Thursday, February 23, 2012

Citizen's Rights are not exclusive!

Yesterday, a bit more bark was whittled off the tree of intolerance that has grown in Washington, D.C. and in the United States. U. S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White, a Bush appointee, handed down a decision ruling the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. He is the second U.S. District Court Judge to do so.

In 2010, U. S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro of Massachusetts made a similar ruling. Yesterday's ruling falls at the heels of a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court that California's Proposition 8, which makes illegal same sex marriage in California, is also unconstitutional. It seems the message of the Judiciary is clear. President Clinton was wrong. DOMA is wrong!

It also seems that people are starting to realize gay Americans are entitled to the same rights as all Americans. What is upsetting to me is why has it taken this long? We continue to nitpick and haggle over "Citizen's rights", when it is obvious. The Declaration of Independence did not equivocate, and neither should we.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created Equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...

Pretty plain, isn't it? The authors, when they penned this note to the British, they went through at least two drafts before they came to language they could all agree on. And while the political infighting led to a document less than satisfactory (slavery was shamefully allowed in the new nation, women were not allowed to vote or hold office, etc.), the principles remain the same. Are they Utopian in nature? Of course they are, and because they are people are likely to look at them and try to explain away the better parts to some weakness of character or undue sympathy. But the principles are what they are.

It is time we start that to realize to deny rights in this nation to anyone is to deny them to everyone. We can no longer afford the human failing of intolerance to continue to segregate us. We are at a critical time in our history, and we need the best and brightest of all of us, not the chosen few. We need men and women who are able to own up their mistakes and work forward to overcome the problems we have, just as they have overcome their own. We need men and women from all walks of life, from all groups represented in this great nation, to lead, to envision, and to overcome the greed and corruption of career politicians. We need vision, we need diversity, and above all, we need participation. The apathy of the American voter has led us to these circumstances. The involvement of people who care can change it. But only when we agree that every American citizen is endowed with those "unalienable rights!"

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