With the economy still struggling, what has occupied the media lately? Gay marriage and mosque location are two examples.
The gay marriage issue is puzzling. Research says the majority of Americans disapproves of same sex marriage. But research also says the majority does approve of “civil unions” between people of the same sex. Functionally, it’s hard to see why.
The purpose of civil unions is to give gays exactly the same rights as straights, thus obeying the “equal protection” clause of the U.S. Constitution. So if civil unions must confer exactly the same rights as marriages, what’s the problem? A marriage, which can be conducted in City Hall by a Justice of the Peace, literally is a civil union. So, if the only difference between marriage and civil union is the name, why all the passion? Puzzling.
Then there is the proposed mosque near ground zero. Also puzzling. Some people say it’s insensitive to build a mosque close to the site of that terrorist action.
President Obama, who has a propensity for opining on local matters (Remember Henry Louis Gates?) said, “Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”
He’s correct, of course, though he began to hem and haw the next day. But for argument sake, let’s say he was wrong. The question then becomes: What is the approved-sensitivity mosque distance from ground zero? 1 city block? 2 blocks? 4 blocks? 8 blocks? 5 miles? 500 miles? Nowhere in the U.S.? Nowhere?
And then, there’s the Pentagon to consider.
What’s your opinion?
Ultimately, I expect the economy to be the key election issue. Meanwhile, politicians will squirm and twist to stay on the “correct side” of every issue, no matter how silly. They believe the voting public is stupid, shallow and emotional – easily swayed by the latest “big thing.”
Are they correct?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity
7 thoughts on “–Silly season alert: The 2 “big” election issues”
Regarding the mosque–I have gone round and round with friends on this issue. If we believe in the principles that America was founded on, then you can’t say one kind of place of worship simply cannot be built simply because it happens to be the religion of a bunch of crazy zealots who did a horrific thing. Obama’s original statement was correct. Living in America with the freedoms promised us is difficult because it means that sometimes you have to deal with issues you may not like. I don’t have a problem with it just like I don’t have a problem with Christian churches being built in Oaklahoma City because I don’t blame all Christians for what one crazy guy did. Gay marriage–somewhere along the line someone started referring to it as marriage–instead of civil unions, which is what they are doing. So you blaze up people’s emotions with the use of the word marriage and thus we have the mess in CA (where I live) over Prop 8 repeal. It irritates me to the core that we are worrying over these things when people don’t have jobs. It’s easier to get people reved up over these “emotional” issues instead of worrying about harder to solver issues like creating jobs.
Rodger: “The gay marriage issue is puzzling. Research says the majority of Americans disapproves of same sex marriage. But research also says the majority does approve of “civil unions” between people of the same sex. Functionally, it’s hard to see why.”
For many people marriage is primarily a religious sacrament, while a civil union (one which is not a marriage) is not. Many of them object to gay marriage, especially if they think that homosexual sex breaks religious law. But many of them are tolerant of non-religious unions, even if they believe them to be sinful. They see a similarity to heterosexuals’ “living in sin” outside of marriage.
Rodger: “The purpose of civil unions is to give gays exactly the same rights as straights, thus obeying the “equal protection” clause of the U.S. Constitution. So if civil unions must confer exactly the same rights as marriages, what’s the problem?”
IANAL, but I do not think that civil unions confer exactly the same rights as marriages. Many state and Federal laws refer to marriage, but not civil union. AFAIK, there is no Federal statute that says that civil unions are treated the same as marriages in Federal law. States are required by the Constitution to recognize the contracts of other states. If you get married in one state, that marriage is recognized in a different state, even if that state would not marry the two people. But the other state need not recognize the civil union of the first state and treat it the same as marriage, even if the first state does so. So the difference between marriage and civil union is, I think, a big deal legally.
Min, marriage is a civil, legal process, not necessarily related to religion. (Remember separation of church and state? Atheists can marry.)
That’s why I said, “A marriage, which can be conducted in City Hall by a Justice of the Peace, literally is a civil union.”
Wherever gays are not given the same rights as straights, those laws eventually will be overturned, as they violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
It will not be Constitutionally possible for gays to be relegated to civil unions if civil unions do not confer identical rights as marriages. The bible belt states will squirm on this, but they will lose.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The Gingrich/Palin bigots who have been mouthing off about the location of the mosque should read the AP article: FACT CHECK: Islam already part of WTC neighborhood
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
For the Gingrich/Palin side: If you stand for smaller government than you don’t want government dictating a private property rights (mosque) or government dictating religious ceremonies (marriage). Neither are the concerns of government, if you’re a conservative (real one) Republican.
As for the the 14th Amendment, the equal protections clause has been bandied about way to thin. That wasn’t the intent, we’ve allowed the courts to create that interpretation.
I’d rather have the government give rights than take them away. If the good citizens show up with torches and pitchforks, to prevent the erection of the mosque, I hope the government steps in.
The 14th Amendment says what the courts say it says. I like the current interpretation. Don’t you?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
I’m conflicted on the 14th amendment. I don’t believe our natural rights come from other men. On the other hand, I do believe that a person may need to rely on other men to retain their rights. Still, when one has to give up rights so that others can have rights then perhaps the scales are not equal. Thus, the conflict that I have.
In regard to same sex marriage if I believe that if I want to belong to an organization that does not want to give benefits to same sex married people than they should have the choice. Likewise an organization that only wants to cater to same sex individuals should be allowed to do so too. The decision on how this is interpreted should be at the lowest level and not decided by men in far places.