Sunday, September 9, 2012

Forget the Terrible Towels: NFL Players Voice Support for Gay Marriage

IF YOU MISSED IT THERE'S SUDDENLY renewed hope for those who favor legalization of gay marriage. No, no. Mitt Romney is still against it. And Paul Ryan is still opposed. He's all about Catholic teachings and he's sure that unmarried priests are a great idea. After all, what could possibly go wrong with that?

Well, now, who cares what Mitt and Paul think?

So what if Pat Robertson says we're going to bring down the wrath of God around our ears if we accept gay people as equal? You know:  humans?

Don't worry right-wingers!
If gay marriage is legalized
you won't stop ogling cheerleaders.
Suddenly, players in the NFL are coming "out" in favor of gay marriage. This game day morning, Cheeseheads in Wisconsin awoke, rubbed their eyes in disbelief, and found themselves asking, "Does it really matter if same-sex couples marry?" Who Dat Nation stopped worrying about player suspensions and Steelers fans quit waving their yellow towels and had to carefully consider the issues.

If you missed the story, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been supporting gay marriage for some time. This support finally caught the eye of Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Maryland lawmaker; and a riled up Burns fired off an angry letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Basically, he asked the owner to see that his linebacker shut up.

Burns' letter angered Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, in turn, and the kicker responded brilliantly, in a scathing missive. First, Kluwe wondered if Burns had ever read the U. S. Constitution, with its First Amendment protection of free speech.

Second, he reminded Burns (an African American and sadly a Democrat, too) that brave stands taken by sports figures can matter.

Jackie Robinson was mentioned.

Finally, he assured Burns (and here we might offer the same assurances to the men at the top of the GOP ticket) that even if gay marriage were to become a reality, he (they) would still be perfectly safe:
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children. They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won't even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
The standard response from the right is entirely predictable. Marriage is a holy institution. You can't mess with God's plan. It has ever been so:  marriage is between one man and one woman. You can almost hear Burns and his type saying, "And...perhaps most importantly, gay marriage gives me the creeps."

So, let's add a little to what Mr. Kluwe has already said so eloquently. First, Mr. Burns should be ashamed of himself not only for failing to read the U. S. Constitution but also for failing to grasp the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. He might also kick himself for forgetting about the United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Loving et Ux. v. Virginia. You don't have to go too far back in history to discover that, well, marriage hasn't always been just a matter of one man and one woman. Hardly. In 1924 Virginia lawmakers passed what became known as the Racial Integrity Act, limiting marriage to one white man and one white woman, or one black man and one black woman, and that rule remained in effect until a unanimous Supreme Court struck it down in 1967.

TODAY, THE RIGHT-WING HATERS will tell you that it must remain the same way. They will insist they have thousands of years of tradition on their side, not to mention the Bible and Founding Fathers. Yet, we know societies evolve. (Sorry, right-wingers:  we know how much you hate that word.) For centuries, of course, arranged marriages were the rule. In the time of Shakespeare, for example, Frances Coke was offered in marriage, along with £ 10,000, to a wealthy nobleman. When the fourteen-year-old girl tried to resist she was "tied to the Bedposts and whipped" (more than once), according to eyewitnesses.

As late as 1753, the age of consent in England was twelve for a girl. And in the Thirteen Colonies, in the days when the Founding Fathers were born, marriage customs and attitudes still had a long way to go before you could say they matched today's mores and values. Call it the "good old days," if you're Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan--but Puritan lawmakers in New England required all those found to have engaged in premarital sex to marry. Sex, itself, was forbidden on Sunday; and homosexuals caught in the act at any time could be punished by hanging. The law was also clear when it came to adultery and male masturbation--in places like New Haven, Connecticut, capital offenses. But we grew. Don't you see?

In the end, Burns and Romney and Ryan might be wise to read the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence:
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 to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.
Back in 1776, a new nation had a long way to go before anyone could argue that we had lived up to Thomas Jefferson's ringing ideals. Still, the cause of liberty grew. Slavery was ended. Women won the right to vote. In 1924, Native Americans officially became U. S. citizens. Meanwhile, states raised the minimum age at which a girl could marry, with parental consent, to sixteen, or eighteen without a mother or father's approval. And, yes, The Racial Integrity Act was finally declared unconstitutional.

Gay marriage is coming, sooner or later. Romney and Ryan and Burns can only temporarily stand in the way. They can stare at the Declaration of Independence as long as they want and hope to see some kind of optical illusion. But stare as long as they will:  the words "homosexuals not included" are not ever going to pop out of the background.

History shows that when gay marriage does become law our great Republic will survive. History acknowledges human progress.


  1. This is the problem with democracy and government, it is a system that gives people the power to force others to live according their own personal values and opinions. Government never promotes freedom. non violent voluntary action should never be controlled, regulated, or centrally managed by government force and the voting majority in favor. No individual should ever be left to lobby, protest, and spend their hard earned money on politicians and political groups in the false hope they may some day have the freedom to engage in a non violent human action. democracy and government is a joke, as long as we support this system of government we will always be subject to a majority rule. I dont want government to grant the right for same sex couple to marry, or people to smoke weed, i want no policy decisions at all any social issue, if its a non violent voluntary action be individuals there's absolutely no reason for government to be intervening. any time the government is attempting to control peaceful human action between individuals they've immediately become dictatorial and out of control.

    any individual that uses the force of government to prohibit other indidividuals from engaging in peacful non violent voluntary action immediately loses the moral arguement.

    "The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic." H.L. Mencken

  2. I agree with your position, to a point. I don't think it's quite that simple, though. While a particular "social, voluntary human action" might be non-violent, that doesn't mean its consequences will be equally benign. Take the example of drug and alcohol use: drinking and/or smoking pot don't hurt anyone except (potentially) the person using them. However, if that person hops in a vehicle while drunk or stoned, suddenly they're endangering the lives of other people around them. S/he is unintentionally presenting a violent threat. While the government may tend to stick its nose in where it doesn't belong, in certain cases I believe this is necessary. It's finding the right balance, the right limitations, that seems to be the difficult task. People in power love to use it, regardless of whether or not they're being selfish, or are actually trying to help people.

  3. "Take the example of drug and alcohol use: drinking and/or smoking pot don't hurt anyone except (potentially) the person using them."

    which is fine..

    "However, if that person hops in a vehicle while drunk or stoned, suddenly they're endangering the lives of other people around them. S/he is unintentionally presenting a violent threat."

    you can literally say that about any action, should everything be illegal because it presents the possibility of violence, what if someone hops in a vehicle while drunk and stoned but drives responsibly and obeys every traffic law. the individual injures no one, damages no property, and breaks no traffic law, yet this individual is somehow commiting a violent act in your opinion? you wish to use the force of government to prevent someone from engaging in a peaceful action because of your own values, you lose the moral arguement on this. Damaging persons or property is already and always will be a legitimate crime, blood content shouldnt be, because it makes peaceful action a crime.

    james madison said when you sacriface your liberty for alittle security you lose both. this is on of those issues.

    "While the government may tend to stick its nose in where it doesn't belong, in certain cases I believe this is necessary. It's finding the right balance, the right limitations, that seems to be the difficult task."

    there is no right balance or limitation to controlling people and dictating what your view as acceptable behavior in your image of what society should be. it's not the government job to control and limit your freedoms, its governments job to protect and enhance your freedoms. you believe it is necessary because you believe it is moral to use government force in the attempt to make society behavior according to your own personal values and opinions, you dont have the right to take away other peoples rights, be it with the invisble gun the voting booth gives you, or any other way. liberty means you must be tolerent of other individuals in society acting in ways you may not always agree with.