The euphoria that came with the recent passing of a bill to permit same-sex marriage in New York was hard-earned and short-lived, it would seem. At least for me. I was thrilled when the text message from the Human Rights Campaign found its way to my cell phone Friday. I was at a sort of Founder’s Day party on Main Street in the cute, little town where I live with my partner and 3 of our shared 7 children. We were there because our youngest girls were competing in a Guitar Hero contest hosted by a man I consider to be like a son-in-law. As you can see, we’re all about family. And this is exactly why the marriage equality issue is so very, very important to me.
The other reason why the issue is important to me is because I am an American. I love this country, though not some of its current practices. I don’t much like that freedom means we have the freedom to break laws, for instance. But we take the good with the bad when we live in a free society. We do our best to keep the bad from overpowering the good, of course, but we must accept that we aren’t going to like certain aspects of our society. There is no perfect Utopia.
After the Vote
“The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” — from NOM website “About” page.
For those who don’t know, NOM is dedicated making sure I can never get married. Well, that’s not entirely true. They would be perfectly okay with me marrying someone I did NOT love, provided that individual has a penis. Wait, no, I’m wrong about that, too. They would be happy if I married someone who was born with a penis. There. I think that covers it.
After the vote in New York, NOM President Brian Brown pledged $2 million dollars to fight against the traitorous republicans in NY who allowed gay marriage to pass. In a press release on the NOM website, Mr. Brown states, “The Republican party has torn up its contract with the voters…” He goes on to accuse NY Republicans (the same ones who tried everything they could think of to stall the vote in the first place) with “selling out” their principles, referring to their actions as “dumb”. Ultimately, he wants the Republicans in New York who may have voted in favor of marriage equality to know that they will suffer the consequences in November.
Why Brian Brown Believes the Representatives Betrayed their Constituents
Mr. Brown, working in his position as President of NOM, hired a survey company to poll a whopping 302 registered voters in the State of New York on the marriage equality issue. They are currently thumping their chests based on the results of these 302 individual registered voters, because 59% of them stated they believed the issue of “same-sex marriage” should be decided by a direct vote of the people, and not by some politician in Albany.
For the record, 57% of those polled agreed that “marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”
When I read this result, I decided to read the entire survey and look at each result for myself. Most of it is pretty straight forward. You can read the entire survey here.
However, I did find some items very interesting. For instance, the largest percentage of respondents, 38% to be exact, was over the age of 60. The next highest group was over the age of 50, coming in at 31%. Sixty-nine per cent of those people who answered the survey were at least 50 years old.
Here is another interesting fact. Sixty-seven per cent of those who took part in the survey are married, legally, in the State of New York.
And what about God? This is a very important question for NOM, considering they are espousing that the entire country should acquiesce to their bible when it comes to marriage. Sixty-seven per cent are Christian, including 35% Catholic. Sixty-three per cent of those surveyed go to church at least 1 time each month. Forty-three per cent go to church at least 1 time per week.
I wonder what the results of the same survey would have been if the phone numbers selected weren’t in a conservative neighborhood full of older Christians who are currently married and identify as “moderate to very conservative” (58%) on the issue of “abortion and gay marriage”. (Placing abortion and gay marriage in the same sentence/question can certainly skew the results of any survey.)
Because of these results, Mr. Brown has immediately assumed that the republicans in the NY State Assembly have betrayed their constituents and he wants them out. If he has his way come November, he will have them removed from office by a majority of the vote. It should be noted that Mr. Brown does not, and as far as I can see never has, lived in New York.
Why the Marriage Equality Issue Should Not be a Matter of Popular Vote
Here is the kicker, folks. None of the information gleaned from Mr. Brown’s survey matters when it comes right down to my right to marry the woman of my dreams.
We live in a republic, not a democracy. We do have a democratic republic, and we do vote for our representatives and we can vote on certain referendums; like how much to spend on road repairs in our home town and how much the city should be allowed to charge for water.
When it comes to matters of civil law, however, the popular vote has absolutely nothing to do with it. The majority cannot vote away the civil rights of any minority. Organizations like NOM can survey all the conservative, Christian neighborhoods they want to, but it does not change the fact that this is not a citizen vote issue. This is a matter of constitutional (not religious) law. The focus of the issue is whether two citizens of the United States have the right to marry, not whether our personal opinion is that they are breaking a religious law.
Placing matters of civil rights on a ballot, or punishing those who chose to vote in accordance with constitutional law vs. religious conviction while charged with the responsibility of making our laws, is banishing the idea of a free society. We don’t have to like the choices that others make. We don’t have to like anything we don’t want to. We are free to be bigots, and we’re free to be fair-minded, loving people. And if we are going to be truly free, we must acknowledge that we all have the same rights to equality, including marriage, in our pursuit of happiness.