Ok, quick back story before we get to the good stuff. (If you already know about Jason Rapert and his opposition to marriage equality, or if you just want to read about my dad intellectually beating his ass to his face, you can skip down to the cut point…you’ll see it)
Last month a judge in Arkansas ruled that the state’s anti-gay marriage law was unconstitutional. Spectacular wingnut and state senator Jason Rapert led the charge to try to impeach that judge for “failing his charge to uphold the Constitution.” Rapert then got huffy with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for supposedly misquoting him, so the Gazette gave Rapert space in an issue to say his piece. It is one of the most piss ignorant screeds ever written. I’m not sure there’s a conservative buzz word he missed.
The article basically operates on the concept that the majority rules in every case, even if the Constitution negates the majority’s present whim. So in Jason Rapert’s universe in 1956 schools should’ve been segregated because that’s what the majority voted for (the law was overturned by the judiciary). It’s a lesson on checks and balances that most students learned in 8th grade, but apparently not the guy who is now in the legislature.
Here are some highlights:
First, honoring the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman whether out of a sense of morality or based upon one’s religious faith does not mean that a person hates homosexuals.
Yeah, it just means they’re willing to set aside compassion if god commands it. It’s not that they hate gays, it’s that god says they should be dicks to gay people and they comply. Because that’s better.
Second, I do not personally hate anyone who has chosen a homosexual lifestyle and I believe they should be able to live their lives in peace like anyone else.
People don’t choose to be gay, and even if they did, so what? And that’s great you want them to be able to live their lives in peace (unmolested by the dictates of the discriminatory masses), but what concerns us is that you don’t seem to want them to live as equals to their neighbors. Maybe you don’t hate them, but that’s the type of behavior in which a person who did hate them would engage. If you adopt that behavior, it’s really indistinguishable from hating them.
Third, marriage is integral to the concept of family, and research shows that children are given the best opportunity for well-rounded social development when they are raised in homes with a mother and father. I have read that children raised by their mother and father are less likely to live in poverty or to drop out of school and are more likely to finish college. It is also reported that they have a lower risk of becoming sexually active in their teen years as well. Natural marriage between a man and woman should be protected for the best interests of children and family.
This would come as a surprise to every major medical body on earth who says the exact opposite. The APA sums it up nicely:
APA President Donald N. Bersoff, PhD, JD, noted that the association has a long history of supporting equal access to legal marriage based on years of scientific research. “There is no scientific basis for denying marriage to same-sex couples particularly when research indicates that marriage provides many important benefits,” Bersoff said. “The research shows that same-sex couples are similar to heterosexual couples in essential ways and that they are as likely as opposite-sex couples to raise mentally healthy, well-adjusted children.”
Joining APA in filing the Windsor and Perry briefs were: the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Medical Association; California Medical Association; American Psychiatric Association; American Psychoanalytic Association; and National Association of Social Workers. Also joining the Windsor brief were: the New York City and New York state chapters of the National Association of Social Workers and the New York State Psychological Association. Also joining the Perry brief were the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; the California Chapter of NASW and the California Psychological Association.
So now that Rapert knows that the research confirms the opposite of what he said, and since it’s presumed he’s willing to follow the research wherever it leads (since that was one of his cited reasons for opposing marriage equality), Sen. Rapert will change his mind now, right?
Of course not, because…
Fourth, the tactics of intimidation toward those who object to same-sex marriage, including comparisons to racism, are unfair, unwarranted and shameful. When I was invited to join over 100 African American pastors on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol just a few days ago as they took a public stand for marriage between one man and one woman, that argument began to fall completely apart. Many African Americans believe in the God-ordained sanctity of marriage and are offended by the comparison made to racism. The reason activists like to make the association with racism is to demonize all those who want to protect the institution of marriage upon which the family unit is built in our society.
Yeah, how could anybody ever compare one class being treated like second-class citizens to another? And that some African American pastors are now willing to endorse discrimination of another sect of Americans doesn’t demonstrate that it’s not discrimination, it demonstrates the power of your holy book to suppress our compassion for our neighbors.
In response another Arkansas Judge, Wendell Griffen, posted a lovely retort on his facebook page (seriously, read the whole thing and smile):
Although he professed to base his objection to recent rulings by my colleague Judge Chris Piazza that declared unconstitutional Arkansas laws which limit marriage licenses to persons who are heterosexual on religious grounds, Mr. Rapert has no superior claim to represent the Creator, whether purporting to speak as a Christian or otherwise. However, I do not think he was offered such a prominent platform (lead of the Sunday editorial section) on that basis.Rather, Rapert’s major premise (and the one that warrants a rejoinder) is the false view that the will of a majority defines what is just. The great evil (and I use that word deliberately) of Rapert’s mindset is one long shared and touted by the publisher and editorial leadership of the Democrat-Gazette, namely, that might (here articulated as the collective judgment of 750,000 voters) makes something right. This is the error to be confronted, challenged, and discredited, for that is the upshot of Rapert’s essay.
Rapert’s appeal to sectarianism is both disingenuous and pernicious. Like any demagogue, he knows how to appeal to base fears, superstition, and falsehoods about homosexuality. He enlisted the company of like-minded black Christian clergy to create a visual image intended to make his major premise acceptable across racial lines. Of course, a false premise is false no matter who accepts it, but that’s of no concern to Rapert or the editorial staff of the Democrat-Gazette.
However, I have no reason or desire to engage Rapert’s essay on sectarian grounds. We should not treat his essay as anything more than it is, a wrong-headed attempt to dignify and justify oppressive secular laws about a civil right–the right to obtain a marriage license.
On that issue, Judge Piazza’s rulings are both clear and indisputable. The issue of marriage equality involves fundamental justice, not religious orthodoxy, dogma, doctrine, or practice. It is common knowledge to everyone, including Mr. Rapert, that no religious community issues marriage licenses. There is no sectarian or faith-based requirement which people must satisfy to obtain a marriage license. No religious official or community is obligated to solemnize any marriages (whether between same sex or different sex couples), nor can the government compel such a thing.
If Rapert does not know this his ignorance is inexcusable. If he knows it, his claims are nothing more than a crass attempt to use religion as an excuse for bigotry and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
*** SKIP TO HERE IF YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT JASON RAPERT AND HIS OPPOSITION TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY ***
So we get to today, when another author at the Gazette took Rapert to task. Sen. Rapert then came into the comment section where father has been sparring with him, like a shark sparring with a bluegill. For instance, Rapert said:
As for the current controversy over judicial activism in Arkansas, the judge clearly breached his duty to uphold the Arkansas Constitution and the will of 750,000 voters who supported the Arkansas Marriage Amendment. The judge also ignored the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. Ramsey 1885 which stated in the Court’s opinion “For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate States of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.”
Judge Piazza went too far. He decided he knew better than 750,000 Arkansas voters, the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court and the sitting Supreme Court justices who decided specifically NOT to strike a blow against the long standing precedent of states rights to define marriage within their jurisdictions.
Sen. Jason Rapert
Father (23Cal) fired back with:
“As for the current controversy over judicial activism in Arkansas, the judge clearly breached his duty to uphold the Arkansas Constitution and the will of 750,000 voters who supported the Arkansas Marriage Amendment.” It isn’t the job of the judiciary to “uphold the will of 750,000 voters”; it is the job of the judiciary to make sure that the whim of that 750,000 is CONSTITUTIONAL and does not break the existing law. Like 14 federal judges IN A ROW, Piazza saw quite clearly that the Arkansas Marriage Amendment did not meet that criteria. Under the Supremacy Clause, Arkansas laws and amendments must be legal under U.S. Constitution. This amendment is not. As Jake pointed out, Piazza’s oath is to uphold BOTH constitutions, and the U.S. one always overrides.
As to “….union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony….” “Holy” has no place in established jurisprudence of the Constitutional separation of church and state. “Holy” has nothing to do with CIVIL marriage. You bible thumpers need to learn to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and CIVIL marriage is clearly Caesar’s.*
Trying to use incidental verbiage in a 130 year old opinion about how polygamy and bigamy affected voting rights in the Utah territory before it even became a state is laughable in regard to the issue of same sex marriage now.
The only precedent that was set was that polygamists and bigamists wouldn’t be allowed to register to vote, not that one man and one woman was the only marriage allowed under law. To take it out of context as Rapert did is disingenuous at best, if not out and out fraudulent.
“….. the sitting Supreme Court justices who decided specifically NOT to strike a blow against the long standing precedent of states rights to define marriage within their jurisdictions.” The SCOTUS typically avoids sweeping decisions that it has not been asked to make in a case, as they have not had a case that required them to “define marriage”. Nor did Piazza “define marriage”. Piazza ruled on citizens receiving equal treatment under the law, and that CIVIL marriage had to be accessible to same sex couples in order to receive equal treatment under the law.
Rapert clearly didn’t expect people to research his claim. Whoops. I’ll be enjoying the show. I might even weigh in to keep dad from having all the fun.
And lucky for Jason Rapert: most people have to pay for basic Civics lessons. I guess there are perks to being a bigot in power…