Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Democrat US Senators, Uruguay Evolve Towards Equality

The good news just keeps coming. Individual Democrats in the US Senate have been announcing, one after the other, that they support marriage equality, or at least the limited same-gender freedom to marry. now the country of Uruguay is poised to adopt the limited same-gender freedom to marry. We continue to make progress in the right direction. Keep evolving, Senators!

Here's what I suggest as an announcement in support of full marriage equality...

An adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion, should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any and all consenting adults, without prosecution, harassment, or discrimination.

It is important to remember that, in the US (and much of this applies in other countries as well)...

1. There are adults, and in some cases their children, suffering right now because of discriminatory laws preventing them from marrying or even just being together. If we really care about children, equality, stability, security, and valuing family, we will let people decide for themselves what kind of relationships they will have, including marriage, if they want to marry.

2. As US Supreme Court precedent states, marriage is a fundamental civil right.

3. As Court precedent states, consensual sex is part of the liberty protected by due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.

4. As Court precedent states, when the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, the usual deference to the legislature is inappropriate, and the Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced and the extent to which they are served by the challenged regulation.

5. Freedom of association for consenting adults is a basic Constitutional right. Just as there is no good reason to ban interracial relationships or marriage, there is no good reason to ban same-gender relationships or marriages, polyamorous relationships or polygamous marriages, or consanguinamorous relationships or consanguineous marriages. There is no good reason to limit marriage to narrowly exogamous heterosexual couples.

6. Freedom of religion is a basic Constitutional right. One group’s religion should not deny the rights of other consenting adults to be together or marry. Conversely, some religions recognize or promote marriages currently banned under laws in most or all fifty states, depending on the marriages.

7. A legislation or a Court ruling recognizing relationship rights and full marriage equality for all adults will provide what the Constitution requires: equal protection, rather than a piecemeal approach of this freedom to marry or that form of civil union. Equality just for some, or in some aspects but not others, or in this state but not that state, is not equality. The Constitutional principles of equal protection, freedom of association, freedom of religion, and the right to privacy, along with basic fairness, rational reflection, and compassion, necessitate that the US government ensure the rights of all adults.

8. The momentum within the US, neighboring countries, and the modern world is for marriage equality. Full marriage equality is inevitable, as even many opponents of equality admit. So it is pointless to drag the fight out. The Court can end the uncertainties and inconsistencies, and end the hateful, destructive, confusing, costly state-by-state fights that often pit older generations against younger generations, by putting the US on the right side of history sooner rather than later and recognizing relationship rights for all adults. More and more US states are adopting the limited same-gender freedom to marry. Many others have domestic partnerships or civil unions. Utah criminalizes polyamory while other states allow polyamory but do not protect polyamorists and deny the polygamous and polyamorous freedom to marry. Some states allow first cousins to marry monogamously without restriction, other states allow them to marry with restrictions, some states ban this freedom to marry entirely, and a couple of states even criminalize sex between first cousins. Some states allowing any adults who are closer relatives their sexual rights with each other while other states ban those rights.

9. Full marriage equality will end inequalities and confusion in immigration policies.

10. Recognizing relationships rights, including full marriage equality, for all adults is good for business, as many businesses have publicly stated. Their employees will no longer be treated as second-class citizens, their human resources departments will not have to deal with state-by-state conflicts, and employees will be free to move (temporarily or permanently) from one location to another without facing different restrictions on their relationships.

11. Government employees, including the men and women serving in our military, will not have to face different restrictions on their relationships from place to place.

Nobody should fear being arrested and imprisoned for having a consensual relationship with other adults.

Nobody should be denied the freedom to marry other consenting adults.

There are people who love each other, who have been living as spouses, even have children together, who are denied their rights, who need and want full marriage equality.

Let’s get on the right side of history sooner rather than later, and put the hate, bigotry, and bullying behind us. Elected officials and the US Supreme Court should protect the rights of all adults in all states.
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