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Turns out Denying Rights is UnconstitutionalPosted Wednesday, August 4, 2010, at 5:02 PM
Through our over 200 years of history in this country. When laws are passed by legislatures or people, if those laws deny people basic rights they will be overturned. It may takes years upon years (Brown V. Board of Education came almost exactly 100 years after the slaves were freed), but on thing that is guaranteed is that if the law is put in based on one person or group of people denying another person or group of people's rights that law will be overturned.
All the laws that have been popping over the last few years surrounding homosexuality are slowly being overturned. One of the most recent, until today, was a law passed in Arkansas by voters that made it illegal for homosexual couples to adopt. This particular law was a little easier to overturn. The language of the proposed amendment was so vague I still do not know how it got on the ballot and stayed. The original language that the voters of Arkansas voted for stated that it was illegal for unmarried couples living together from adopting. I said at the time of it's passage that the new law forbade me and my then girlfriend (now wife) from adopting.
That is the basic reason that law was overturned. The more complex reason that the law was overturned was because it was denying Americans from adopting children. It was deemed unconstitutional because the last time I checked the Constitution, simply put, assured Americans their rights not denied them. The only amendment that was added to the Constitution that denied rights (18th Amendment) was repealed 13 years later.
Today, a federal court has overturned Proposition 8 in California which barred homosexuals from marrying. We can debate how the law passed originally at another time, but the law itself forbade Americans their very basic right of pursuit of happiness. It may be uncomfortable for you to know that homosexuals do, in fact, exist, but at the end of the day it is not in your power to tell them what they can and can not do.
The judge in the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker (and before you start going around shouting liberal activist judge, Judge Walker was appointed by Reagan), said in his remarks that
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples..."
This pretty much flies in the face of the arguments that the supporters of Prop 8 claimed the law was meant to do. They said that the law simply did nothing more safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing. It takes a pretty good stretch of the imagination to honestly believe that and apparently Judge Walker was not fooled.
Before the activist judge chants start up let me make a case for why this is simply a case of a judge protecting the Constitution from the majority. It is a lot easier to pass laws denying rights. It is a lot harder to pass laws protecting rights. Our federal judges are in place to look at cases and decide Constitutionally whether the laws fit. If they do not then the cases are overturned.
This case will eventually make it to the Supreme Court where a final pronouncement is made whether or not homosexuals getting married is a civil rights issue and should there fore be protected.
It should be interesting.
One thing I have been noticing about this particular issue is that it has slowly gone out of of the national Republican stance. They, seemingly, are onto something new. Which is immigration, legal or illegal. For most the 2000s John McCain was a staunch supporter of amnesty. Suddenly in the last presidential campaign he made a 180 degree flop and came out against amnesty.
But perhaps one of the most amazing things coming out now is that several senators, including McCain, are now wanting to review the 14th Amendment. I am sure you have all heard of it. The 14th Amendment is the amendment that states that anyone born in the United States is a US Citizen. This is nativism at it's purest. Of course those among us that look at everything the New Republican TEAParty does today sees nothing more than a veiled threat against Obama.
This would presumably be on their agenda if they take over both Houses of Congress. I wish them luck because they would have to pull a modern miracle to get it through Congress, override a certain veto by Obama, and then for enough states to vote in the new amendment.
This coupled with the decision in Arkansas and gay marriage issue in Massachusettes, and the Muslim center decision in New York give me new hope that intolerance does not always win the day.
UPDATE: This could not be funnier if it was not true. If you go the GOPs own page and scroll down to 1966 they list one of their achievements as passing the 14th Amendment, the very amendment they now want to "review". Welcome to 21st Century America.
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