A “Conservatarian” View of the SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Decision

I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I’ve invested a good amount of time in this issue. I don’t need to reiterate what others have said about the intricacies of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Simply started, the Equal Protection clause states that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, period.  What bears stating is the legal precedent in referencing the Fourteenth. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there were “Jim Crow” laws in the southern states that required the states, under law, to segregate based on race. Facilities were supposed to be “separate but equal.” They rarely were equal. President Woodrow Wilson, an overt racist, practiced gross discrimination. The equally overt racist Democrats of the late 1800s through the mid 1960s did everything possible to undermine the anti-segregationist policies of the Republicans. The southern states felt their state sovereignty allowed them to discriminate within the borders of their states. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth was the constitutional basis for the federal government to overrule state sovereignty because the federal government is responsible for ensuring all citizens get equal protection under the law. Given the preponderance of states that have marital equality laws, it was not, in my mind, a far stretch to apply the same principles that shot down Jim Crow. What the Fourteenth does not touch is the right of people that are not agents of the state from discriminating except in areas such as housing and employment. This ties into the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. By law and practice, churches are not agents of the state. Congress cannot force a non-agent to act. I am an ordained minister. I cannot be compelled to perform any service for anyone. I don’t know the individual laws of every state where marital equality is the law, but I can tell you that Maryland’s law is well-crafted and explicitly protects the clergy. Here is the text of Question 6, the public referendum for marital equality in Maryland,

“Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”

I am a libertarian. I voted for Question 6 even though I will not personally perform a same-sex ceremony. I am not discounting what I believe to be the biblical truth on the topic. I am standing behind the right of two people to enter into a legally binding contract, which in the eyes of the state, is what marriage is.

The reason we have this mess is that our bloated government stuck its nose into marriage, a thing formerly under the scope of religious bodies. It chose to grant legal privileges to married couples. Once it did that and the individual states began to legalize same sex marriage, it was inevitable that it would have to respond.

Before we are too quick to respond to this ruling, think of where America would be if Jim Crow was still in existence.

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Never give in

Sir Winston Churchill was a gifted orator.  He has been credited for giving one of the most terse and powerful speeches in recent history.  The quotation is typically written like this:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never, never give in.

While Churchill did pen and read these words, they were part of a speech that was 723 words in length.  It is still an excellent example of how a fairly short oration (it takes a bit more than four minutes to read this) can have a profound impact.

In 1941, he delivered the following speech at the Harrow School, an independent boarding school where he studied as a youth.

Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master’s kind invitation in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends by singing some of our own songs.

The ten months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world—ups and downs, misfortunes—but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home?

Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not so poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up!

But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months—if it takes years—they do it.

Another lesson I think we may take, just throwing our minds back to our meeting here ten months ago and now, is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must “…meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same.”

You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.

But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period—I am addressing myself to the School—surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

You sang here a verse of a School Song: you sang that extra verse written in my honor, which I was very greatly complimented by and which you have repeated today. But there is one word in it I want to alter—I wanted to do so last year, but I did not venture to. It is the line: “Not less we praise in darker days.”

I have obtained the Head Master’s permission to alter darker to sterner.  “Not less we praise in sterner days.”

Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.


The closed-minded open-minded people

I wanted to read an article on Tam O’Shaughnessy, Sally Ride’s partner for 27 years.  I found a really great one at http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/365992/20120723/tam-shaughnessy-oshaughnessy-sally-ride-lesbian-partner.htm.  I call it great because it didn’t make the fact that Sally was a lesbian a big deal.  It focused on her partner and the great work she and Sally did.  There was one sentence way of the end of the article that said, “Though Sally Ride was open about her partnership with Tam O’Shaughnessy, it does not appear to have been a controversial topic.”  I was getting ready to make a response commending the author for simply stating facts and not trying to capitalize on Sally’s death.  Then I came across a person that I will call, “John Q. Public.”  He wrote the following:

I’m very saddened about Sally’s death. She was a fantastic woman and a great contribution to society. It’s way too bad that people from the Religious Right are so bigoted towards gays and lesbians. May they read and educate themselves what gays and lesbians have contributed to our society. Rest in Peace Sally!!!

John Q. is a perfect example of closed-minded open-minded people.  I wrote this in response:

To borrow your words, “It’s way too bad that people like John Q. Public are so bigoted toward religious conservatives.” It’s also too bad that you tarnished a beautiful article that treated Sally’s sexuality as just another part of who she was instead of making a big deal out of it. I’m a religious conservative and an ally. You see, my conservatism dictates that the government has no right to barge into people’s affairs and determine which adults of consenting age may enter into a contract. My theology is my own theology which I am entitled to. I’d be a hypocrite if I wanted my liberty and wouldn’t give bigots like you your liberty. Whenever you say “all _______” and fill in the blank with an ethnic group, faith group, geographically defined group, etc., you are being a bigot. Would you ever say, “all Jews,” or “all Muslims, or “all Asians,” or “all New Yorkers?’ If not, you should seek a worldview of understanding and liberty instead of letting people be free unless it cramps your style.

Here is a homework assignment: find out who Fred Karger is and look up a group called “The Log Cabin Republicans.” You’ll find that your incorrect stereotypes don’t fit. One last thing, look up the political party of the president that signed the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.

FYI, Fred Karger is an openly gay Republican that was on Ronald Reagan’s staff.  He was the first person to throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 presidential election.  The Log Cabin Republicans is a group of openly gay people that hold to traditional Republican platform issues such as reduced government, responsible spending, and a government that makes sure everyone has opportunities to succeed instead of giving them success at taxpayer expense.  The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by William Jefferson Clinton, a Democrat.

Afterword: Just in case anyone doubts that the International Business Times semi-censored me, here is proof:

So it is OK for one person to write that the Religious Right are bigots but it’s not OK for me to write that people who make broad-brush comments are bigots?

By the way, the rating on my post is now five in favor and three against.  It seems that maybe the International Business Times needs to listen to its readers a bit more.

Do we really want to be hiring Narcissists?

As part of my doctoral research in techno-ethics, I am in a running dialog with some excellent students involved in PhoenixConnect’s Information Systems and Technology Community. PhoenixConnect is the the University of Phoenix’s social network.  The branch of the discussion that follows is from a thread I started on Ethics and Technologists. The subject revolves around the debate as to whether or not to hire former hackers as security consultants. I have seen the devastating affect that pathological narcissists have in companies, families, and society in general. The following is a response to a person’s questions related to the issue of the notorious criminal, Frank Abagnale, Jr., being a free man that is a multimillionaire in his post crime life.

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