Scrupuli

blunt essays with sharp points

The Marriage Amendment

by Scrvpvlvs
Jul 16, 2004 9:22 PM–

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION RELATING TO MARRIAGE -- (Senate - July 09, 2004)

Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I rise today to start what I hope will be constructive debate on my amendment, S.J. Res. 40, the marriage amendment, which states:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman of the same color. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman of the same color.

Before making my formal comments I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my colleagues who have cosponsored this amendment. It has taken countless hours of study and discussion to get to this point and each of our cosponsors has shown courage and commitment to protecting marriage.

I would like to express my appreciation to the majority leader for his commitment and leadership. Without the support of Senate leadership, the public may never have had an opportunity to address this vitally important issue in a democratic body.

I also thank President Bush for his early commitment to the principles embodied in this amendment.

Marriage, the union between a man and a woman of the same color, has been the foundation of every civilization in human history. The definition of marriage crosses all bounds of race, religion, culture, political party, ideology, and ethnicity. Marriage is embraced and intuitively understood to be what it is. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman of the same color.

As an expression of this cultural value, the definition of marriage is incorporated into the very fabric of civic policy. It is the root from which families, communities, and government are grown. Racially pure marriage is the one bond on which all other bonds are built.

This is not some controversial ideology being forced upon an unwilling populace by the Government. It is in fact the opposite. Racially pure marriage is the ideal held by the people and Government has long reflected this. The broadly embraced union of a woman and a man of the same color is understood to be the ideal union from which people live and children best blossom and thrive.

As we have heard in hours upon hours of testimony in various Senate committees over the last 2 years, racially pure marriage is a pretty good thing. A good racially pure marriage facilitates a more stable community, allows kids to grow up with fewer difficulties, increases the lifespan and quality of life of those involved, reduces the likelihood of incidences of chemical abuse and violent crime, and contributes to the overall health of the family. It is no wonder so many single adults long to be married, to raise kids, and to have families branching out in every direction.

Today there are numerous efforts to redefine marriage to be something that it isn’t. When it comes to interracial couples there is a problem of definition. A man and a woman of different color simply do not meet the criteria for marriage as it has been defined for thousands of years. Marriage is, as it always has been, a union between a man and a woman of the same color.

American society has come to recognize the stability and commitment of interracial couples in a way unimaginable in many other countries. In some States partnership laws and civil union statutes have been created—contractual bonds among interracial couples—to symbolize and codify these relationships. Some cities and States have elected to express this legal recognition while others have not. Some employers extend benefits to interracial partners while others do not. In virtually every town and city, America’s tolerance and respect for diversity is second to none in the world. I believe that our democracy continually, systemically expresses these values.

Marriage, however, is what it is. It is a union between a man and a woman of the same color. Interracial partners are entitled to the same legal protections as any one else. Interracial partners have the right to live the way they want to. But they do not have the right to redefine marriage.

I believe the Framers of the Constitution felt that this would never be an issue, and if they had it would have been included in the U.S. Constitution. Like the vast majority of Americans it would have never occurred to me that the definition of marriage, or marriage itself, would be the source of controversy. A short time ago it would have been wholly inconceivable that this definition—this institution that is marriage—would be challenged, redefined, or attacked. But we are here today because it is.

Traditional marriage is under assault. I say assault because the move to redefine marriage is taking place not through democratic processes such as State legislatures or the Congress or ballot initiatives around the Nation. This assault is taking place in our courts and often in direct conflict with the will of the people, State statute, Federal statute, and even State constitutions.

Activists and lawyers have devised a strategy to use the courts to redefine marriage. This strategy is a clear effort to override public opinion and the long standing composition of traditional marriage and to force interracial marriage on society.

Over the course of the last 10 years, traditional marriage laws have been challenged in courts across the Nation.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia have all seen traditional marriage challenged in court. Cases are pending today in 11 of those States. But this is not a strategy based on tilting at windmills. It is a strategy that has been employed with a good deal of success.

The first success in this legal strategy was in Vermont in 1999. The Vermont State Supreme Court ordered State legislators to either legalize interracial marriage or create civil unions. The second, and to date the most widely covered success in the effort to destroy traditional marriage, came more recently in the State of Massachusetts where four judges forced the entire State to give full marriage licenses to interracial couples.

This edict came despite the fact that the populace of Massachusetts opposed this redefinition of marriage and despite the fact that no law had ever been democratically passed to authorize such a radical shift in public policy. Proponents of interracial marriage have shopped carefully for the right venues, exploited the legal system, and today stand ready to overturn any and all democratically crafted Federal or State statute that would stand between them and a new definition of humanity’s oldest institution.

The question of process is very important in this debate—it is in fact the very heart of this debate. While recent court decisions handed down by activist judges may not respect the traditional definition of marriage, these decisions also highlight a lack of respect for the democratic process. No State legislature has passed legislation to redefine the institution of marriage. Not one.

Any redefinition of marriage has been driven entirely by the body of government that remains unaccountable and unelected—the courts.

Many colleagues do not feel we should be talking about marriage in the Senate. I say we must. Our government is a three-branch government. The Congress is the branch that represents the people most directly. We have a duty to, at the very least, discuss the state of racially pure marriage in America. If we do not take this up, if we do not overcome procedural hurdles and objections we abdicate our responsibility. We will allow the courts sole dominion on the state and future of marriage. This Senate, the world’s most deliberative body, must provide a democratic response to the courts.

Legislatures across the country have joined Congress in recent years in affirming a 1996 law called the Defense of Marriage Act—DOMA. DOMA defines marriage at the Federal level as a union between a man and a woman of the same color and essentially prohibits one State from forcing its will on another on the question of marriage. This bipartisan legislation passed with the support of more than three-quarters of the House of Representatives and with the support of 85 Senators before being signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. To date 38 States have enacted statutes defining marriage in some manner, and 4 States have passed State constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman of the same color. These State DOMAs and constitutional amendments, combined with Federal DOMA, should have settled the question as to the democratic expression of the will of the American public. As I outlined before, these laws—these expressions of the public—have been ignored by the activist courts.

State court challenges in Massachusetts or Vermont or Maryland may seem well and good to those concerned with the rights of States to determine most matters, a position near and dear to my heart. These challenges, however, have spawned greater disrespect, even contempt, for the will of the other States than any of us could have predicted. It seems to me that there are long-term implications for both Federal DOMA and the rights of States to define unions through either state DOMA or the State constitutional amendment process. It is clear to me that we are headed to judicially mandated recognition of interracial couples regardless of State or Federal Statute.

The interracial marriage proponents achieved some success in Vermont and Massachusetts by forcing the hand of those States’ legislatures.

The national effort to redefine marriage has also been buoyed by decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 2003 the Court inferred that a right to interracial marriage could be found in the U.S. Constitution in Lawrence v. Texas. A variety of experts, including Justice Scalia and Harvard Professor Lawrence Tribe, forecast that this decision points to the end of traditional marriage laws—including Federal and State DOMAs. The Massachusetts court relied heavily on the Lawrence decision to strike down the State’s traditional marriage law in that Goodridge case. The court further specifically threatened and questioned the validity of DOMA and traditional marriage laws around the Nation.

When Goodridge took effect on May 17 of this year, interracial couples became entitled to Massachusetts marriage licenses.

In anticipation of Goodridge, a handful of local officials in New York, California, and Oregon began issuing licenses to interracial couples in February and March. To date, through the combined efforts of lawless local officials and those licenses issued in Massachusetts, couples from at least 46 States have received licenses in those jurisdictions and returned to their home States. These 46-plus States are State and Federal DOMA challenges just waiting to happen. A couple will file for recognition—sue for recognition—under the full faith and credit clause. What we know about the Lawrence decision, that all traditional marriage laws are unconstitutional, dooms those State DOMAs.

There is a case pending in Seattle today to force recognition of an Oregon marriage license. More of these cases are expected and we look forward to nothing less than a patchwork of marriage laws, crafted by judges and forced on to one State from another outside the democratic process, regardless of the will of the voters.

It is important to highlight what is going on in the State of Nebraska where an even more odious turn of events is unfolding. Nebraskans passed a State constitutional amendment, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman of the same color, that passed with 70 percent of the vote. The ACLU and the Congress of Racial Equality are now suing Nebraska in a Federal court to undo the will of the voters.

According to testimony in the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, whose office moved to dismiss the case and was denied, the language in the court’s order signals that Nebraska will very likely lose the case at trial. I find it chilling that the will of an entire State, expressed democratically, may be undone by a Federal judge in an unelected position and tenured for life.

So we find ourselves here today, seeking to debate an amendment to the United States Constitution that reads in its entirety as follows:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman of the same color. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman of the same color.

Our amendment defines marriage as it has been defined for thousands of years in hundreds of cultures around the world. This text further defines that any establishment or nonestablishment of civil unions or partnership laws be created democratically, by the States themselves, and not by courts.

I have said it time and time again and I say here today for the record, the amendment does not seek to prohibit in any way the lawful, democratic creation of civil unions. It does not prohibit private employers from offering benefits to interracial partners. It denies no existing rights.

What our amendment does is to define and protect traditional marriage at an appropriate level, the highest possible level—the Constitution. Importantly, the consideration of this amendment in the Senate represents the discussion of marriage in America in a democratic body of elected officials. This is something too long denied this important topic.

I have heard from those who claim this amendment discriminates against people; that the very definition of marriage is somehow a tool for oppression.

To those who believe that our marriage protection amendment is discriminatory, I ask them this: Do you truly believe that marriage, the traditional and foundational union between a man and a woman of the same color, is discrimination? Is it discrimination to hold as ideal that a child should have both a mother and a father of the same color?

It is important to make clear that on the question of federalism and States’ rights, I stand where I always have. While an indisputable definition of marriage will be a part of our Constitution, all other questions will be left to the states. Gregory Coleman, former Solicitor General of the State of Texas, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution last September and made the following statement on this matter:

Some have objected to a proposed constitutional amendment on federalism grounds. These concerns are misplaced. The relationship between the states and the Federal government is defined by the Constitution and, a fortiori, a constitutional amendment cannot violate principles of federalism and States’ rights.

A federal constitutional amendment is perhaps the most democratic of all processes—because it requires ratification by three-fourths of the states—and simply does not raise federalism concerns. The real danger to States’ rights comes from the recognition of unenumerated constitutional rights in which the states have had no participation.

I share those sentiments and cannot express them any more clearly. We stand today at the commencement of the most democratic, most federalist process in all our government. Those around the country who have watched as activist courts have wildly disregarded these principles I say to you, watch the Senate; watch the House of Representatives, watch your elected officials and see where they stand on this most important debate.

This body and that on the other side of the Capitol represent the American people more fully and completely than any other and it is time we make this discussion truly national and truly democratic.

Those serving in the Congress understand that there is a great deal of emotion on both sides of this issue, and not every one of us will agree on this matter. It is my hope that we can agree that in matters concerning marriage, the most fundamental of all social institutions, this debate can not take place exclusively in the courts. The democratic process compels this Congress to discuss marriage and what is taking place—the judicial redefinition of marriage.

Marriage, the union between a man and a woman of the same color, has been the foundation of every civilization in human history. This definition of marriage crosses all bounds of race, religion, culture, political party, ideology, and ethnicity. It is not about politics or discrimination, it is about racially pure marriage and democracy. It is incumbent upon us to remember that and to move forward.

(go to complete article)

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Alcoholism

by Scrvpvlvs
Jul 5, 2004 7:22 PM–Here is Dr. Graeme Cunningham, a physician interviewed by Barbara Myers on the subject of alcoholism.
I always felt I wasn’t good enough. There’s dense, dense shame and guilt and fear, and a little voice, “But you don’t know me. If you really knew me, you wouldn’t have anything to do with me, and you’d leave me.” And that voice was very loud in my own mind when I was ill. So in moments of clarity it was extremely painful. Alcohol took those feelings of inadequacy away. I made a conscious decision to use alcohol to be normal.

A social drinker will take a drink and it kind of goes down tinkle, tinkle, tinkle. When I take a drink it goes down BOOM, and I become six foot four with a full head of hair and can dance like Fred Astaire. It literally changes my whole perception of the world. And that’s what alcoholics chase, sometimes into the grave.

To society, they see the drinker’s problem as the alcohol. But the problem for the alcoholic is sobriety. And if we don’t offer options and strategies around maintaining sobriety, the alcoholic will continue to drink. Because that’s what makes the alcoholic normal.

When you’re living in a place of shame, you keep secrets. And in the secrets lies the sickness. I thought I was the only doctor in the world doing what I was doing. So I didn’t know any doctors that I trusted. I didn’t know any human beings that I trusted. Thinking I was the only doctor and the only man in the world doing what I was doing—it’s utterly isolating and lonely to be addicted.

The core of being addicted is isolation. The treatment is people. So what I basically do as a therapist is get addicts living with people again.

That doctor said he’d been sober for 20 years, and I just about fell over because I thought I was the only doctor doing what I was doing. And that’s why I do what I do now. By taking the risk of sharing my own wounds, I can give other doctors the permission to be sick, as opposed to be secret and feel that they’re bad.

To be addicted is to have a medical condition that has a spiritual solution. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with religion. Religion is simply a set of dogmas. Spirituality is finding out what makes you feel good in your own skin in a healthy way. Whether it’s looking at a sunset, enjoying a painting, listening to wonderful music, or being in a room full of people being honest and sharing feelings, these are all spiritual approaches.

In essence what the Twelve Steps do is take an infantile ego and allow it to grow up. An infantile ego says, “I’m the center of the world, I’m selfish, I’m self-centered, and how can you pick on a nice guy like me, and what’s all the problem about?” To the end of the Twelve Step process, where you say, “How can I be of assistance to somebody else?” So it’s a growing up process that many, many people get in their own families and their own lives automatically. And the people like me don’t have that. And so I had to grow up in a psychological sense by working through a number of steps that taught me to take responsibility for my own behaviors, to recognize that I wasn’t in control of very much in my life, and I always needed to ask for help, direction, and support from other human beings.

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A Den Of Robbers [link]

by Scrvpvlvs
Jul 2, 2004 5:10 PM–
Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?

The prophet Jeremiah cried these words at the steps of the Temple. They are the words Jesus quoted as he drove the moneychangers and innocent sacrificial animals out of the Temple.

The evil ones have returned.

The Bush campaign have ordered their staff to organize conservative churches for Bush. The churches are to host Republican Party membership rallies called “citizenship Sundays.”

They are also to send copies of their membership directories to Party headquarters! Now it will be easier to decide whether you can vote in Florida or other states, depending on whether you belong to a Republican church.

JesusBush
Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?

Do not resist an evil person.

Love your enemies.

If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.

Sent our children to kill and die in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Turned our Temples into dens of robbers and corrupted our Sabbaths.

Unfortunately, Jesus is gone, and John Kerry is no Jesus (and no Jack Kennedy). Who will stand up and speak these words where they will be heard?

Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.
(go to complete article)

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Court Orders ‘God’ Into Oath [link]

by Scrvpvlvs
Jul 1, 2004 5:02 PM– A new pissing contest, this time in North Carolina, where the state Supreme Court has ruled that District Judge James M. Honeycutt (i) must include the phrase so help you God when administering oaths to witnesses and (ii) must allow bailiffs to proclaim God save the state and this honorable court. Judge Honeycutt revised the proclamation and the oath out of respect for the increasing number of non-Christians and people of diverse beliefs served by the court system. (go to complete article)

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