Monday, July 20, 2009

In Support of Same Sex Marriage

While I waste my days browsing all sorts of on-line atrocities, I thought of something productive I've been meaning to do. The Porterville City Council previously passed a resolution backing Prop. 8 because, I would imagine, the idea of two dudes kissing makes them feel very uncomfortable or after carefully studying the Bible they found that homosexual acts only threatened marriage in that once a character presented in the Bible went gay, he no longer found his wife to be as interesting as other fellas.

This week the City Council is expected to pass a resolution in opposition of Senate Bill 54, to allow gay couples married in other states to retain their legal rights when in the State of California.

So I put together a rather lengthy letter and emailed it to each councilman. I also sent one to the City Manager's Office and asked it be submitted into the record as public comment for the meeting, as I cannot be in attendance.

No need to read it all, but here it is:

To: The members of the Porterville City Council
Re: Item No. 15 on the July 21, 2009 Council Agenda, considering a resolution in opposition of Senate Bill 54.

As a resident of the City of Porterville, I strongly urge our City leaders to consider the resolution before you now, as well as the Council's previous vote in support of Prop. 8, to be unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the 14th Amendment. Section 1 of Amendment 14 states, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection under the laws." This amendment clearly states that equal rights and due process is a right of every citizen regardless of race, religion or gender.

This is the same argument made 42 years ago in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia which struck down interracial marriage bans in 16 states. In June 1958, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were married in Wahington, D.C. pursuant to its laws. Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to their home state of Virginia and established their marital abode in Caroline County. In Oct. of that year, a grand jury issued an indictment charging the Lovings with violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriages.

Today, nearly have a century later, we find ourselves again divided with couple’s seeking equality in the face of many who find these same loving couples to be morally repugnant. The Council has already gone so far as to support the denial of rights for same sex couples in California. It seems to only add insult to injury that any government body would support stripping couples of legal rights fought for and earned in other states.

In the City of Porterville resolution to support Prop 8, maintaining the “role of a traditional family,” as “the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father,” is baseless. At best it is a religious definition of family and has no place in legislative debate. I can find no reasonable argument against the scenario that same sex marriage would strengthen the institution of marriage by allowing more families to experience a household built around two loving and committed adults. Only infidelity and divorce can damage the sanctity of marriage.

The author of a 2003 Op-Ed piece in the New York Times said it best when he concluded, “we are not animals whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We're moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants, such as the one Ruth made with Naomi: "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried."

The conservative course, according to author David Brooks, is not stop same sex couples from entering into marriage, but to insist on it. Only when two people claim to love each other and do not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity, should they be considered immoral. “It's going to be up to conservatives to make the important, moral case for marriage, including gay marriage,” Brooks writes. “Not making it means drifting further into the culture of contingency, which, when it comes to intimate and sacred relations, is an abomination.”

As same sex couples remain very much in the minority in our community, there is no ability to generate the financial support needed to mount a legal challenge to the City’s official support for gender discrimination. So, free of the threat of litigation, I ask that each Council member dissect the issue once more and separate citizen’s rights from religion, freedoms from fear, and dare to find the essence of “traditional” values alive and well in Porterville’s gay and lesbian families.