Rather than lobbying for federal marriage laws or federal contraception rights, I think gays and women should ask Congress and the President to go back to the original meaning of the Constitution, which allows for the free speech of all minorities—including sexual minorities. The government cannot make people “moral.” The government can only protect individual liberty. Liberty allows for the competition of ideas whereby all individuals voice their beliefs in the public square so that the most rational and moral ideas can rise to the surface.
As “The Federalist No. 51,” founder James Madison writes: “It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. … Whilst all authority in it [the federal republic of the United States] will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority. In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects.”
Basically, the founding fathers wanted the president and the federal government to protect (not control) free speech, religion and private property.
President Obama tells women like Georgetown law school student Sandra Fluke that the only way he can protect female rights is to confiscate the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious exercise from other Americans via his federal mandate for contraception coverage. Oddly, Obama thinks that he, as President, can tell a private American citizen like Rush Limbaugh that his words: “…don’t have any place in the public discourse.” Per the Constitution, the President should be the one to quit talking, not Limbaugh or practicing Catholics.
In a clear political move to help President Obama and the Democratic Party curry favor with gays and women, Democrat congresswomen like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are prematurely pushing Congress to renew and expand the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to include “protections” for same-sex couples and illegal immigrants—even though CNN reports that VAWA does not come up for renewal until the end of the fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Rick Santorum wants to unconstitutionally regulate marriage at the federal level, police consensual sex in private homes and approves the use federal money for birth control.
And, last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo essentially told gays that the only way he could stand up for gay rights was to push through gay marriage legislation without a complete religious exemption clause to protect the First Amendment rights of others.
I think Obama, Feinstein, Boxer, Klobuchar, Santorum and Cuomo should re-read the First Amendment, The Federalist Papers and John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government. The first piece of private property that every American owns—from the moment of conception—is his or her own body. Owning our body means we have the right to free speech and religious practices—as long as we do not use wrongful force against another.
I realize that when American women and gays read the newspaper, they see horrific headlines of inhumane treatment of women and gays. These are appalling situations that need remedy. However, reading about global tragedies can make women and gays more susceptible to buying into dangerous promises of domestic federal “protections” from American politicians.
Women in Pakistan face abusive spouses and in-laws that scorch them with acid, gasoline and fire. Women in Saudi Arabia face sentences of 10 lashes for daring to drive. Starving women and girls in Somalia face gang-rape and sexual abuse as they walk miles in search of food and refugee camps. Women in China are lucky if they are even born.
This month, London activist Ali Hili told The New York Times he estimates up to 750 gay Iraqis were killed in a six year time frame. “An Interior Ministry security officer said that in the past two weeks, officials had found the bodies of six young men whose skulls had been crushed. Reuters reported the toll to be 14 or more, citing hospital and security officials. Rights groups say that more than 40 young men have died.” Many of the men were simply wearing emo/Goth/punk/hipster apparel that Iraqi radicals view as embarrassing and threateningly counter-cultural.
Like gays, women are treated as sexual minorities around the globe. Only in America do women and gays have equality before the law. I think American gays and women need to realize that they are not victims as long as they defend the Constitution. The second they allow politicians to attack the Constitution in the name of equality is the second they willingly become victims. Warping the Constitution is not a win for gays or women; it is a lose-lose situation because gays and women need the Constitution too.
We are all human beings with dignity and reason. We are already equal before the Constitution. Politicians and activists who stomp on the First and Tenth Amendments to put the government in control of sex and marriage are driving an anti-equality movement that will surely backfire.