‘Evolving Understanding’ Obstructs Inalienable Rights
This bit has bothered me since I read this last night, an excerpt from President Obama’s meeting with progressive bloggers:
“I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage,” he said. “But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents. And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today.”
What if he had been a white president, saying this about African Americans?
“Oh look, we have African Americans on staff, our attitudes are evolving, including even mine, when it comes to giving them equal rights.”
What if he had been a white president, saying this about persons in mixed race marriages?
“I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents. And I care about them deeply. Our attitudes evolve, including mine, when it comes to letting them marry legally.”
What if he’d said this about women and their rights to own property and to vote?
“We have women on staff, our attitudes are evolving, including even mine, when it comes to giving them equal rights.”
Such sentiments would have been insupportable; this is such patent bullshit.
We’re talking about rights every one of us is born with, inalienable rights. The state has no compelling reason to restrain the exercise of these rights, whether at state or federal level. . . .
And we’re letting one man tell us that opinion — characterized as evolving attitudes or understandings — is the restraint on rights.
The president doesn’t even appear to grok that he’s a man of color, the product of a mixed race marriage, raised by single mother, saying this while sitting in the White House. He’s the beneficiary of more than evolved attitudes; at some point a line was drawn in the sand and the truth of marriage as a human right and a woman’s right to control her destiny were simply acknowledged.
The man exemplifies the need for the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the right of citizens to marry at will in Loving v. Virginia — and he doesn’t bat an eye when he says his understanding is evolving.
What if the public’s understanding of other marriages evolved in the other direction, so that his parents’ marriage was declared invalid?
There is a point here where we aren’t talking about LGBT rights, but the fundamental human rights every single one of us have, the ones about which the court said,
Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
How are gender classifications any different than the racial classifications? They are innate to our persons. Why is the freedom to marry or not no longer resident with the individual, simply because of gender?
And how can this one man — who surely must realize that it was never right to own humans, never right to deny fellow humans the right to vote, never right to deny them equal protection under the law — not understand that “evolving understanding” merely indicates a need to snap out of it and do the right thing?