Friday, February 14, 2014

America, Get Used to It: Gays Have Rights Just Like the Rest of Us (I'm Lookin' at You, Kansas)

(Updated below)

Hey, Brownback, you might be patriotic, you might be
religious, but you are seriously fucking up Kansas. Stop it.

I have sympathy for those Americans that were blindsided by the fact -- the unassailable fact -- that the Constitution they've praised all these years has held within its pages a tenet that is undeniable. We all have the same rights.

One of those rights is that a religion -- any religion -- can not be established as the last and only word. You get to go to your church and worship any god you want, and you're free to follow any canon or doctrine you believe that god demands, as long as it doesn't violate other people's rights or safety. And, godammit, you can't establish that religion for the rest of us. We get our own god, if we want one, thank you.

From this, it's not hard to realize that a hobby shop is not a church, and the state of Kansas isn't one, either. People, like the owners of Hobby Lobby, and politicians, like the ones who get elected in Kansas, can get confused or purposely obfuscate, if you like, but most of the time they're not going to get away with it as long as we don't have total asswipes on the Supreme Court. Sorry, Supreme Court, occasionally asswipe is not an undeserved moniker, read your own Bush v. Gore if you've forgotten what nonsense you'll tolerate from time to time.

Surprisingly, though, even an ideologically bent bench like the Roberts Court has a hard time looking at the Constitution and deciding your rights are different from mine. No, I'm not saying I get to murder and you don't. I'm saying we both can't or most definitely shouldn't murder. And likewise we both should be allowed to do something lawful like get married.

Here again we run into trouble that leads one of us to say, "Yeah, but gay???" Sorry, Charlie, but yes, gay. A marriage had long been assumed to be between a man and a woman, but that was ONLY AN ASSUMPTION. What stands in the way of that assumption is an idea enshrined in the Constitution called equal protection under the law.

We only got confused because we read the Constitution differently for very obvious reasons. Some believed:
  •  Slaves of all kinds, men or women, whites or blacks or natives, young or old, had no rights, they were property. You could become a slave if you owed a debt. You could become a slave if your parents sold you or used you to pay off a debt. A lot of that was before our Constitution, but everyone who did that was really wrong about that.
  • Women couldn't vote or own property. In fact, they were property. Turns out we were wrong about that.
  • Blacks couldn't vote or own property. In fact, they were property. Turns out we were wrong about that.
  • Gays are creepy, icky, weird, and because of that, they can't marry like the rest of us. Turns out we were wrong about that, too.
It turns out that gays -- or lesbians, which I'm including under gays for simplicity -- are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, grandpas, grandmas, brothers, sisters, cops, mayors, coaches, teachers, ministers, AND FUCKING FOOTBALL PLAYERS, TOO.

So, again, I have sympathy for those of us for whom the great movie line, "We're not in Kansas anymore," has particular salience. That state of mind, that unevolved nature that allowed us to avoid the implications of the Constitution we put in place to be the mother of all laws, well, we're not there anymore on the issue of homosexuality. On that issue, the U.S. is not in Kansas anymore. We've moved, as has happened so much over the years. And that's a good thing and is the reason why so many judges in so many states have looked at the Constitution and the Supreme Court's interpretation of it in terms of marriage and come to the conclusion that equal protection under the law means gays can marry for very much the same reason we heteros get married.

And don't even throw "hey, procreation!" at this argument. Since we don't have to procreate to get or stay married, then that's an empty argument.

Okay, even bullheaded knucledraggers from Kansas can follow this whole argument and realize they are, legally anyway, doomed. But I'm saying the great majority of U.S. citizens are really, really not in Kansas anymore, and you that are actually really in Kansas and have decided to take your state back to the Middle Ages, then, well, go ahead.

But please realize this: You're not going to win. Sure, you may thrash around, you might even feel like you're winning within your own goddam borders, but it's fleeting, my Kansas friends. You may not know it now, but you're really starting to look stupid. Yes, stupid. Throw in ignorant. Of course, there are many, many Kansans who don't deserve to be so insulted. You know who you are, and I feel for you.

But the rest of you, it's over. You just don't know it yet. One of your judges is going to say that gays have the right to marry. Maybe the Supreme Court will do it for you. Maybe one of your star basketball players at your beloved University of Kansas will come out of the closet and wreck Kansas basketball forever. It will serve you right.

The same will happen for evolution, for creative thinking, for returning to secular education, for climate change, for 90% of what 60% of you believe. You're wrong, and while the rest of the world already knows it, you will eventually, too.

As bold, brave, bodacious Gavin Newsom said, a little inartfully, "It's gonna happen, whether you like it or not."

And then you won't be in Kansas anymore, either. The sooner, the better.

Update. Wow. It appears that the Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle isn't in Kansas, anymore, either. She's throwing up a roadblock to the latest anti-gay legislation that prompted this post. Good for her. There's hope yet.

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