CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There has been a lot of news lately about Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's view on equal marriage. Mr. Cathy donates a lot of money to hate groups like Focus on the Family, headed by James Dobbs. Mr. Dobbs has equated homosexuality with bestiality, an outrageous statement. He is allowed to say it because of his First Amendment rights, but Mr. Cathy and Mr. Dobbs misunderstand the issues involved with equal marriage.
Americans enjoy many protections, freedoms, benefits and rights under the Constitution, unless you happen to be a same-sex couple.
If you happen to be a same-sex couple, you are barred from exercising one very important civil right: the right to marry. On May 9, President Obama declared that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The most recent poll shows that 52 percent of Americans believe the same. The Democratic Party is expected to make equal marriage a part of its platform this year.
The Republican Party and the Christian Right have been trying to foist their so-called "moral, family values" on us for years. How many of them have been caught in adulterous, or gay, or Internet scandals?
But wait, this is not a moral issue or a family issue, no matter how Republicans and the Christian Right frame it. This issue is blatant and rank discrimination against a group of Americans.
Gay marriage has been a hot button issue around the world since the mid-1990s. Several state courts considered gay marriage bans. The courts were expected to find that the states did not have the constitutional right to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. So, fearing that gay marriage would be legal in some states, Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act. On Sept. 21, 1996, President Clinton signed it. The Act defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. It defines "spouse" as referring "only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
Most importantly, the act allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages enacted in other states. This is shameful, outright discrimination! President Obama has said that he supports repealing this act and would allow the laws that benefit marriage to be applied to civil union types of relationships. And he has, in fact, stopped defending the act. House Speaker John Boehner has spent over a million dollars to defend this unconstitutional law.
At least 30 states have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage, and several states, including our own, are considering amendments. North Carolina was the most recent on May 8. I think we all know that minority issues should not be decided in election booths.