Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our enemies' obsession

Two weeks ago I wrote about the landmark 1965 US Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut, which first asserted the existence of a constitutionally protected right to privacy. In that post, I mentioned other cases that reaffirmed and expanded the right to privacy, and how all that will lead inevitably to the US Supreme Court one day ruling on marriage equality:
“The issues raised in all these cases will again come before the Supreme Court, and it could be a case relating to any number of social issues. However, to me it seems most likely that the case will involve the right of same-sex couples to marry, either relating to California’s Proposition 8 or the federal ‘Defense of Marriage Act’.

“When that ruling happens, it will be based, directly or indirectly, on all the cases I’ve mentioned…”
One of those other cases was Eisenstadt v. Baird. On March 22, 1972, the US Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people had the same right to contraception as married people, which is what Griswold was limited to. The Eisenstadt ruling furthered the right to privacy and was based on the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under law.

Well, guess what? The radical right sees that as a turning point that, as blogger Joe.My.God. mockingly put it, “started America down the slut-strewn road to gay marriage.” The “Family” Research Council, designated by the SPLC as an anti-gay hate group, plans to hold an event crying about Eisenstadt. Said the bigots* at the “F”RC:
“On March 22nd, 1972, the Supreme Court undermined the boundaries and benefits of marriage. In the decision Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Court struck down a Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, and implicitly sanctioned unmarried non-procreative sexual intimacy.

While the decision may seem archaic and insignificant by modern sexual standards, Eisenstadt v. Baird dealt a decisive blow to the legal and cultural norm that marriage was the institution for the full expression of the sexual relationship between man and woman. The decision and its legal consequences affect us today. Forty years ago, the Court ruled that unmarried couples could not be denied their birth control. Today, the Federal government is forcing us to share the cost, for said contraception and some states are giving marital status to homosexual relationships. [emphasis added]
Radical right religionists believe the only acceptable form of sexual expression is between a man and woman who are married to each other, and then ideally only to make babies. This is why the catholic church used to say that celibate gay people were okay, just not the ones who lived normal gay lives. Nowadays they draw little distinction, and most fundamentalist protestants have always said being gay itself was “sinful”, celibacy or no. Actually, radical right religionists are far more obsessed with sex than normal people are.

That antique point of view, no matter how sincerely held, is a tough sell in an age in which premarital sex is common and no one seriously expects gay people to live their lives in celibacy. Even the bigots at “F”RC know that.

So, true to form, the bigots throw in some lies: “The Federal government is forcing us to share the cost, for said contraception” is a lie. The issue is whether private employer-provided health insurance will be required to offer contraception, just as nearly all health plans currently pay for Viagra. The cost will be paid by employers/employees, the same as ANY other benefit in employees’ health insurance plans. The bigots’ wording deliberately implies that taxpayers will pay for this (they won’t), and that’s a deception in the nature of a lie. And anyway, if sluts are the problem, why don’t they demand that health insurance not be allowed to cover Viagra? Hypocrisy is the first reason that springs to mind.

I think it’s curious that the bigots at “F”RC choose to pin their blame on Eisenstadt when Griswold started it all rolling. However, since Griswold applied only to married couples, maybe they think that’s okay?

At any rate, Eisenstadt alone was not the basis for any court ruling in favour of marriage equality—it’s only one among that bunch of rulings I noted in my earlier post. Also, since the majority of US states with marriage equality enacted it through their legislatures, all the Supreme Court cases are completely irrelevant. The bigots at “F”RC know all that, of course.

The “F”RC, like their radical right comrades throughout the anti-gay industry, yearn for a society in which men are in full control, women know their place (under their men, literally and figuratively) and gay people don’t exist. Reality, common sense, morality and liberty are what prevents them from forcing their radical theocracy on everyone. Their latest hypocritical bearing of false witness about Eisenstadt is merely part of their ongoing efforts to hoodwink ordinary, mainstream people into being caught in their web.

Fortunately for us all, normal people are far too intelligent to be taken in by the radical extremists of the “F”RC.

*Bigots are people who are actively and obstinately intolerant towards people different from themselves, and who put that animosity into action. Bigots don’t merely hold “differing beliefs”, they put their prejudice into action with the intention of denying freedom and liberty to those they are prejudiced against. Just so we’re clear.

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