As part of our multi-part colloquy regarding whether Martin Cothran is, in fact, a gigantic bigot for wanting to take away marriages from 18,000 gay people married in California, the Disco. Inst. blogger wonders:
Isn’t the whole debate about whether they are marriages in the first place?
PROP 8: ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.
But really, all you need to know about Cothran comes from this sentence, which is wrong in about a brazillion ways:
Josh Rosenau, who teaches at the ever more ludicrous National Association for Science Education (NASE) and…
First, I am not a teacher. I do like to think that I educate people, but I also like to think that words mean things, so I wouldn’t refer to myself as a teacher. Second, we are known as NCSE, and if Sesame Street teaches us nothing else, “C” stands for cookie. I, therefore, work for the National Cookie for Science Education; that’s good enough for me. I wrote the previous post in the Salt Lake City airport, and wrote this one in a hotel in Idaho. These opinions reflect the position of NACSE to the same extent they represent that of the Mormon Church and the Red Lion Hotel.
Cothran later insists:
Same-sex couples were never able to marry precisely because marriage was always understood to be–by definition–between a man and a woman.
Oh, and Martin, the word isn’t “miscagenation.” It’s “miscegenation.” HTH, HAND.
Interracial marriage never violated the definition of the word “marriage.” The argument in miscagenation [sic] was that people of different races shouldn’t be married because of whatever racist belief that is based on. The argument in same-sex marriage is that people of the same sex literally can’t be married because that not even what marriage is.
I dunno, because the Virginia law said:
It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this act, the term “white person” shall apply only to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian;
which seems to define marriage to exclude inter-racial marriage. And when a governor asked the Registar of Vital Statistics (responsible for enforcing these rules) to ease off on Native Americans, the Registrar replied that “I am unable to see how it is working any injustice upon them or humiliation for our office to take a firm stand against their intermarriage with white people, or to the preliminary steps of recognition as Indians with permission to attend white schools and to ride in white coaches.” Thus, the anti-miscegenation laws are as just as Martin Cothran is not a bigot.
Similarly, a California law overturned in 1948 stated that “All marriages of white persons with negroes, Mongolians, members of the Malay race, or mulattoes are illegal and void.” Sounds like a definition of marriage based on race, doesn’t it.?
What ever became of those laws…
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 … 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 … discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry or not marry, a person … resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Yes, I omitted some explicit references to race from 1967’s Loving v. Virginia. If Cothran wants to justify the claim that racial discrimination is different from anti-gay discrimination, that’s fine, but he has to make an actual argument.
The law in California was overturned in 1948 on the basis that “Marriage is thus something more than a civil contract subject to regulation by the state; it is a fundamental right of free men. There can be no prohibition of marriage except for an important social objective and by reasonable means.” The 1948 Court added: “the right to marry is the right to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice.” Note that I’ve omitted no explicit references to race.
I note also that this 1948 definition of marriage does not include any reference to sexuality. Furthermore, no one, Cothran or otherwise, has offered “an important social objective” which is served by taking away the right of certain people to marry based on their sexuality. It is bigotry, plain and simple.
And that’s what the California Supreme Court ruled earlier this year:
our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.
That works for me, and I hope that the Court will rule that this basic constitutional right cannot be taken away by a majority vote. If Cothran doesn’t want to be called a bigot, I invite him to suggest an alternative that captures his prejudiced and intolerant attitude toward his fellow human beings. Unlike “faggot,” though, “bigot” is not considered a pejorative slur. Furthermore, a gay person is not “1. A bundle of sticks, twigs, or small branches of trees bound together” (OED).