The proposed Wisconsin Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot declares that marriage is between one man and one woman. We’re all kinda used to that idea. And it’s been in Wisconsin law for a long time. So what’s wrong with that?
What’s most wrong is the proposed amendment does not only re-define marriage. It also prohibits granting rights to civil unions. It is reasonable to have some legislative restrictions on private contracts. But it is a foul perversion and an intolerable injustice, to promote a constitutional amendment that prohibits so many of our loving, functional families from exercising basic, necessary, rights and responsibilities such as visitation, inheritance, insurance protection, survivorship, child custody, and protection from domestic abuse.
Promoters’ arguments in defense of this proposal rest on a broad, false, and bigoted generalization about the best way to raise children. Why have promoters of this amendment not demanded that family rights and status be constitutionally prohibited to those who have beaten their spouse or child; or those who have committed adultery; or those who have committed heinous crimes; or are chronic drunks or drug addicts?
Will they next amend our Constitution to deny rights and responsibilities to those who have transgressed against any of the Ten Commandments, or have not pledged allegiance, or those who would marry another of a different ethnicity or religious creed?
Instead of trying to constitutionally exclude certain loving and functional families, why not make the broad general (and correct!) assumption that children should not be raised in poverty, intolerance, pollution and ignorance? And then let’s pass a constitutional amendment banning those unmitigated plagues that truly threaten us.
If self-righteous big brother and the government decide that children should only be raised by a legally married male/female couple (regardless of how abusive, alcoholic, or hate-ridden they might be) what should be done with all the children being raised, or might in the future be raised, in loving, caring, nurturing homes which do not meet that definition? Is our legislature next going to prohibit children from being raised in single-parent households? The reality of love, care, and nurture is more important to a child’s healthy development than narrow interpretations of fundamentalist religious strictures and cockeyed politicians’ ideas about child welfare. And government has no place restricting citizens’ rights by enforcing those strictures and theories.
Bigotry is the use of an excessively broad generalization to condemn or reject individuals without justification. It is one thing to tolerate bigots among us. It is another thing, and absolutely intolerable, to allow bigotry to be enshrined in our Constitution.
Come to think of it, how’s this going to be enforced? Will there be compulsory physical exams? Will a special interest group install a “grandfather (and grandmother) exemption clause”? Are married people, or those proposing marriage going to be required to submit to DNA sampling? Will government snoops be sifting through our medical records? Maybe the bureaucrats will settle on “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Let’s be frank and honest. To the extent marriage is in jeopardy, it is, and always has been, in greatest jeopardy from within. People who are living within their own fragile, brittle framework shouldn’t throw stones at people who they misunderstand, fear, and hate. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to assuage those fears. That’s a familiar psychological defect known as projection, and an unworthy political defect known as scape goating. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Unfortunately, every state politician who represents us in Ozaukee County has supported this flawed bill that endorses bigotry. We must reject this amendment, not because of its definition of marriage, but because of its denial of essential rights and responsibilities to good and worthy people and families who don’t fit that definition.
The question before us is, “Will we draw the line now against hatred, fear, and intolerance, or will we let the self-appointed moral arbiters among us employ the power of government?”
The definition of a leader differs from the definition of a politician. But please, we don’t need a constitutional amendment to establish that. We just need courage and wisdom.
This proposed Constitutional Amendment is one of the ploys being used to draw our attention away from:
i) the nationwide indignation that swirls around the two specifically cited reasons without substance that tricked us into the unjustified and administratively botched invasion and occupation of Iraq,
ii) the use of the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens in blatant violation of the law and our Bill of Rights,
iii) the neglected, growing crisis in health care,
iv) the record high and growing national debt and worsening trade deficits,
v) the widening gulf between the wealth of the super-rich and all the rest of us in America, and
vi) the appalling failure of Homeland Security to lift a finger in the face, as well as the aftermath, of a massive national hurricane disaster.
Why is there no ballot question about the refusal of our state legislature to pass meaningful campaign finance reform and the ethics and elections reform bill last session?
Why is there no referendum suggesting that whenever the legislature receives an increase in its own salary and benefits, the minimum wage should increase by the same percentage?
Why is there no referendum question about the worsening health care crisis?
Think a minute. And then vote NO, NO, and NO in NOvember.
(updated) October, 2006