Monday, March 31, 2008

The Marriage Amendment: Kill It

There are so many reasons to deny this amendment's passage to the floor of the legislature and to the voters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it's pathetic.

We would not have expected the 13th Amendment to figure in.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Is the denial of living with loved ones as one pleases a form of slavery? Slavery is the forcible compulsion of a people to act against their will, for some perceived benefit by the master.

This is called the "Marriage Protection" amendment instead of the "No Gay Marriage" amendment presumably because the institution of marriage is of value to the people, and it should therefore be strengthened and held in high esteem. How can we justify subjecting another people to live without this good, so that it can be enhanced for others?

Have we appropriated their freedom? Are we compelling them to live against their will, for someone else's gain? To assimilate or perish?


Yes yes yes. Homosexuality is different. Homosexuality is a scourge upon civilizations and a cancer to be eradicated.

This is where the 1st Amendment comes in.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

Free exercise. Every one of us can to choose to believe your gobbledygook, or choose not to.

Your formal religion may be your evidence -- but you may also hold your beliefs because of your culture, experiences, inclinations or intuitions. That also is a religion, a belief system -- and you are welcome to it, and welcome to share it.

You shall make no law establishing it. If you want to ban homosexuality because it's dangerous, you had better show exactly how it is a public health issue or a national security issue.

That is when you are at your most amusing.


Amending constitutions is serious business. We generally do so only when we have problems that the present government can not deal with. Almost always, we do it to expand our rights, not to crack down.

In this case, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania already has outlawed gay marriage. It is illegal. If you don't like gay marriage, you should be happy.

However, times may be changing slowly, and the people may be on the way to petitioning their government to change the status quo. At that time we will have a lovely debate, wherein we will utilize this good government that has been handed down to us, and we will come to an answer.

We are now being asked to add an amendment to the Constitution simply to prevent people in the future from making their own decisions? What is the reason? Where is the crisis? What is really going on?


Obviously, there are three strong motivations underlying the push for this legislation:

1. Drive a wedge among Democrats
2. Whip up the Republican base.
3. Lash out at homosexuals.

The PA Marriage Protection Amendment is, at its very best, a cynical ploy to further the politics and policies of a certain portion of today's ideological spectrum.

At its worst, it is a raw and very useless statement of loathing, expressed only for its own sake. It would besmirch the rest of the PA Constitution around it.

Have none of it. Don't touch it.


  1. Dear Friends.

    Feel free to read the amendments contained in the Bill of Rights in Honor of Blog For Equality Day.

    Here are a few of my favorites.

    Amendment I: Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment IX: Rights retained by the people
    The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

    (This means States can't infringe upon your rights either.)
    Some jurists have asserted that the Ninth Amendment is relevant to interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Arthur Goldberg (joined by Chief Justice Warren and Justice Brennan) expressed this view in a concurring opinion in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut (1965):

    [T]he Framers did not intend that the first eight amendments be construed to exhaust the basic and fundamental rights.... I do not mean to imply that the .... Ninth Amendment constitutes an independent source of rights protected from infringement by either the States or the Federal Government....While the Ninth Amendment - and indeed the entire Bill of Rights - originally concerned restrictions upon federal power, the subsequently enacted Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the States as well from abridging fundamental personal liberties. And, the Ninth Amendment, in indicating that not all such liberties are specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments, is surely relevant in showing the existence of other fundamental personal rights, now protected from state, as well as federal, infringement.

    Amendment XIV: Civil rights
    The Fourteenth Amendment was proposed on June 13, 1866 and ratified on July 9, 1868.

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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 to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    Amendment XIII: Abolition of slavery
    The Thirteenth Amendment was proposed on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865.

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Amendment XIX: Woman suffrage
    The Nineteenth Amendment was proposed on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18,1920.

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Perhaps, someday, we can all enjoy their mighty benefit.
    Happy Blog for Equality Day!
    Call write email your representatives and tell them No Thank You Very Much to discrimination.
    Douglas Shields
    President, Pittsburgh City Council

  2. well done bram.

  3. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

  4. I was trying to write a take on this, but you handled it much better.

    It's like PA is now getting sloppy santorum seconds from whom I now call Santorum Jr. (Was it Boyd or someone else. I want to be correct. Let's just say the 17 co-sponsors just held a big gangbang for the bill and there's plenty of santorum to go around the house floor.)

    The conservative / christian right imposing its will upon everyone else is getting really fucking annoying. People complain and fear right-winged Muslims for their more overt methods, but fail to see what the right-winged morons do in more subtle and subversive ways.

    Why are people so closed-minded and bigoted toward this? It doesn't affect them one bit. It's like they think their marriage is going to be suddenly worth less.

    Hello? Most marriages are worthless. It's hypocrisy at its finest example.

    An employer couldn't discriminate based on sexual orientation, why would this be any different? It basically is constitutionally-protected discrimination.

  5. In Pennsylvania, employers can discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender presentation, except for in specific municipal areas such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia which have added those protected classes to their legislation.

    But in Monroeville, you can be fired just for being gay.

    That's the other half of this discussion. HB 1400 proposed by Dan Frankel would expand human relations protections to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender presentation. Go Dan.

  6. Sue: Huh. Go Dan Frankel.

    Cutlord: Language! And, yeah if you find the name of "Santorum Jr.", bring it to our attention.