The Pursuit of Happiness

If the renaissance began Nov 5, 2008, why then are we still confused over why denying same sex couples the full right of marriage is a fight for civil rights? 

We are dealing with civil law and not religious doctrine. Our government is not a theocracy. We are a nation of civil laws and not religious laws although they sometimes look the same. Because the majority of our civil codes mimic what you would find in religious doctrine does not in any way signal that we are a nation governed by religious doctrine.

Our laws are there to protect each citizen’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is translated to mean that no man shall harm another in his life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness. These aspects are listed among the inalienable rights of man. Since our discussion focuses on California Ballot Proposition 8 let’s do some research. The “pursuit of happiness” is set forth by the constitution of California thereby making it enforceable as a fundamental right. It states in its declaration of rights:

SECTION 1.

All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights.  Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

With this declaration of rights for the people of California this means that no man shall interfere or harm another in his pursuit of those inalienable rights. The inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness is the right of men to pursue their happiness in any manner not inconsistent with the equal rights of others.

“The United States Supreme Court, in recognizing that marriage is a fundamental right, stated that “the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness.”

We should take care not to impose religious definitions of marriage on our civil codes. This creates problems because the act is viewed differently even among the religions. As an example marriage in Catholic Church is a sacrament which means it is sanctioned by the church and is both a natural and supernatural institution. The supernatural aspect is hardly compatible to our form of secular government. If one is Catholic all the rules governing that sacrament are applied such as being in good standing, union between a male and female (it is curious that no age is implied), not closely related (has changed meanings over time), both partners Christians and at least one catholic (also a change from both had to be Catholic), free of prior marriage (meaning the spouse must be deceased or a church nullity was granted). As a Catholic one is married through the church and that marriage is then recognized by the State. So at a minimum Catholics have a civil and a religious union where the civil union is the state’s recognition of the religious union. The religious union satisfies the spiritual objectives of the church however it is the legal union that is enforceable by our government.

There have been many discussions over the differences between the struggles of the Gay Community and African-American Struggles. In our form of government these comparisons are unnecessary. Our Federal and State constitutions make no distinctions between rights. They protect and guarantee all civil rights equally for all of its citizens and classes of citizens. No civil right has priority or outweighs another no matter how heinous the effects endured by the loss of that civil right is. Whether you’re owned by another as in the case of African-Americans or you were denied your right to life in the case of Matthew Shepard because of some class membership. Both are considered EQUAL in protection under the laws of this nation.

So to argue how the denial of the civil rights of African-Americans is different and more important than those sought by Gays even if the right is simply equality in marriage is a specious argument. We must be careful that the struggles of African-Americans in their fight for equality do not become the yardstick for the legitimacy of other civil rights struggles. The systematic denial of any right to ANY citizen is an offense based on factors like socio-economic background, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion. Race alone is not the only factor. I certainly understand the emotion but our system demands OBJECTIVITY. A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with, no matter how big or small, by another gives rise to an action for injury. Discrimination occurs when ANY civil right of ANY CITIZEN is denied or interfered with because of membership in a particular group or class.

The California Judiciary has to determine if the enactment and enforcement of PROP 8 is a RISK FACTOR for the civil liberties of ANY California citizen or citizen group. If it is found to be, then it will NOT be enacted. That means that if the good citizens of California decide that they want to amend their constitution to define “state sanctioned” marriage, then it will be necessary to follow the process for amending the state constitution because the California Supreme Court has published a brief on this matter which means that the denial of marriage to same sex couples is a interference of their pursuit of happiness and is therefore they MUST be protected under the constitution of the state of California.

In order to change marriage rules and guidelines it will be necessary to amend state constitutions in order to codify whatever religious beliefs that are being sought to restrict marriage to an act between a male and female.

There have been many comparisons between pedophilia, polygamy, child marriage, etc but it is important to note that these acts are ILLEGAL and until the state of California outlaws homosexuality and makes it a crime it is UNFAIR and DISHONESST for religious leaders such as Rick Warren to casually make comparisons between these acts and homosexuality. This demonstrates ignorance on his part that is borne out in a form of bigotry.

There are very basic formulas underlying our constitutional form of government and they work quite well when executed properly. Here is an example:

If the Constitution guarantees and protects 10 rights for its citizens, then ALL of its CITIZENS are guaranteed those 10 rights until the constitution is amended to remove privileges to those 10 rights for an individual, class, group, etc.

Marriage between same sex partners cannot be restricted until homosexuality is made unlawful. Without this there is not a court in this land that will interfere or harm another man in his pursuit of happiness.

Wildweezle(© Wildweezle Enterprises)

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My Thoughts on Mr. Warren

Mr. President-Elect,

[Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to “come together,” even when there’s disagreement on social issues. “That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about,” he said. Obama also said he’s known to be a “fierce advocate for equality” for gays and lesbians, and will remain so.]

Being a “fierce advocate” for equality and ENABLING those who actively seek to deny equal rights to others is incongruous.  A leader would recognize these differences. When Gays supported, contributed, and volunteered to support you they did it with the expectation that you among the many would be sensitive to the fight for their rights. The clamor over Rick Warren isn’t about “coming together” Mr. Obama, this is about equal rights. I would remind you that many gave their lives to achieve the level of equality for African-Americans that is now being realized in your opportunity to serve us as president.

Your response demonstrates that you don’t understand the Gay Community’s concern or worse, you’re ambivalent in your commitment to the equality and dignity of all people. Are you really asking the Gay Community to come together and PRAY with those who actively work to take away their rights and who would have LGBT Americans legally defined as second class citizens?

Mr. Obama the bubble is beginning to close around you.

Rhetoric about equal rights is not as convincing as actions to support equal rights. The Gay Community isn’t asking for anything special. Regardless of Rick Warren’s or anyone else’s personal beliefs about homosexuality, Gays will always be present in our society. Rather than marginalize and disenfranchise LGBT Americans, and then condemn them for being marginalized and disenfranchised, would it not make sense to allow Gays access to the Civil Institutions that the rest of us have? Please tell me how doing this is going to affect you or Mr. Warren? These Americans only want to show commitment and responsibility to someone they love.

Rick Warren’s belief is that if you deny Gays these basic civil rights that they will somehow go away. Homosexuality isn’t going away Mr. Obama so we may as well learn to deal with it in a responsible manner. If we are too uncomfortable in dealing with homosexuality then let’s make it a crime so that we can lock them all up, get them out of the way, and get on with the work of this nation.

There is a danger in your decision. Mr. Warren and his followers are going to find comfort in your invitation. They may even be bolstered by this invitation and find comfort and tacit approval for their campaigns. One of those campaigns is the prevention of Gays having marriage rights. Mr. Warren and his followers are not your supporters. The charade that Mr. Warren staged at his church really was, in fact, a deliberate attempt to discredit you. Why then would you forsake so early the trust and confidence of a group of individuals who overwhelmingly supported you in your run for office and eventually at the polls?

Your effort to be inclusive of those who do not share your views, those who did not support you, those who do not trust you, and those who would discredit you at the first opportunity must not come at the expense of your constituency. For the Gay community, this is exactly what your POLITICAL courtship of Mr. Warren represents. They do not see Mr. Warren as your political associate. They see him as a man with political ambition and fight as manifested in his active support of California Ballot Proposition 8. Understand Mr. Obama that those affected by PROP 8 see it as religious bigotry similar to the bigotry that led to the dishonest attacks that you experienced during the primaries and the general election. These ABOMINATIONS as Mr. Warren would view them came forth to defend you against those unfair attacks, dishonesty, and hypocrisy and in some cases outright lies by those who follow Mr. Warren and his teachings. I trust you understand the sense of betrayal Mr. Obama.

It would not be too different Mr. President-elect, if someone were to ask you if you would be willing to have David Duke and the KKK give the closing benediction at the inauguration. What would your response be? “America needs to come together”? Mr. Warren’s response was that he supported PROP 8 in support of Free Speech. This is a dishonest response and the Reverend knows this. His support of PROP 8 is based in his views that homosexuality is an abomination. This is the type of hypocrisy that is tearing this nation apart and you Mr. President-elect has willingly allowed yourself to walk into this flak. Your opponents made many charges about your judgment during the campaigns and continue to make them against you. Why give them additional ammunition? Why continue to solidify their case? At some point your actions are going to lead us to believe that they are correct.

My disagreement with your decision goes beyond defending homosexuals. I have serious issues with a man of the cloth who would stand in his pulpit and call for the MURDER of a state figure! In addition, people like Mr. Warren and their cherry-picked rules from the bible caused me hardship in supporting my mother in the autumn of her life. You see Mr. Obama; my mother is my legal dependent. I decided after my father passed-away that I would hold myself responsible for her health and welfare. As my legal dependent I took care of her basic needs like housing, food, medical, etc. I did not want my Mother to only have care provided by the state and what little that my father’s retirement provided. My father would not have wanted that, so maintaining two households would be the challenge I accepted in memory of him.

I’m fought my employer, a very successful corporation, for over 20 years to have my company benefits extended to my mom since she was my legal dependent. After many years of fighting this company I finally gave up. I caved in when the last reason provided to me was, “we do not want to consider this extension because of the potential of it opening up a can of worms”. Mr. Obama, that can of worms at the time, was domestic partnership. The company did not want to consider providing domestic partnership rights and it feared that if it gave into my demands, domestic partnership would be next. These are the values that come from those like Mr. Warren, values that infiltrate the operations of many corporations and our political institutions. They end up having indirect effects like the denial of benefits for legal dependent parents. This caused extreme hardship on me, as my mom towards the latter part of her life required daily medications and expensive medical procedures. I had to buy very expensive insurance coverage in order to ensure that her quality of life did not sink to levels that were unacceptable to me. You know, I would find comfort whenever you would talk about your mother and how she had to argue with insurance companies as she laid on her death bed. I could relate to what you were saying. Wouldn’t it be great if many kids would consider providing for their parents? Mr. Warren and his followers are so caught up in denying rights that they understand the impacts.

I understand your desire to model inclusive behavior but it cannot come with the cost of being exclusive. I understand your desire to model tolerant behavior but it cannot come with the cost of “paling” around with those who are intolerant.  The inauguration is about governance and not religion. Be innovative and remove the invocation and benediction from the program and end this hurt.

Wildweezle (© Wildweezle Enterprises)

How To Lose An Election

Well Team, the weezle has been on lockdown since the election but I’m back ready to take on our new administration and its policies. But before getting into that, I thought we should do a lessons learned exercise to help the Republicans with the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Well to start I can think of 100 reasons why John McCain lost the election. Please add to the list in case I missed some.

100 or more ways in which John McCain lost the election

1.       John McCain

2.       Sarah Palin

3.       Cindy McCain

4.       The Economy

5.       The House of Representatives

6.       Crude Oil

7.       Nursery Rhymes like, “drill-baby-drill”

8.       The Republican Party

9.       Phil Graham

10.   Sean Hannity

11.   Poor judgment

12.   Elisabeth Hasselbeck

13.   Rush Limbaugh

14.   Bill O’Reilly

15.   Homes

16.   Hatred

17.   Deceit

18.   Hypocrisy

19.   George W Bush

20.   Dick Cheney

21.   Rev Wright

22.   Father Michael Pleger

23.   William Ayers

24.   Bernadine Dohrn

25.   “Joe The Plumber”

26.   “Tito The Builder”

27.   Kevin James

28.   Tucker Bounds

29.   Pigs, pit bulls, and moose

30.   The Straight Talk Express

31.   Tina Fey

32.   Katie Couric

33.   David Letterman

34.   The Blackberry

35.   The Computer

36.   The Internet

37.   Knowledge

38.   Intelligence

39.   Education

40.   Community Organizers

41.   Iowa

42.   Ohio

43.   Pennsylvania, especially Western Pennsylvania

44.   Indiana

45.   Wisconsin

46.   Florida

47.   North Carolina

48.   Virginia

49.   New Hampshire

50.   Colorado

51.   Nevada

52.   New Mexico

53.   Kenyan Witchdoctors named Bishop Thomas Muthee

54.   Mitt Romney

55.   Rudy Giuliani

56.   Steve Schmidt

57.   Richard Davis

58.   “My Friends”

59.   Country First

60.   Michelle Bachman

61.   Green Backdrops

62.   Public Campaign Financing

63.   Age and temperament

64.   Town Hall Meetings

65.   Terrorists

66.   Socialists

67.   Poor Judgment

68.   Mike Huckabee

69.   Wall Street

70.   Officer Mike Scott

71.   Keith Olbermann

72.   Rachel Maddow

73.   Miss Buffalo Chip Beauty Pageant

74.   Joe Lieberman

75.   Charlie Crist

76.   Germans

77.   Blogs

78.   Joe Six-pack

79.   Political debates

80.   Iraq

81.   The surge

82.   Iran

83.   Bombs

84.   Sturgis, South Dakota

85.   Rev Rick Warren and the Saddleback Church

86.   “Iranian Al Qaeda Extremists”

87.   “Liberal Conservative Republicanism”

88.   The Bridge to nowhere

89.   Hockey Moms

90.   Religion

91.   Bigotry

92.   Neiman Marcus

93.   Colin Powell

94.   Hurricane Ike

95.   Lipstick

96.   Geography

97.   Wasilla, Alaska

98.   Russia

99.   The whole wide world

100.  And finally, “That one”!