Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some thoughts on DOMA

Pres. Obama's recent decision to cease defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act has opened the door for some interesting conversations.

So, in the words of out fearless leader, "let me be clear."

I've mentioned on two TAC website posts that I agree with Obama's decision. And I do. Although for completely different reasons. I hold DOMA unconstitutional because there exists no enumerated power giving Congress the authority to regulate marriage. Therefore, under the 10th Amendment, those decisions should remain at the state level.

But the DOJ uses different reasoning, arguing same-sex marriage should receive the same rights and protections as traditional marriages across the U.S.under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This simply represents another shade of federal regulations and stretches the amendment far beyond its intent. The feds have no more authority to require same-sex marriage than they do forbid it. Again, each state should resolve the matter as it sees fit and determine for itself how it defines and handles the institution of marriage.

I don't think the government has any business involved with marriage at any level. Marriage primarily exists as a religious institution. I am married to my wife before God and I don't really need the state's permission, thank you very much. And quite frankly, I don't think it's any of the state's business if my next door neighbor wants to marry a man. The moral issue remains between that couple and God.

Problems arise because state and federal governments bestow benefits on married people.

At the federal level, married couples enjoy a tax advantage. Create a simplified tax system that treats everybody the same and that problem goes away.

But at the state level, a myriad of issues exist around marriage, including inheritance, child rearing, health care decision making and other benefits. In my opinion, same-sex couples should enjoy these benefits if they enter into a domestic partnership - in essence a civil contract.

So from a political standpoint, I would advocate for a domestic partnership policy that grants the same rights to any domestic partnership...whether it be traditional or same-sex. My wife and I would continue to benefit from our partnership and same-sex couples would also enjoy the same civil treatment.

Keep in mind, this happens at the state level, with each state deciding if it does or doesn't want to create such a policy. Sorry Fed, you have no invitation to this party.

The state doesn't need to "define" marriage at all. It simply needs to protect property and contractual rights.

Let the Church go about doing its job in defining what marriage really is. It seems to me that Christian people spend way too much time trying to get the government do what the Church should be doing. After all, Christ commanded believers to go make disciples, not go out and create a government to force people into conformity.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm a racist. He's a racist. We're all racists

Today we have another shining example of the "nullifiers are a bunch of pro-slavery racists" template, this one courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times.

Diane Roberts parallels some Florida legislators' efforts to nullify EPA water standards with secessionists justifying Florida's efforts to leave the Union to preserve slavery.

Yeah, that's the same.

The Times identifies Roberts as a professor at Florida State University. Given the subject matter, I figured she was probably some type of environmental science professor. I Googled her. Turns out she's an English professor specializing in "southern culture." Kind of makes you wonder how that makes her an expert on the EPA, clean water or the Constitution.

Oh wait, it doesn't.

Adding a delicious teaspoon of irony, Roberts is listed as a Visiting Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Northumbria in England on the FSU website.

That explains a lot.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sticks and stones

It's always somewhat amusing to me that some people cannot seem make a political point without resorting to name-calling.

Dan Casey provides an excellent example in his post The Whole Tenth Amendment business is dumb and crazy. (With all due respect to the framers - I'm sure.)

He proceeds to call me (because I am one of those people he derisively calls a "Tenther") a dope and an ingrnoramus. Oh yeah, and a racist. You can't ever forget to call somebody you disagree with a racist. That one I find particularly amusing, for obvious reasons.

What's particularly funny about Casey's post is that he calls me an "intellectual boob" after demonstrating his own historical ignorance and lack of constitutional knowledge.

I could spend some time rebutting his ridiculous assertions, but one of my fellow intellectual boobs over at the Tenth Amendment Center did a good job of that already. Check it out here.

Stuff like this used to bother me. Perhaps I have developed thicker skin over the last couple of years, but it really doesn't rankle me any more. It just makes me chuckle. I mean seriously, it's really hard to maintain any credibility when you sink to ad hominem attacks while butchering the actual fact of the matter. And your position as a columnist at a major newspaper doesn't automatically bestow said credibility. Just sayin'.

So anyway, now I just content myself to point out their bloviations. Sometimes it's better to just let people talk (or write as the case may be) and put their own ignorance on display.