Marriage’s open frontiers in America

A few days ago, I commented about a profound problem with the Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA:  before DOMA, we had a societal consensus that marriage was between one man and one woman.  During DOMA, we had a law that said marriage was between one man and one woman, even as the societal consensus broke down.  Post-DOMA, we have nothing.  There are no boundaries, and there is nothing to stop a “loving” marriage based upon bestiality, incest, pedophilia, polyamory, etc.  The boundaries are gone.

In addition, the demands on government will change substantially with this “new frontier” approach to marriage.  A friend of mine who knows all things military sent me this email:

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how recent Supreme Court decisions have rendered marriage and family meaningless. For instance, if I were a young private or PFC in the military I would find another guy to get married to (contract marriages between service members are nothing new. It’s a great way for two otherwise unattached people to get free money for being married). Getting married is often the best way for service members to get themselves out of crappy barracks life so I could marry a male service member from another unit and move into my new house. We would not even have to be gay to do it. Then we could run around with as many women as we wanted and essentially be room mates and get paid a basic housing allowance (x2) for being married. If I were caught in some kind of adultery situation (hard to prove usually) I would simply state that I and my life partner are straight and though we are married we do not sleep together. Further, who is to judge how we choose to run our family/household? Anything goes according to the Supreme Court and if two gay men can get married why can’t two straight ones?

So that’s two of us figuring out that Anthony Kennedy’s decision creates tremendous societal problems.  Can we add three of us or four of us?  Yes, we can!

I don’t want to tread upon copyrights, so let me just direct you to Michael Ramirez’s post-DOMA cartoon and Terminal Lance’s post-DOMA cartoon (warning:  ever so slightly risque).  They both make the point perfectly, one with regard to society at large and the other with special focus on the military.

Andrew Klavan is right that we need to view this as a Democrat “squirrel” moment, one in which the Democrat powers that be distract their sometimes mindless constituents from more important issues such as the economy, or the fact that Syria is imploding, Egypt is on the verge of imploding, and Turkey is working towards imploding.  However, we cannot ignore the legal ramifications flowing from the Supreme Court’s rulings, because these ramifications can become very expensive very quickly.

If nothing else, the end of DOMA is one more reason that the tax code and IRS should be done away with and a flat tax instituted.  After all, the current tax code gives married couples distinct benefits, with an eye to advancing a stable, two-parent family.  Since that’s now out the window, we better revisit where all those tax benefits are flowing.

California Progressives commit one of the best inadvertent puns I’ve ever seen

The one thing you can count on with Progressives is that anything that happens in Washington, D.C. — any legislation, any election, and any legal decision — is a reason to go out and beg for money.  Within hours of the Supreme Court decision that effectively strikes down Prop. 8, making gay marriage legal in California, a group called “Courage Campaign” sent out an email begging for money and, in the process, created one of the funniest inadvertent puns I’ve seen in a long time:

VICTORY! Now let's leave no gay behind

If you haven’t caught what makes it so funny, here’s a hint: read the very first line aloud:

VICTORY! Now let's leave no gay behind2

Hat tip: Sadie

Gay Marriage Open Thread

I really don’t have much to say about the DOMA decision.  I think it’s another Roe v. Wade in terms of creating rights that never existed.  The difference, though, is that the Supreme Court waited to make the decision until the tide had turned at the popular support level, with more and more Americans supporting gay marriage.

As for the Prop. 8 decision, I agree with a Facebook friend of mine who wrote:  “SCOTUS has made its ruling on Prop 8 today. No matter which side of the issue one comes down on, it should be frightening to all of us that an Attorney General of ANY STATE can simply choose not to defend ANY LAW and *POOF* the law will be overturned.”  There lies the way to tyranny, when the people no longer have standing on their own behalf.

Lastly, Kennedy has altogether too much power.  I never get the feeling that the guy has any fixed legal or constitutional principles.  At least the guys (and gals) on the Left are Lefties and the guys on the right are Righties (except for Chief Justice Roberts, who I think was blackmailed on ObamaCare).  Kennedy is a “whatever.”  When I was in law school, there was a saying that “the law is what the judge had for breakfast.”  With Kennedy, it’s also what he had for lunch, dinner, and his little midnight snack.

Please chime in here with your feelings on the subject.

 

The fundamental unconstitutionalism of Obama’s presidency

Much has been made of Obama’s statement that the gun rights crowd should stop worrying, because Obama contends that he is “constrained” by the system the Founders put in place.  If you don’t read his actual words with great care, it sounds as if he’s saying he’s contractually constrained — or, to put it in political language, he’s constitutionally constrained.  Without actually listening to him, we assume he’s saying, “Stop worrying, because even I understand that the Constitution stops me from grabbing your guns.”

The reason that there’s been such an uproar, though, is because that’s not what he’s saying.  Here’s the entire statement:

You hear some of these quotes, ‘I need a gun to protect myself from the government.’ ‘We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.’  Well, the government is us. These officials are elected by you. They are elected by you. I am elected by you. I am constrained, as they are constrained, by a system that our Founders put in place. It’s a government of and by and for the people.

That short paragraph breaks down into three distinct thoughts:

Thought one:  Crazy gun rights nuts fear the government.

Thought two:  People elect their government.

Thought three:  Those who are elected “are constrained by a system that our Founders put into place.”

Obama’s nasty language (and it is nasty, to the extent it calls at least 50% of Americans paranoid and ill-informed) says two things that are wrong.

The first wrong thing Obama’s implication, in thoughts two and three, that politicians are charged with taking care of our Constitutional rights.  That’s bass ackwards.  We are charged with taking care of our Constitutional rights — they’re natural rights, inherent in us, and the Second Amendment exists to make sure that if too many elected officials forget that those are natural rights, and begin to think they’re merely legislative rules that legislators can change, we can rid our country of these politicians’ tyranny.

The second wrong thing, which is more subtle, is that Obama is implying in thoughts two and three that, if a sufficient number of Americans elect anti-gun politicians, that majority overrides the constitution.  What he says in those last five sentences (“the government is us,” “you elect yourselves,” “the election is for you”) is that, if a majority of people elect politicians who support an unconstitutional idea, those politicians get to move forward enacting that idea irrespective of the Constitution.  That is a staggering misreading of the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address.

All of which gets me back to gay marriage and abortion, not because I’m specifically concerned with gay marriage and abortion, but because I’m concerned about the Constitutional implications when the Left takes on gay marriage and abortion.  First, neither is in the Constitution.  In 1973, Supreme Court justices used an emanation of a penumbra based upon an inference to find a “constitutional right to abortion” in the first trimester, with that individual woman’s right decreasing steadily until the third trimester, when the viable fetus became the state’s responsibility.

Since 1973, that trimester by trimester calculation has been abandoned so completely that a Planned Parenthood representative felt comfortable telling the Florida legislature that it was okay to “continue” an abortion if the baby manages to emerge alive.  In some places, that’s called murder.  Indeed, that’s why Kermit Gosnell is being tried for murder.  In Planned Parenthood’s world, however, his work was constitutionally legitimate.

As for gay marriage, it’s being cast as an inchoate civil right because no one can contend the Founders thought about it.  They certainly knew about abortion, although they made no mention of it, but they definitely didn’t consider the possibility of gay marriage.

In the Founders’ time, marriage was thought to be only one possible thing:  the joining of man and woman.  If the Constitution had made mention of it (which it didn’t), that it is what it would have meant.  The Left, though, is now recasting marriage as the uniting of two people who love each other.  The Founders would have been surprised.  In those days, after all, marriage was still very much a business proposition, one that gave a woman children and the assurance of care for those children, and one that gave a man the right to his wife’s financial estate, and the promise of progeny to inherit that combined estate.  If a marriage included love, such as John and Abigail Adams had, or George and Martha Washington enjoyed, that was a pleasant byproduct of a sexual and economic transaction sanctified by religion and sanctioned by the state.

The Obama administration has already used ObamaCare as a bludgeon by which to force conservative religious organizations to sponsor abortion. Before, those organizations preached against it; now, they’re being forced to pay for it.

What happened with abortion matters because the same thing is happening with gay marriage.  During the gay marriage debate’s first iteration, when California’s Prop. 8 was on the ballot, and before ObamaCare, we were promised that there was no way that the State could force religious institutions to perform gay marriages.  “After all,” said Prop. 8 opponents airily, “the state doesn’t force churches to perform abortions.”  Well, in Obama world — secure in his sufficient majority — the State does force churches to perform abortions.

The same will be true with gay marriage.  People dismiss the fact that religious institutions in other countries have been forced to perform gay marriages, or been punished for not performing gay marriages. Those countries, they say, don’t have a constitution.  We know, though, that this constitutional argument is meaningless in Obama’s America.  Last year, his administration made clear that it is unconstrained by Constitutional concerns.  And last week, Obama explained why:  if he feels he has the power, that power overrides the constitution.

At least now we know where we stand.

The question is whether, by 2014, we can convince a majority of American voters that their constitutional rights are at risk and that, even if they agree with the Obama plans so far (abortion, gay marriage, gun control), they may not like the next plans he has lined up down the road.  If I were Obama, I’d go after the 4th and 5th Amendments next.  After getting Americans to understand this comes the harder task:  keeping their focus all the way through 2016.

The problem when it comes to educating Americans is that these ideas are so horribly complex.  They don’t reduce to a poster.  It’s not going to resonate with most Americans to see a poster of a sad priest being forced to perform a gay marriage ceremony.  They’ll probably just say that the priest deserves to suffer because his organization once turned a blind eye to pedophiles.  (Under that standard, of course, the University of Pennsylvania should be razed and the earth sown with salt.)

When the liberals in my world catch hold of the fact that I don’t support gay marriage, they attack me as a homophobe.  I’m really not.  What I am is someone deeply concerned by the Constitutional implications of a mad rush to create implicit constitutional rights where none existed before, and then to use those inferred rights to destroy explicit ones.  They should be just as concerned.  If they want gay marriage as a Constitutional right, they should amend the Constitution, rather than trying to destroy it.  For all they know, they may be the next in line when the Obama state turns its destructive beam on yet another constitutional right.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Charles Krauthammer has been reading Bookworm Room about gay marriage

That post title is, of course, a wild leap of faith.  But there’s no doubt but that Dr. Krauthammer has come to exactly the same conclusion I’ve been trumpeting forever at this blog:  making gay marriage a civil right protected by the Constitution will cause a headlong crash into the First Amendment’s promise that government will leave religious doctrine and practice alone.

I’m going to quote myself from March 2009, long before gay marriage got to the Supreme Court:

As you know, one of my main reasons for supporting Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, was because I believe that move to redefine marriage has the potential to put the State and religion organizations — especially the Catholic church — into a head-on collision.

Liberals, when confronted with this notion, will often argue that, while the Catholic Church objects to abortion, that’s never created a constitutional crisis.  What they ignore is the fact that, while the church is not in the business of providing abortions, it is in the business of providing marriages.  It also ignores the fact that abortion is a legal right, not a constitutional one, while gay marriage proponents have been framing it in the opposite way:  they say gay marriage as a constitutional, rather than a mere legal right.

Keep in mind that, for Catholics, marriage isn’t just a white dress, cake and Mendelssohn’s wedding march.  Instead, it’s a sacrament.  A basic tenet of the religion is the joining of man and woman before God.

So imagine this scenario:  Two men go to the local Catholic parish and demand that it marry them.  The priest, sympathetic to their love for each other, nevertheless states that he cannot, at a purely religious level marry them.  The men turn around and sue the Church for violating their Constitutional rights.  Suddenly, the judicial system is called upon to examine doctrinal issues to determine whether they mesh with Constitutional issues.  It’s a scary scenario for anyone who takes seriously the principle that government may not interfere with religious doctrine.

The only thing that’s changed now is that, thanks to ObamaCare, which requires that Catholic institutions pay for birth control and abortifacients, the Obama administration has already managed to create a Constitutional crisis with regard to abortion.  I hadn’t seen that one coming back in 2009.

Mark Steyn may have written his best column ever — this one about fairness and gay marriage

I know I’ve said before that this or that column is Mark Steyn’s best column ever, but this time, I think he’s really done it — the best column ever.  Why?  Because he’s perfectly managed to reveal the faulty reasoning behind a couple of liberal arguments.  What he does is point out that liberals engage in faulty reasoning when they play everything off the backdrop of America’s Jim Crow laws — laws that were aberrant and out-of-step with the entirety of human history:

If the Right’s case has been disfigured by delusion, the Left’s has been marked by a pitiful parochialism. At the Supreme Court this week, Ted Olson, the former solicitor general, was one of many to invoke comparisons with Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that struck down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. But such laws were never more than a localized American perversion of marriage. In almost all other common-law jurisdictions, from the British West Indies to Australia, there was no such prohibition. Indeed, under the Raj, it’s estimated that one in three British men in the Indian subcontinent took a local wife. “Miscegenation” is a 19th-century American neologism. When the Supreme Court struck down laws on interracial marriage, it was not embarking on a wild unprecedented experiment but merely restoring the United States to the community of civilized nations within its own legal tradition.

[snip]

Yet, beyond the Court, liberal appeals to “fairness” are always the easiest to make. Because, for too much of its history, this country was disfigured by halfwit rules about who can sit where on public transportation and at lunch counters, the default position of most Americans today is that everyone should have the right to sit anywhere: If a man self-identifies as a woman and wants to sit on the ladies’ toilet, where’s the harm? If a woman wants to be a soldier and sit in a foxhole in the Hindu Kush, sure, let her. If a mediocre high-school student wants to sit in a college class, that’s only fair. American “rights” have taken on the same vapid character as grade-school sports: Everyone must be allowed to participate, and everyone is entitled to the same participation ribbon.

In just two pithy paragraphs, Steyn has clearly revealed the fallacies underlying the relentless Progressive demand that we have a “fair” society.  These demands are at odds with tried-and-true, universal principles such as “equal protection under the law,” justice, and biological reality.

Again, I’ll say that this does not mean that the various states, in order to further socioeconomic goals, should not extend to two-party gay partnerships the same benefits and burdens it confers on two-party straight partnerships.  Those are legitimate state goals.  What is not legitimate is to pervert human history and to deny reality.

In France, anti-gay marriage voices emerge — from gays

Yesterday, I posted about the differences between gay sex (which is none of my business, so you can do what you like) and gay marriage (which is a significant state institution that cannot be treated in a libertarian way).  I was not arguing against gay marriage, per se, although I do have different ideas than most about ways in which committed same-sex partners can confirm their status so as to ensure equal treatment under the law.

Out of France, though, comes a group that is strongly opposed to gay marriage.  That’s a dog bites man sentence.  What makes it a man bites dog story is the fact that this group is made up of gays, who believe that gay marriage is wrong, that it is at odds with gay culture, and that it is inconsistent with the core nature of marriage:

If you read French, you can learn more about this group here. And then, because I don’t read French, feel free to come back to this post and tell us what they say.

Found it on Facebook: gay marriage is not a libertarian value

One of my Facebook friends posted the following:

Almost libertarian

The libertarian in me agrees with a lot of the post.  I’d like government to stop playing nanny to people.  It would make for smaller, cheaper, and less intrusive government, not to mention more individual freedom and personal responsibility.

But, as the Sesame Street song used to say, one of these things is not like the other one:  gay marriage.

I’m not arguing against gay marriage in this post.  I just want to point out that it doesn’t belong in list of “rights” on the poster, because it’s not a personal behavior.  To be equivalent to the other points on the list, the first question should read as follows: “Don’t like homosexual sex?  Don’t engage in it.”

The fact is that marriage is not a private act or behavior, it’s a public one and one, moreover, in which the state has a significant interest.  Stable marriages are good for a state and the children of those stable marriages are a necessity for a country’s future.  Analogizing gay marriage to other individual acts that can be done in the privacy of ones own home or on ones own property or in a private club is a false equivalence.

Having said that, if the state feels that gay marriage is a virtue that will benefit society, the state can then advance gay marriage.  (Or, if it takes my advice, get out of the marriage business, leaving marriage to religious institutions, and legislating civil unions that provide the greatest benefit for the state.)  Just don’t pretend that gay sex and gay marriage are the same thing, because they’re not.

Incidentally, if that was my poster, I would have added one more thing:  “Don’t like guns?  Don’t own one.”

Sheldon Adelson: Put aside social conservativism to reclaim America

I promise that this post will be about what Sheldon Adelson had to say in an interview with Alana Goodman of Commentary Magazine.  Before I get there, though, I need to begin with a little story of my own.

Readers of my newsletter know that I had lunch last week with seven other conservative women here in Marin.  We had all found each other more or less by accident, not because any of us in Marin have proudly worn our conservativism in the open (our kids would be ostracized if we did), but because we listened for the little clues in their words that hinted at a conservative orientation.  We then risked exposing ourselves by asking, “Uh, are you by any chance  . . . um, you know, conserva-mumble, mumble, mumble?”

That shyness, of course, was before the last election.  Since the 2012 election, we’ve all made a vow to each other to be more open about our political identity and to challenge liberals who lead with unfounded conclusions that demonize conservatives and their beliefs or that confer saintly virtues on Obama and his cadre.

Interestingly, the eight of us were a microcosm of conservative views, ranging from fiscally conservative but socially liberal conservatives all the way to both fiscally and socially conservatives.  Our common denominator, of course, was fiscal conservativism. Dig deeper, and there were two other common denominators:  an abiding belief in the Constitution’s continued relevance to modern America and a fierce devotion to individual liberty.

Where we differed was (a) gay marriage and (b) abortion.  With regard to abortion, we did have one overarching point of agreement, which was that abortion is not a federal issue and should therefore be returned to the states.  When it came to gay marriage, all of us were willing to recognize gay unions, but we differed about whether the answer is to declare gay marriage the law of the land or, instead, to preserve marriage for religious institutions, while making civil unions across the board (both straight and gay) the law of the land.  As regular readers know, I hew to the second view, which acknowledges human relationships and state goals, without interfering in any way with religious freedom.

I walked away from the lunch realizing as clearly as I ever have that the strong fiber weaving us together is fiscal conservativism and individual liberty.  The frayed strands at the edges are what are commonly called “social issues.”

The Democrats, recognizing that the quickest way to shred a piece of fabric is to tear at the frayed edges, rather than to try to destroy the sturdy center, worked hard during the election to blow the gay-marriage and abortion dog whistles.  As the race in Missouri showed, social conservativism is a political landmine that routinely explodes in the face of struggling Republican candidates.  Todd Akin could have won that race if he hadn’t been asked about abortion.  When thinking about Akin’s repulsive and misinformed answer, which provided a solid Progressive rallying cry, don’t forget Richard Mourdock. His experience proves that, even if Akin had given a principled pro-Life answer, he still would have been pilloried and destroyed.

I’m a big believer that, when it comes to social issues, culture drives politics, rather than politics driving culture.  For the past forty years, social liberals have been planted very firmly in the driver’s seat.  They have infiltrated both media and education, which has given them the chance to shape a generation’s social views.  They have sensitized this generation’s ears so that the dog whistles most people under 55 hear the loudest aren’t “debt” or “fiscal cliff” or “responsibility,” but are, instead, “women haters,” “homophobes” and “racists.”

What this cultural transformation means is that, in the short term, conservatives can win on the fiscal side (and, possibly, on the individual liberties side) because people haven’t been deafened by decades of dog whistles on those subjects.  Until we take back the culture, though, which we do exactly the same way the Left did — namely, a slow march through the culture — we will invariably lose on social issues.  Significantly as the most recent election shows, losing on social issues inevitably means losing on all issues.

Now, finally, have established my premise about the way in which social issues invariably play against conservatives in national elections, I can get to Sheldon Adelson’s interview in Commentary Magazine.  For purposes of this essay, Sheldon Adelson is important for three reasons.  First, he is a conservative who is willing to put his money where his mouth is (unlike Warren Buffet, a true-to-form liberal who wants to put other people’s money where his mouth is).  The second reason Adelson is important is that, after his emergence as a money-player in this election, the Left has worked as hard to demonize him as they did to demonize the Koch Brothers and Mitt Romney.  And the third reason is that Sheldon Adelson agrees with me that conservatives cannot win on social issues:

For someone whose name and face were a regular staple of the election coverage, the public does have many misconceptions about Adelson. His liberal social views rarely received media attention during the campaign season, though he’s certainly never hidden them.

“See that paper on the wall?” he asked, gesturing toward a poster with rows of names on it. “That is a list of some of the scientists that we give a lot of money to conduct collaborative medical research, including stem cell research. What’s wrong if I help stem cell research? I’m all in favor. And if somebody wants to have an abortion, let them have an abortion,” he said.

[snip]

Adelson has not said whether he will use his influence to try to change the GOP internally. But he does believe social issues cost the Republicans the last election.

“If we took a softer stance on those several issues, social issues, that I referred to, then I think that we would have won the most recent election,” he said. “I think people got the impression that Republicans didn’t care about certain groups of people.”

You should definitely read the whole interview.

Adelson is precisely what my self-admitted conservative friends are:  fiscally conservative, socially fairly liberal, very receptive to legal immigration (because a nation, for health, national security, and economic reasons should control its own borders), and supportive of Israel.  What’s funny, though, is that Adelson is also pretty close in actual outlook to all the upscale, white collar liberals I know who reflexively vote Democrat because of the conservative issues.  These people are also fiscally conservative in their own lives; they what their country safe and fiscally sound for their children; they like immigrants but recognize that illegal immigrants pose risks both for American citizens and legal, Green Card immigrants; and they like Israel’s values.

The problem at the ballot box is that, after forty years of Leftist indoctrination, these educated liberals are unable to harmonize their values with their politics.  Despite recognizing the wisdom of fiscal management in their own homes, they think a state can survive indefinitely by spending more than it takes in; despite training their children in self-reliance, they believe that we should destroy self-reliance in “the poor”; despite believing that people should be able to protect themselves and their homes, they are embarrassed when their country tries to defend itself; and despite admiring a pluralist, democratic society, which is what Israel is, they bemoan the plight of the poor Palestinians who have allowed their (now sovereign) territory to devolve in a crazy mix of anarchism and Islamic fundamentalism.

What makes this cognitive dissonance possible for white collar liberals is their unswerving allegiance to unlimited abortions and (of late) to gay marriage. Just as fiscal conservativism, the Constitution, and individual freedom bind conservatives of all stripes together, so too do abortion and gay marriage (with a soupçon of illegal immigration) bind together Progressives of all stripes.  We cannot entice Progressives to fiscal conservativism if we insist on a purity test for abortion and gay marriage.  It’s just not going to happen.  And here’s the kicker:  abortion and gay marriage become moot issues if our nation collapses entirely under the weight of debt or if our walls our breached by Islamists or if we become “tuberculosis central” because we cannot assert even a modicum of polite control over our borders.

As a parent, I hew socially conservative, so those are values I want to advance.  But I’m a pragmatist who recognizes that the ballot box isn’t the place to make it happen.  The ballot box is how we manage issues of sovereignty (including national security and border control) and fiscal health.  Our social institutions are where we make headway on social issues.  If we can keep those lines from crossing, we can be a resurgent conservative political party and, eventually, a somewhat more traditional America, one that preserves the best and healthiest social policies of the past and the present.

 

Found on Facebook

I thought I’d share with you some of the things my friends have posted on Facebook.  First, a cartoon that’s obviously meant to support the Progressive open border policy, but that just as obviously proves the opposite:


I understand that you’re supposed to read the cartoon to mean that, without the Native American’s open border policies, we white people would still be floating around the Atlantic.  Therefore, open borders are good.  I have this strong urge to explain to the Progressives reading the cartoon that, if one looks at what happened to the Native Americans, they would have been wiser to adopt the policies that Republicans now advocate.

The next thing I found on Facebook was this anti-Romney poster:

I get it.  Romney is an incredible hypocrite because his ancestors weren’t monogamous. He therefore has no basis for asserting that marriage is between one man and one woman. My response?

Dear Progressive, yes, some cultures are polygamous, but they’ve still involved a man on one side of the bed and a woman on the other. You see, historically, marriage has always been about two things: procreation and a wealth transfer system that allowed the man (who historically created wealth) to be assured that his own progeny, whether from one woman or from several, received his wealth. It’s kind of atavistic.

I’m not saying that atavistic human behavior is a good reason to keep the marriage status quo. As you know, I think the state should get out of the marriage business and get into the civil unions business, with an eye to promoting whatever conjoinings of people are best for the state. However, it’s foolish to pretend that relationships that never have natural procreative abilities are the same as the heterosexual marriages that have been normative throughout history. And no, please don’t hurl the words “adoption” or “artificial insemination” at me, and don’t mention that the English aristocracy so embraced cuckolding that the wife’s marital duty was limited to an heir and a spare. The fact remains that our lizard brains have always focused on getting a man to impregnate a woman, safe in the knowledge that she wasn’t cheating and that it would be his genetic offspring that got the benefit of his labor.

And lastly, a video that several of my friends posted.  I don’t know about Prop. 37 and I may discover after researching it that I support it.  Nevertheless, watching these vapid, alcoholic, misogynistic Hollywood types promote Prop. 37 (in insulting and condescending tones) inspires in me a visceral dislike for the proposition, and a strong desire to vote against it:

An update on Chick-fil-A’s statement

I blogged the other day about the fact that Chick-fil-A seemed to have pulled a Komen and caved.  Now they’ve issued another statement, plus a statement from Huckabee.  These two statements seem to indicate that Chick-fil-A carefully carved out a loophole for itself.  All I can say is Hmmm….  It’s hard to do business in today’s Witch Hunting climate.

Does this mean all the conservative appreciation for Chick-fil-A was wasted?

Remember when the Susan B. Komen foundation pulled out funding for Planned Parenthood, because PP provides almost no services relevant to breast cancer?  And remember how conservatives defended the decision because PP provides almost no services relevant to breast cancer?  And then remember how the Komen foundation ignored conservative approbation and caved on PP funding?

I hope you do remember that saga, because we seem to be seeing a repeat?  Remember how Chick-fil-A made a stand for traditional marriage?  Remember how conservatives all across America supported Chick-fil-A in overwhelming numbers — and with the numbers that count, namely product purchases?

Well, now you can remember how Chick-fil-A has ignored conservative approbation and caved on its alleged principles:

The Chicago alderman whose opposition to Chick-fil-A over the restaurant owner’s  santi-gay marriage stance made national headlines last month, has announced the company has agreed to stop funding those organizations, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A press release posted on a Chicago-based civil rights advocacy group web site quotes a letter said to have been sent to the alderman from Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate”

“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.

An internal memo declaring the company will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates,” was also said to have been distributed and included in an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”

Even when conservatives go against type and become squeaky wheels, they don’t get the grease; they just get the shaft.

A clever statement by a Leftist reveals that the Left views the Constitution as a content-free document

MoveOn.org has created an online poster that has been getting a fair amount of play on Facebook.  The page is entitled “The #1 Reminder Every GOP Lawmaker Needs To See.”  It then quotes “American Hero” Jamie Raskin, a law professor, before successfully running for Maryland’s State Senate himself, testified before the Maryland State Senate in 2006.  Back then, he had this to say:

Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution.  You didn’t place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

That sounds very clever, doesn’t it?  Nice parallelism, and a definite superficial truth:  American politicians don’t swear to uphold the Bible.  Of course, that cute little parallelism ignores a deeper truth, which is the fact that the Constitution includes this nifty little Amendment called the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The classic religions (as opposed to recently created New-Age spiritualism) all define marriage, and they all define it as a union between a man, on the one hand, and a woman, on the other hand.  Freely exercising ones religion means that, constitutionally speaking (and lawmakers are charged with upholding the Constitution), the government doesn’t get to redefine marriage to include other sexual variations.

In 2008, during the Prop. 8 debate (when California voters were asked to, and did, pass a Proposition defining marriage as being between a man and a woman), I spoke with a very smart, very liberal friend who couldn’t understand why the Catholic Church was taking a stand against Prop. 8.  I suggested to him that the Church was concerned that there would come a time when it would be sued for refusing to perform a gay marriage and that it might lose that suit if gay marriage is deemed a civil right.  He scoffed:  “The Church is opposed to abortion, but no one sues it for that.”  What he couldn’t grasp is that the Catholic Church doesn’t perform abortions, but it does perform marriages.

The HHS fight over funding contraceptives and abortifacients proves that the concern I raised in 2008 is precisely correctly.  Suddenly, through the purse, a Leftist government was trying to get the church to perform abortions.

When Leftist government passes laws that conflict with a religion’s doctrinal points, it has no problem ignoring the First Amendment and using the power of the state and the purse to force the religious organization and its practitioners to abandon their doctrinal concerns.  In other words, Leftist government is happy to enact and enforce policies that essentially prohibit the free exercise of a religion.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  the government should get out of the “marriage” business.  The government’s control of “marriage” is residue of a time when church and state were inextricably intertwined, rather than Constitutionally separate.  Let’s leave “marriage” to the religious organizations, and let them define it as they will.  The state, which has a huge interest in promoting stable unions that result in healthy, happy children, should then bend itself to the task of figuring out how best to promote those unions.  Promoting them, of course, boils down to money.  The state needs to figure out how to entice people (hint:  tax breaks) into joining together and having stable nuclear families.  Civil unions, folks.  In this day and age, it’s the only way to keep the state’s hands off the church.

Looping back to law professor and ignoramus (oh, and American Hero) Jamie Raskin, someone needs to give him a constitutional refresher course:  When the lawmakers place their hands on the Bible and swear to protect the Constitution, they are also swearing to protect people’s rights to practice their Biblically based, life-affirming beliefs without state interference.

Are we surprised that the 9th Circuit support the federal district court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage?

I’m not commenting on the merits of the decision, which I haven’t read, or on the merits of Prop. 8, which we’ve already hashed over at this blog.  I am commenting, however, on my utter lack of surprise with this ruling from the 9th Circuit, affirming the district court decision finding Prop. 8 unconstitutional.  Of course, the 9th Circuit is the most overruled appellate court in America, so advocates of gay marriage might want to hold off on getting too excited.

One other thing:  I have a lot of gay friends on Facebook, since I grew up and lived in the Bay Area.  Intriguingly, though, the ones who are most aggressive in their support for gay marriage are my straight friends.  What’s up with that?  Is this the “straight guilt” equivalent of the “white guilt” that transformed the Civil Rights movement from a Constitutional equality issue into a racism industry?

Gay activists’ alleged attack on prayer, even if not true, highlights the Left’s profound animus to traditional Judeo-Christian religion

Cassie Jay is a young woman who makes unabashedly Leftist films.  Back, in 2010, she made a documentary called “Daddy I Do” that attacked abstinence-only education.  Even in liberal Marin, this movie caused a bit of a kerfuffle, as the local art cinema first agreed to show it, then backed off from that agreement, and then, when the liberal fit hit the media shan, finally agreed to show the movie.  The debate garnered headlines, and undoubtedly drew more people to the movie than would otherwise have attended.  My bet is that, at the end, a lot of people paid for tickets, not because they actually wanted to see her movie, but because they wanted to show solidarity.

Ms. Jay now contends that she’s stumbled into cultural clash, and she didn’t see this one coming at all.  On its face, Jay’s newest movie ought not to have ruffled any feathers on the Left.  It’s a straight down-the-line Progressive encomium for the virtues of gay marriage.  The Marin Independent Journal assures readers that her latest, “The Right to Love: An American Family,” is “a compelling case for legalizing gay marriage.”  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I haven’t seen it yet — indeed, few have — so I’m not qualified to comment.

(Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto)

Jay claims, however, that there are those in the gay community who have seen it and they are very unhappy with the movie.  You see, in addition to promoting gay marriage, which is a good thing, the gay activists watching the preview discerned a Christian subtext, which is a very bad thing indeed:

“The Right to Love,” which premieres Monday at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, focuses on the Leffew family of Santa Rosa, a legally married gay couple and their two adopted children. When the trailer was released this past fall, it included a scene of the family saying a Christian prayer at their breakfast table.

The reaction it unleashed from a segment of the gay community was angry and venomous, and caught Jaye off guard.

“It just erupted online,” she recalled. “It totally caught me by surprise. I was shocked by the backlash. All these LGBT (lesbian-gay-bixexual-transgender) people were attacking the Leffew family for being religious, saying, ‘How can you be a part of an institution that doesn’t see us as equals and thinks we’re an abomination? How can you be a member of that club?’ I never intended to include that prayer as a controversial issue, but there was a lot of hatred toward them being Christian.”

Here’s the incendiary trailer (the prayer shows up 38 seconds in):

As for me, I think this is a publicity stunt.  I scrolled through the 280 comments at the trailer and found a few comments to the effect that “religions should let us marry and they’re bad ’cause they don’t” stuff, but I don’t see any evidence of the firestorm Jay claims erupted over her film — more specifically, that she claims erupted because of that two second prayer scene in the trailer.  Unless Jay deleted all the hardcore anti-Christian comments as spam, they’re just not there.  I also did a couple of Google searches for the name of the film along with the words “Christian” and “religion” but, aside from several dozen sites singing rapturous praises about a pro-gay marriage movie, found only a few newspaper articles quoting Jay about the claimed firestorm.

I’m willing to acknowledge that my research skills may be abysmal, and that I’ve managed to miss the dozens of comments and posts in which activist gays threaten to burn crosses on the lawns of those gay families who are stupid enough to cling to Christianity.  I may also have a different idea of Jay as to what constitutes a truly controversial issue.  She may think one crackpot makes a controversy.  I don’t.

What’s rather amazing, though, is that Jay is promoting her film by pointing to a subject that has nothing to do with the film itself.  The film is about gay marriage.  There is a built-in audience for this movie.  Gays will see it.  Elites who want to prove their moral superiority on the issue will see it.  But Jay is promoting it, not by pointing to its substantive issues, but by talking up the fact that (according to her) many in the GLBT (or LGBT or whatever other order the letters should appear) community are no longer asking for religion to change.  Instead, they’re attacking religion at the root.  For her, this is a selling point.

Jay’s right, too, in her assessment that, in Obama-world, attacking religion is a selling point for any movie that one markets to the Left.  The Obama administration’s direct, frontal attack on the Catholic church (and other religious institutions) demonstrates as nothing else could that the Left, now that it holds two out of the three seats of power in American government, intends not to amend religion, or carve out secular exceptions, but to destroy it entirely.  Under the new ObamaCare mandate, the churches are left with only three choices all of which range from damaging to destructive:  they can deny their principles and provide insurance, which destroys them morally; they can refuse to provide the insurance, which will trigger penalties or lose them so many employees they’ll be destroyed financially; or they can simply shut down their outreach, which destroys their place in their community and the missions that are an intrinsic part of their doctrine.

Destruction of Damascus Christian Quarter, 1860

My guess is that Jay is astutely tuning into a strong cultural subtext roiling the Left in order to market her film.  Even if there is no fight between gay activists and religion, there ought to be, and she’s going to use that paradigm to broaden her audience beyond the Prop. 8 crowd.  She can expect to see attendance increase as those on the Left attend the film, either to show their solidarity with religion (Christ’s gospel is good, even if the church has perverted it) or to protest the fact that anyone in the LGBT (or GLBT) community would dare to ally itself with a hate-filled, archaic institution that should be destroyed, rather than reformed.

I think the saying is that, in show business, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

What do you think?

It could happen here

In connection with the British judges’ decision barring as foster parents people who disapprove of homosexuality, I posited that making gay marriage a Constitutionally protected civil right could expose conservative faiths to lawsuits.  Many had a hard time envisioning this, but legal expert Richard Epstein had exactly the same thought:

To this day there are thoughtful people in religious groups that continue to hold fast against gay marriage, and their rights to determine what happens to their membership are necessarily impacted by this decision, for there is nothing in the curt statement from the Obama administration which explains why the Constitution should not be read to require the President of the Congress to impose obligations on these organizations to accept gay couples into their ranks. Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholics beware!

It’s entirely possible that, when it comes to gay marriage and the First Amendment, pluralism won’t work.

Rodney King got his 15 minutes of fame for (a) getting beaten up while resisting arrest; (b) having his name attached to some horrific riots; and (c) plaintively asking “Can we get along?”  The last is a great thought.  I’d like to get along with people better myself.  “Getting along,” though, presupposes that people have the same goals and values.  In our pluralist society, even when we have differences, we mostly limp along all right.  Elections shuttle different value systems in and out of power and (at least when the unions aren’t rioting) Americans expect a peaceful transition.

Still, even pluralist societies have bottom line values, things as to which we’re not willing to bend (although, lately, it’s getting harder to pinpoint just what those values are).  Up until recently, one of those values was that “marriage qua marriage” was a one man, one woman deal.  In recent years, we were willing to contemplate “civil unions,” but “marriage” remained sacrosanct.

Also, because of the First Amendment, another American bottom-line is that the government cannot meddle in religious doctrine.  Some confused people think the First Amendment outlaws religion, or outlaws religious people from participating in politics, but most understand that — unless they’re calling for human or animal sacrifice, or polygamy — the American government leaves religion alone.

I have said all along that the main problem with the gay marriage debate is that, by creating an entirely new bottom line (gay marriage) we’re going to see two bottom lines crash into each other.  You see, traditional male/female marriage meshed nicely with the vast majority of traditional religious norms.  Gay marriage, however, does not mesh with traditional religion.  While Progressive churches and synagogues have opened their doors to gay marriages, more traditional ones, especially the Orthodox Jewish faith and the Catholic Church, have not done so.

When I’ve raised this concern to people, they scoffed.  One liberal told me that, even though abortions are legal, the government has never gone toe-to-toe with the Catholic Church.  He looked a bit taken aback, and had no response, when I pointed out that the Catholic Church doesn’t provide, or withhold, abortions; it simply speaks against them doctrinally.  The Church does, however, marry people, and that leaves open the possibility that a gay couple will sue the church for refusing to perform a marriage service.

Others, while acknowledging that my point has a certain intellectual validity, say that it will never happen.  I’m not so sure, especially after reading a story out of England involving a Pentecostal couple who were told that, as long as their religion held that homosexuality is not acceptable behavior, they could not foster needy children:

A Christian couple morally opposed to homosexuality today lost a High Court battle over the right to become foster carers.

Eunice and Owen Johns, aged 62 and 65, from Oakwood, Derby, went to court after a social worker expressed concerns when they said they could not tell a child a ‘homosexual lifestyle’ was acceptable.

The Pentecostal Christian couple had applied to Derby City Council to be respite carers but withdrew their application believing it was ‘doomed to failure’ because of the social worker’s attitude to their religious beliefs.

The couple deny that they are homophobic and said they would love any child they were given. However, what they were ‘not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing’.

What’s relevant to this post is that the judges explicitly held that homosexual rights trump religious rights:

Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation ‘should take precedence’ over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.

Admitted, Britain does not have a First Amendment.  However, as I noted above, First Amendment or not, our government bars, and (when Mormons are involved) actively prosecutes, polygamy.  It does so despite the fact that polygamy was official doctrine for the Mormons and is official doctrine for the Muslims.  Likewise, although Voodoo is recognized as a religion, we don’t let practitioners engage in animal sacrifice.  In other words, First Amendment or not, the government will interfere in religious doctrine if it runs completely afoul of a bottom-line American value.

If gay marriage is deemed Constitutional, we suddenly have two conflicting bottom-line values — gay marriage and religious freedom.  I’m not predicting how this will turn out.  I’m just saying that, if I was the Catholic Church or an Orthodox synagogue, I’d start having my lawyers look at this one now.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Obama is no Harry Truman

In an earlier post, I said that Obama’s decision to turn his back on DOMA, despite his professed support for traditional marriage, does not make him a Harry Truman.  Rich Lowry explains much better than I could why Obama’s current position is not a principled stand but is, instead, another step towards a pre-planned goal.  The whole pattern also reminds me of the way in which Obama lies, which is incrementally.

Did Obama pull a Harry Truman? (No.)

I’ve always admired Harry Truman for his ability to go forward with moral acts despite the fact that these acts were at odds with his personal prejudices.  Although he was a good old fashioned Southern anti-Semite, in 1948, at the UN, he voted for the State of Israel, because it was the right thing to do.  Likewise, even though he was a good old fashioned Southern racist, he authorized the military’s integration, because it was the right thing to do.

Obama is a self-avowed proponent of traditional marriage, yet he has just announced that a federal law upholding traditional marriage is unconstitutional.  Is this a Harry Truman moment?  Is he putting aside his own prejudices to do the right thing?

Sorry, but no, it’s not a Harry Truman moment.  You see, Harry Truman didn’t flim-flam voters by promising never to support a Jewish state or an integrated military, and then changing his mind.  These were issues that arose out of the blue, so to speak, that were not part of a national debate, and that had never required Truman to sell his position — any position — to the American public.  They were deeply personal decisions for him:  do the right thing at that moment, or do the prejudiced thing at that moment.  He chose the former course both times, marking him as an ethically brave man.

Obama, however, sold the public a bill of goods.  He campaigned as a proponent of traditional marriage.  Jeffrey Anderson summarizes nicely:

President Obama has now decided that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. Thus, the Obama administration says that it will no longer defend that federal law in court. On the campaign trail, President Obama repeatedly asserted that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Now, the president has apparently decided that his own view, at least when codified as federal law, is unconstitutional.

Rather than appearing Truman-esque, Obama simply increases the perception that he is a con man.  At the very least, if he’s had this kind of change of heart, he should be explaining to the public the reasoning behind the change.  He’s not making any such noises, though, because there are no such noises to make.

Is it hate?

The Indiana legislature is working on a bill to ban gay marriage.  On my “real me” facebook, several of my friends characterized this as an act motivated by hate:  “Stop the hate!”  “Boy, they really hate us.”  “Could they be more hateful?”  I found this formulation interesting, perhaps because semantics has been such a big issue lately, what with the liberals  trying to redefine Reagan so that they can redefine Obama.  (For two excellent articles on the politics of semantics, check out this and this.)

Saying that people are motivated by hate is a very powerful and demeaning argument.  Most everyone at whom such an argument is aimed reacts instinctively to deny that he or she is hate-filled.  Often, to prove that there is no hate, the person will back of from the allegedly hate-filled position.

I’m wondering, though, if there is any merit to the “hate” argument when it comes to gay marriage.  I don’t like gay marriage because I’ve increasingly come to believe (here come the semantics again) that it would be better if “marriage” was kept to religious institutions, with civil unions belonging to the state.  The state can then decide how best to advance the goal of stable two parent families, which are the backbone of every growing, healthy society.

To allow state gay marriages as a civil right raises the horrible specter looms of a gay couple being denied a Catholic marriage, only to sue, alleging that the couple is being discriminated against under the Constitution.  The Church, of course, reasonably responds that, under the same Constitution, the government has to stay out of its doctrinal practices, and where are you then?  In other words, I don’t hate gays; I just hate the idea of gay marriage.

Those who oppose gay marriage for other reasons also don’t seem motivated by “hatred” for gays.  They may believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman; they may believe gay marriage is a slippery slope to polygamy; they may believe these matters should be put to the popular vote, not the courts or even the legislatures; they may believe that their religion prohibits gay marriage; or they may believe something else entirely.  But what one hasn’t heard from the majority in the gay marriage debate is personal animus towards gays.  Ignoring the fringes, one hasn’t heard “hate.”

Or am I misdefining hate?  Is it hatred if you place obstacles in the path of a specific group, without explicitly demeaning, deriding, insulting or attacking that group?  What if you justify those obstacles on grounds unrelated, or reasonably unrelated to the group?

I actually don’t have answers, just questions.  Nor am I seeking to open a debate about gay marriage.  I’m simply wondering about politics, semantics, and identity groups.

The blessings of gay conservatives

Yesterday I mentioned John Hawkin’s post explaining why he is sponsoring HomoCon.  I thought a nice companion piece would be Nick Gillespie’s post reprinting the HomoCon platform, a platform I think that all conservatives will find agreeable.

Remember (as if you, my dear readers, ever forget):  Unlike the statists/regressives/so-called liberals, we are not the party of identity politics.  We are the party of small government and big security.  We welcome those who agree with us on those issues, regardless of their race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or country of national origin.  We also acknowledge that there will inevitably be disagreements on the ideological periphery.  We know, though, that under America’s two party system, we cannot win federal elections if we allow our attention to wander too far from the core issues that currently threaten to destroy the country entirely.

My sense is that, aside from the belief many hold that homosexual activity is sinful, I believe that gay marriage is the single most divisive political issue right now between conservative gays (at least, those conservative gays who support gay marriage) and other conservatives (at least, those other conservatives who don’t support gay marriage).  It shouldn’t be.

As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of gay marriage, since I think marriage is, at its core, a religious issue.    The smartest way to resolve it would be for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely and, instead, limit itself to allowing those “domestic partnerships” that it deems are in the state’s interest.

Right now, we probably all agree that heterosexual partnerships fall in that “state interest” category.  A slight majority of Americans would add homosexual partnerships to that category, something that should be worked at through societal consensus, not judicial fiat.  And if the specter of “dogs and cats, living together” comes up, we’ll deal with that too.  And then let those various partners find the churches that will unite them before their God(s).  End of story.

That’s my view, for what it’s worth.  But my question for those opposed to gay conservatives who support conservatism on the most important political issue of the day is this:  Can you afford to get into a divisive fight over what is, temporarily at least, a less significant issue than saving our entire country from frighteningly potential internal economic collapse and external terrorist and military attack?

Not partnerships as we know it

Growing up as I have in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve known for more than thirty years that even the most committed gay relationships are seldom monogamous relationships.  My “common knowledge” has now been confirmed by a study.

The fact that gay partnerships do not involve even a bow to “forsaking all others” may be one of the reasons why conservatives are suspicious of legalizing gay marriage — it’s simply not marriage that confirms to heterosexual expectations.  (And yes, I’m well aware that adultery is common in heterosexual marriages but, regardless of the facts on the ground, the theory is supposed to be monogamy.)

Feelings, nothing more than feelings — the Prop. 8 trial in San Francisco

One of the things I’ve been watching is the trial attacking Prop. 8 in California.  As you know, in November 2008, California voters, by a solid majority, passed Prop. 8, which states affirmatively that, in California, marriage is between a man and a woman.  Two gay couples sued in federal court, alleging discriminatory intent.  To that end, the plaintiffs have been trying to prove, through discovery and through testimony, that the people who put the initiative on the ballot had discrimination in their hearts.  I’ve found these personal attacks bewildering, since it seems to me that what you really have to show is that the 54% (or so) of California voters who passed the initiative all had discrimination in their hearts.

Charles Winecoff has also been following the trial, and he’s very dismayed by the “feelings, nothing more than feelings” on display in the court room:

The curtain went up on Monday, January 11th.  Olson opened the show by declaring that “domestic partnership has nothing to do with love” – essentially admitting that the two couples are seeking legal recognition of their feelings. Then the complainants took to the stand to deliver a string of what even the Los Angeles Times called “emotional accounts,” proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that non-celebrities no longer need Oprah (or Jerry Springer) to validate their existence.

First, Jeffrey Zarrillo testified that ”the word marriage” would give him the ability “to partake in family gatherings, friends and work functions as a married individual standing beside my parents and my brother and his wife.  The pride that one feels when that happens.”  Does he mean that, like Michelle Obama and her country, he never before felt pride being with his partner?  In their nine years as a couple, did they never attend any of those events together?

If “the word” means so much, why not just call yourself married?

Similarly, when Olson asked Berkeley lesbian Kristen Perry why she was a plaintiff in the case, she replied, ”Because I want to marry Sandy [her partner, also of nine years]… I want the discrimination to end and a more joyful part of our life to begin…  The state isn’t letting me feel happy.  The state isn’t allowing me to feel my whole potential.”  Yet “the state” never prevented Perry and Stier from making a home together, or from raising four boys in that home.

Rule number one: make yourself happy.

What Winecoff might not know is that, in California, feelings matter — at a constitutional level.  Few people who aren’t lawyers (and even few lawyers) know that the California Constitution pretty much guarantees Californians happiness:

All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

Some people are rolling their eyes at this moment and saying, “Well, I have the same right under the federal Constitution.” Au contraire, my friends.  Our United States Constitution, wisely, says nothing whatsoever about happiness as a legal right.  Instead, the only mention of happiness in a seminal American document is the statement, in the non-binding Declaration of Independence, that all people have the right to pursue happiness:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That, in a nutshell, sums up the purpose and effect of individual freedom.  But it’s no guarantee that any given individual will be happy.

If you’ll cast your eye back up to the California Constitution, you’ll see something very different.  Strip away the extra verbiage, unrelated to happiness, and you get this promise to its citizens from the California government:

All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are . . . pursuing and obtaining . . . happiness . . . .

Live in the land of perpetual sunshine, and you are guaranteed the right, under the law, to obtain happiness.  If the state does something that makes you unhappy, well, the state had better remedy that problem.

Sadly, the California Constitution does not explain what it’s supposed to do when a given law brings happiness to some (for example, those who believe marriage is a male/female thing) and unhappiness to others (those who believe the word “marriage” is the only thing that can make their relationship a real one). I am reminded of a quotation, the source of which I can’t trace, to the effect that “The real tragedy is not the conflict of good with evil but of of good with good.”  As Dorothy L. Sayers says, in Gaudy Night, “that means a problem with no solution.”