become. A good example of what put me over the top was this misleading video from the Family Research Council, claiming equality means people are losing their right to be intolerant. That's simply not true, people will still have the right to be and teach their kids intolerance. It disturbs me that this has been deemed an effective message, but the FRC would not use it if they did not already know they'd make some money off of it.

Then there's the religious argument. I firmly believe in the First Amendment's protections to practice as denominations see fit. Catholics' right to not marry gays is no different than their right not to recognize divorce, even though divorce is legal. It also should in no way impede Episcopalians' right to allow equality. The law specifically protects the rights of each to practice as they see fit. It's a non-argument.

Fifteen years ago, Goldwater had a very quotable comment specifically to this issue:
"The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay," Goldwater asserts. "You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it."
Classic conservatives, including President Reagan understood this when push came to shove. Those that make their profit off of these anti-equality campaigns will continue perverting what true conservatism is as long as there's a buck to be made. Anyone that's claiming to be a conservative by arguing against anything but all men and women being treated equal is anything but a true conservative.

It's time our legislature man and woman up and protect the rights of the individual, and the rights of religious institutions to practice as they see fit.

No comments: