The Rule of Law, Gay Marriage, and American Values

Woman Smiling

America is a land of laws, created by and for the people. Its legislators and other government officials are elected, or appointed under the reasoned logic that each is accountable to the people who elected them, or the elected officials who appointed them. A free society that demands laws for the protection of life, liberty and property rights. It has a constitution, that has withstood the test of more than two hundred years. It has done so, not by being rigid, but by being amorphous; its principles endure because they are mutable. Simply put, the rule of law is the will of the people. Every person has an inherent sense of right and wrong, from when they are very young. The common tenets that are infused in its laws are the threads that bind Americans to one another; like truth and justice, a shared sentiment among the masses of people who live here, despite their varied cultures, backgrounds, education, and experiences; but who defines what is and what is not truth, or justice. America is a republic, not a true democracy. This means it is an association of minority interests that combine to form a majority, against other minority interests, in order to create a negotiated set of rules, and laws to live under. This constant compromise is what makes America great. No one minority can ever overpower another. Some common threads between other oppressed minorities eventually join together to make the rule of law more tolerable.  A simple understanding of this principle can be garnered by merely looking at our own history. In the early days of the republic, only wealthy, educated property owners had rights, and therefore had a vote.  In those days, women, children and slaves, were the property of these early Americans. To their credit, these wealthy male property owners, created a document that ceded all of their power into the interpretation of mere words inscribed upon its parchment. They were endowed with the foresight by the fact that they had once been an oppressed minority, and wanted to ensure the survival of a way of life that up until then was only and ideology, a concept of self government by the people and for the people. Nearly one hundred years later, black men, who once were property, became free, and were given a say in their government, the vote. At the turn of the twentieth century, women were finally provided rights, and with them, the right to vote, which provided them the power to create or modify laws to protect themselves, and children from further injustice and oppression. Changes, although slow, finally afforded women the right to be appointed to courts, work as judges, legislators and in other positions, once thought the domain of only men. The retardation of these freedoms were directly tied to misinformation, and biased information fed by a cultural Eurocentric binary gender system that created and inherent but mistaken belief that women were inferior to men. As absurd as this concept is today, it is no different than the prevailing thought that abounded in the mid seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that suggested, even in medical journals, that the color of a man’s skin determined his intelligence, and even whether he was human.  Such basic tenets caused delay in making sound judgments in proffering laws to regulate our country.  In Alabama for example, women were not allowed to sit on juries until the late nineteen sixties because the law presumed they would be prone to find a man guilty, simply if they were suffering from PMS. Although present throughout the history of man, homosexuality was thought to be an abnormality, proposed no doubt by religious zealots who conceived it an abomination to the contextual interpretation of the bible, that to be fruitful and multiply, somehow implied that one could not love another of the same sex, or desire them because it might interfere with this directive. A strict interpretation would condemn anyone to take life, regardless of the reason. Thus, homosexuality, throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century was considered a mental illness by the medical profession, and treated accordingly. Therefore, any rights even remotely suggested were snuffed out for anyone who was gay, or even associated with homosexuality. Gender dysphoria was often lumped into this category, even though it dealt with the manner a person presented himself, or herself as feminine or masculine, and not sexual preference. It wasn’t until 1973, that homosexuality was removed by the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and statistical manual of mental illnesses. A myriad of gay organizations then sprang up over the country to present a visible presence of its minority interest in creating laws to make the world safe for them to live and grow in. The LGBT organization began about this time and brought all of the varied (formerly considered deviant) groups together under one umbrella, in order to bring about positive changes in the laws. Like the feminist and sufferettes before them, these gay organizations must mold the attitudes of the population to modify the tenets of an outdated patriarchal binary gender system that presents a bar to full acceptance, and to gain the protections in the law for their interests. Here, the internet, world wide web, that spawned the  information age is a force not fully considered. It shows the binary gender system to be as archaic and misplaced as when intelligent men believed and argued that the world was flat. Its influence has tapped into the conscious of Americans and educated them. Polls are showing support for gay initiatives in numbers too strong to ignore. It can only mean that most persons are coming to realize that laws that divine rights based upon anatomical sex, are archaic and unproductive. It is hard to believe that we once killed women, and children, and burned them at the stake, legally in this country, kept men enslaved, and prevented women from wearing pants. There are no witches to burn at the stake in the name of the State, to protect the public, the only thing that need be burned is ignorance, and intolerance.  In the next few days, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to decide whether the protections of marriage can be provided to all citizens, regardless of their anatomical  sex, and equally as important, whether such considerations will be enforced in each state and given full faith and credit from one state to another, where a married couple may move, because of their job, from Massachusetts, where they were married, to a state like Mississippi, where they have a law denouncing same sex marriage and thus, as a matter of public policy, refuse to recognize the marriage.  The rule of law would dictate that America embrace the values it has adhered to from the beginning, not to allow oppression upon minority interests based upon outdated principles. I predict that the court will not shirk its responsibility, set the standing issue aside and answer the question that is apparently the rule of law already and that rights of all its citizens to marry is fundamental, and that each should enjoy the rights thereunder, in every state in the union, without fear of reprisal. The rule of law is nothing more than the American principle that justice is treating all people fairly, regardless of race, sex, religious beliefs, gender or sexual preference. American values demand justice to be evenly distributed throughout all of the states that comprise its union.    


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