This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOMA and Proposition 8 decision impacts

Congratulations to the people of California and to gay couples everywhere in the United States on this great day!  This is one of the reasons I like living inside the beltway (although the MS-NBC coverage would be the same no matter where I was).  In DC, Congress can now do nothing to hurt the rights of LGBT couples.  There are four remaining issues to address in the wake of these decisions.  


The first is that although it was not at issue in this case, the plain language of the Constitution in Article IV is very clear that states must recognize the actions of other states, including marriages.  The repeal of DOMA means that the provisions letting states not do so are repealed and any judge would be hard pressed to rule against a married gay couple seeking to file their taxes jointly or claim inheritance rights. They might even mean that gay couples can demand marital rights in all states based on the strong decision of the San Francisco Federal District Court in Perry.

The second impact is that by not ruling on the merits of Proposition 8, it is less likely that there will be a push to a national constitutional convention to nullify today's decisions, although it is still possible.  The dream of a right wing convention is dying as fast as the generation who would seek to dominate is, which takes a Human Life Amendment permanently off the table as well.  (Frequent  readers know that a HLA is not needed because abortion can be and is federally limited by statute, but not at the state level, because of the enforcement mechanisms of the 14th Amendment).

The third impact is on the Church.  The DOMA repeal makes it harder for the Church to discriminate against gay employees as employees (although their rights to regulate those in ministry are not changed).  It is quite illogical for the Church as employer to recognize heterosexual civil marriages and not homosexual ones - indeed, this shows that the impulse to do so lies not in morality but in bigotry.

The fourth impact is also on the Church.  The equal protection language and the spread of legal gay marriage makes it more likely that the nature of marriage will change.  As I have previously written, the Church's interest in preserving traditional marriage had as much to do with preserving its own patriarchy in relation to the people in the pews as it does the sexual relations of its gay members.  This issue also includes the practice of blessing marriages that would not otherwise be recognized by the Church formally in a private ceremony.  With a largely gay clergy, this will accelerate, especially as families demand such recognition.  Of course, the Church cannot use the preservation of its dominance over its own members as a legal reason the oppose marriage in Court - that is simply the Church's problem and this generation will not allow the patriarchy to hold sway much longer - especially with a Pope like Francis who puts humility over power.

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