-- County Commissioner Bill James
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: thank God for County Commissioner Bill James, who is always there to keep us on our feet regarding Constitutional rights. No, Bill, there is no Constitutional amendment that proclaims you must accept perverted behavior. That's sort of the general idea behind the Constitution: you have the right to be as much of a jerk as you want, and you can even share your jerky views with everybody you meet, if you so choose. Fortunately, dear, the same document that ensures your right to be an ass also ensures the rights of others. The Constitution's framers were far wiser than we often give them credit for; despite the many prejudices and attitudes of their time period, they saw to it that the Constitution stated a timeless theme: the government should stay out of citizens' private lives.
Yet until the Supreme Court's recent ruling, sodomy laws were still in effect in some states. This ruling was nothing more than a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, eliminating laws that attempted to legislate morality. But I like it that Bill James and certain other local leaders don't let a little thing like a Supreme Court ruling keep them down. No, they point out that gay people who have sex in public are still going to be prosecuted, so nyah-nyah-nyah-boo-boo.
If they had stopped with that point, however, I confess that I would have backed their words. I don't think there's anything wrong with the city cracking down on public sex. I don't think that gay people should be targeted, but to be fair to the city, I notice that prostitution rings, which generally implicate straight people, are also busted with regularity, so it doesn't seem that homosexuals have a lock on the sex crimes being busted by the city of Charlotte.
Sadly, though, the local anti- homosexuality spokespeople had to keep on talking. They couldn't just leave it with the sensible point. They just had to insist, to really let us know that homosexuality is truly bad, and they just won't put up with it.
And within the hallowed pages of this very publication, Bill James voiced his opinion, in addition to several others who threw around phrases like "another sound of our social fabric being ripped" and "cesspool of homosexual conduct."
So I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that when many Charlotteans passed the July 7 Newsweek cover, they couldn't help a bit of a shudder. Now, the Court's decision forces the question to be asked: will gay marriage become legal here in the good ole' U.S. of A.?
Now that sodomy laws are unconstitutional, there is precious little stopping gay marriages from being legal. After all, a legal marriage has nothing to do with religion or a church ceremony and everything to do with a scrap of paper secured from one's county of residence.
It's ironic, isn't it, that members of our community might think of gay marriage as further ripping of the social fabric? The key word here is marriage, that is a lifetime, or at least long-term, commitment to another person. In what possible way could such a thing lead to social fabric rippage? One might even think of such a thing as a kind of binding element, intended to strengthen the fabric.
After all, what bad could come of two men or women making a commitment to each other? Frankly, it's less potentially destructive than heterosexual marriages, which tend to result in offspring, who tend to be traumatized by subsequent divorces.
The fact that gay partners might be eligible for the financial rights and benefits of marriage seems to be the sticking point for some of the fine folks who oppose gay marriage. I guess not allowing these benefits is supposed to show that we as a society oppose homosexuality? In any case, now that sodomy laws are unconstitutional, there is no legal reason why partners of any sexual orientation should not be allowed the benefits of marriage.
Perhaps if it makes you feel any better you can think about the fact that married gay people will be forced to endure the same downsides to marriage that straight people already do. Divorce is one, which is tricky both emotionally and financially. And thereafter a divorced person must be known as a "divorcee," which sounds kind of dorky to me. Then there's the whole checking account situation -- separate or together, who balances it, what if one partner doesn't write stuff down. . .
But don't forget the number one worst thing about marriage: in-laws. I mean, come on, if gay people are willing to put up with in-laws, shouldn't they get a few benefits in return?