Sometimes it really seems that people will go out of their way to justify their hatred. Today, just in the past few minutes, I've run across two attempts to keep the LGBT community from achieving equality that are sure to backfire if they are "successful."
Case Number 1: An Oklahoma state legislator is propose a bill that would abolish all state regulation of marriage.
Case Number 2: In South Dakota there are two actual bills already introduced which...
...are intended to prevent people from being sued if their religious beliefs keep them from taking part in a same-sex ceremony.It's not clear whether one bill covers clergy and the other covers businesses or whether each bill covers both that the "two bills" are companions, each in its respective legislative chamber.
Let's ponder beneath the Great Orange Squiggle.
There is a point to this exercise to be sure and no doubt many readers already know where I'm going. But I'll be coy just for a moment longer.
South Dakota first. Not sure why; just because it's easier. First part is unnecessary because clergy aren't compelled, in any state I know of, to celebrate a marriage they disapprove of. The second part, well, all I can say is that if you want to PROVE your agenda consists of being discriminatory, what better way to do it than to say so in your legislation? Only one sort of wedding is considered here: a "gay" one. Let's not waste too much time pointing out that a wedding is a wedding. Perhaps the geniuses who've been considering these bills have not familiarized themselves with Romer vs Evans.
And now Oklahoma: This one's a bit different because the legislation is only being "considered." Nothing's been introduced quite yet. People who proposes laws like this usually say something like "people can still get married in church so even though that won't have any legal weight, what's the big deal? They just won't be considered married." The forget just precisely how much turns on the status of "married." There are taxes (OK does have a state income tax; I looked it up), there is inheritance, there are legal protections in the event of domestic violence, there are state and federal laws against nepotism and attempts to influence court cases or other proceedings, there are rules against having to testify against one's spouse in court. Apparently nobody's bothered to give any of this any thought. Just as long as we can keep gays from getting married, that's the only thing that matters.
So here's the point. Actually there are several. The first one has to do with displays of animus. I don't think there's anything more transparent than a legislative record that says the reason a legislature took an action it did was to prevent a certain group to benefit from laws that provides benefits to others.
As has been noted in a few of the more recent court rulings regarding marriage equality recently, marriage has been defined by the federal courts, up to and including the Supreme Court, on numerous occasions as a "fundamental right." So to abolish civil marriage is an awfully big move to take. To deprive anyone of such a right, particularly one most have previously had access to, requires some very compelling reason. I don't think "we just don't want the gays to have it" would fall under that rubric.
My final point is in my title. It's pretty clear that the laws proposed in South Dakota would be struck down very quickly based on the precedent of Romer Vs Evans. A law cannot be created which defines a certain class of people for the express purpose of discriminating against those people. You try to do that, your state's gonna be sued. You try to take away a fundamental right from the entire population just so some specific group can't gain access to it? Same thing? South Dakota and Oklahoma are two states under complete control of the Republican party, supposedly the "fiscally responsible" party. Yet they're setting themselves up to waste the resources of their citizens on fighting court cases they are sure to lose and which will consume significant resources. Well, if that's what they want to do I suppose it's their right. But they really shouldn't go complaining how expensive it's gonna be for them. I really am not inclined to sympathize.