Although this blog is becoming more US-orientated than I would have wanted it to, this is a week of happiness. It took them a while, but finally, the US court has taken a decent step in the direction of marriage equality by striking down DOMA. They still have a long way to go and the US is still severely behind on multiple countries in Western Europe, but this decision will improve the life of over a 100.000 people, so clearly, it gives reason for celebration.
But now that the first day of celebrations is over, I figured that it wouldn’t be so bad to think a bit more critically and to have a look at the statements made by anti-gay conservatives, or in particular, a man named Bryan Fischer.
Bryan Fischer is the director of the AFA, a Christian organisation that promotes conservative values. He has no more than 4200 followers on Twitter, but his comments circulated across the social networks very rapidly. Most notable of all was his tweet in which he stated that “The DOMA ruling has now made the normalisation of polygamy, paedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable. Matter of time.”
Isn’t that just adorable? He thinks people will start having sex with animals because gay marriage has been legalised in thirteen states. I always wonder where people like him get those ideas. Did he one day see a little boy step on a snail after which he suddenly realised “Oh my God that boy is going to become a serial killer!”
Anyway, slightly more thought through were two tweets he sent out later on. He wrote that “With the DOMA decision, we have ceased to be a constitutional republic. The words “We the People” are now meaningless. One man, (Anthony) Kennedy, has decided marriage policy for 315 million people. This is tyranny. All hail the king.”
Ignoring the terrible nationalistic arrogance and the anger of someone who has just lost an important vote, he actually has a point: how ridiculous is it that in US politics, major decisions such as marriage equality are taken by one single man who was not even elected by the people? It is ludicrous, and even more odd is the fact that nobody seems to mind.
For those who are not from the US, I will briefly explain: The country is based on a constitution that was written some 300 years ago, and although there is a president and a senate/congress who are elected by the people, every decision they make has to be in line with this constitution. To check whether this is the case, there is the court, or in the end, the Supreme Court (often called “SCOTUS”), that is able to withdraw a law if they find it to be against this constitution. The court consists of 9 judges, and since they are human beings, they are often quite biased, meaning that in controversial issues like these, 8/9 judges have already made their decision beforehand, while only Anthony Kennedy is still a “swing voter.”
Therefore, because Kennedy voted against DOMA (making the vote 5 against 4), the Act was declared unconstitutional and is now no longer in place, making gay marriage legal on a national level so that gay couples can have all the rights straight couples have as well. A wonderful outcome, reached in a non-democratic way.
So in that, Bryan Fischer is right: DOMA should never have been taken down by one man. That would make the US an oligarchy rather than a democracy. Of course, DOMA should never have been enacted in the first place, but that doesn’t necessarily make things right. Besides, it is sad that this is the only way for marriage equality to be achieved, because it should be a given right that is agreed upon by a great majority in society rather than something which has to be pushed through in such an undemocratic way.
Even worse, in the end, only thirteen out of fifty US states currently have legalised same-sex marriage. This is still a pathetically low amount, and it shows that there is still a long way to go. I would have liked to end this blog post on a positive note, but I think doing so would undermine the issue. This week was a big victory, but it is only the beginning. Many more steps will still have to be taken, because the US isn’t even nearly there yet.
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