Thursday, December 20, 2007

SB 156: Dinosaurs still rule (and they hate leather)

I hesitate to characterize Senators John Still III (R-Dover North) and Robert Venables (D-Laurel) as dinosaurs, because my children like dinosaurs.

But this, folks, is absolutely ridiculous.

Here’s the synopsis of SB 156:

This is the first leg of a constitutional amendment to prohibit recognition of same sex marriages or other same gender legal relationships – whether originally created in Delaware or elsewhere.

And here’s the proposed amendment:

Marriage is prohibited and void between persons of the same gender. A marriage obtained or recognized outside this State between persons of the same gender shall not constitute a legal or valid marriage within this State. The uniting of two persons of the same gender in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same gender legal relationship shall not be valid or recognized in this State.

(Note, by the way, that that Still and Venables don’t even seem to have the slightest idea that there are transgendered people out there, who might be able to marry under this law. I won’t tell them if you don’t.)

This is whole-hog, outright state interference in the lives of real people. Not content to outlaw gay marriage inside Delaware, Senators Still and Venables have taken it upon themselves to erase Article 1, Section IV of the US Constitution at the state line. This is the part that, you know, says if you get married or divorced in one state you’re married in another because of that pesky “full faith and credit” nonsense; to wit:

“Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

Moreover, Still and Venables don’t stop with marriage. Let another state dare to legislate domestic partnerships with dual access to health insurance or give partners some say in medical decisions, and the doughty First State shall rise up and say, “Not here in Delaware, you unnatural perverts!”

Seriously, I don’t really care if you approve of homosexuals or not; this is just bad (and shockingly unconstitutional) law that represents nothing less than a 21st Century attempt at Nullification. (You might want to check your history books to see how well that worked out for South Carolina in the 1830s.)

This also explains why Libertarians see marriage as a private contract, as laid out in the national party platform. This is one of the sections good enough to quote in its entirety:

The Issue: Politicians use popular fears and taboos to legally impose a particular code of moral and social values. Government regularly denies rights and privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Principle: Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have legitimate authority to define or license personal relationships. Sexuality or gender should have no impact on the rights of individuals.

Solutions: Culture wars, social friction and prejudice will fade when marriage and other personal relationships are treated as private contracts, solely defined by the individuals involved, and government discrimination is not allowed.

This bill is in the Senate Executive Committee; I hope they wash their hands a lot. That injunction includes Senator Colin Bonini, who often claims Libertarian leanings, as well as co-sponsoring Representatives Ewing, Hocker, and Thornburg. (Nor should we pass this legislation without noting the Gubernatorial candidate Mike Protack made a statement supporting it here on Delaware Libertarian.)

On the other hand, Senator Dave Sokola’s (D-Newark) SB 141, the perennial attempt to “prohibit discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation,” is in the Insurance and Elections Committee, where we can only hope it won’t die as all previous efforts have.

This does raise an interesting question. Considering that in Delaware the Demopublicans (Still, a Republican, and Venables, a Democrat) can unite to put forth such a noxious proposal and not totally destroy their own credibility, you have to wonder why all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Delaware citizens are not Libertarians.

Maybe I’ll shoot this post down to CAMP Rehoboth and ask.

(Meanwhile, for some lighter reading, check out Ten Reasons Gay Marriage is Unamerican on Phlamer, for an intimate look at such weighty issues as gay marriage and polyester.)


Charlotte said...

At least Dinosaurs believed in evolution. Why are these fat cats so afraid of gay civil rights? They should check out our trailer on gay marriage. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & creates an interesting spin on the issue:
The truth will set them free… :)

Waldo said...

The bill also seems to let marriages between gays and lesbians slip through. Dan Savage, the sex advice columnist and editor of Seattle's weekly The Stranger, married a lesbian colleague several years ago. They continue to live with their respective same-sex partners and, one assumes, must split the tax breaks of marriage.

Why aren't more gays and lesbians Libertarian? Washington's Libertarian Party keeps nominating as lesbian (although this year they are only running a guy for the Senate), for governor or senator but the party here makes no outreach to the gay tribe nor a serious, visible commitment to gay rights legislation. See, gays have been patronized and taken for granted by the Democratic Party for decades. We tend to vote for them anyway because all the alternatives- read the Rs- are worse. Better the devil we know.If you want people to come to your party, you generally gotta invite them.

Steve Newton said...

I could not agree more with respect to issuing the invitation (see my earlier post Libertarian=Fringe?).

I think most gays would tend to have many "little l" Libertarian principles, but be wary (as, frankly, am I) of the "big L" Libertarian Party.

You are also right that the Democrat branch of the Demopublicans sees gays as a captive audience, and--being cynical I am convinced of this--has no real intention of spending any political capital on actually achieving anything. After all, if they did, then gays would be free to choose political affiliations based on other policies, and might or might not choose them.

I want to revitalize a Libertarian Party in Delaware that makes a point of standing up for individual rights, even when (perhaps ESPECIALLY when) they are unpopular.

Steve Newton said...

You ask, "Why are these fat cats so afraid of gay civil rights?"

The answer is that they are not, but many of their constituents are. So instead of showing leadership and standing up for individual rights, Demopublicans like Still and Venables prefer to cynically manipulate their religious stance to pander for votes.

Plus, it gives them something to horse-trade with when swapping favors in the legislature. There is always something that other Demopublicans want MORE than they want anti-discrimination legislation or gay marriage or hospital visitation rights for partners.

And they do it because gays are a captive audience for the Democratic wing, unless the Libertarians take the initiative to challenge for their allegiance.

Which I am trying to do: c'mon over, folks, and help me build a Libertarian Party of Delaware that really does stand up for everybody's civil rights.

Brian Shields said...

I'm embarrassed that Venables is my senator. I'd send him an email, but I'm not even sure the old fart knows how to use it.

Dana Garrett & Stephen Crockett said...

"This does raise an interesting question. Considering that in Delaware the Demopublicans (Still, a Republican, and Venables, a Democrat) can unite to put forth such a noxious proposal and not totally destroy their own credibility, you have to wonder why all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Delaware citizens are not Libertarians."

The answer to that question is easy. Libertarians believe that employers have a right to fire employees for any reason they wish and however bigoted the motive. You know, the property rights thing.

Anonymous said...

Marriage without goverment interference or sanction. What a concept.

Married couples are second only to old people in political clout and demanding that that damn bacon come home!