Equality Under the Law

. . . Wasn’t that the philosophy that ultimately convinced the fearless leaders in our government to end slavery about 150 years ago?  Shouldn’t it be enough for our current crop of politicos to finally end discrimination against homosexuals today?

It’s pitiful, really, that we live in an America that requires  Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 to (hopefully) apply the same civil rights to everybody. How tragic that our legislators couldn’t simply realize that it is unfair to deny any group equality under the law –  whether they’re black, female, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered .  It had to come to this.

A recent blog at washingtonpost.com sums up the difference between the conservative position on equality, compared to the democrat’s view:

A rigid biological determinism undergirds conservative ideology and politics . . . . biology for conservatives is, in fact, destiny.

Biological determinism is the connector; the conservative view is, in fact, that your biology defines your role in the social and political and, of course, domestic spheres.

Democracy, by contrast, is based on the idea that human beings are not determined by biology, but “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”  This is both a political and a religious argument for a profound and transcendent equality governed by rights.  As human beings, we have rights that cannot be reduced or eliminated regardless of our individual physical characteristics.   Every advance in human rights in this country, from ending slavery, to extending voting rights, to the Civil Rights struggles, to reproductive freedom, and now to the struggle for full equality for LGBT people, equal justice, not biology, has been the crucial argument.

For a democracy, a rights argument for equal human dignity and freedom must be primary over any (often wholly misguided) ideas about human biology.

Conservative ideology, however, based as it is in biological determinism, is designed that way to consolidate and perpetuate the political, social and religious power of small group of elites defined by their biology in terms of gender, sexual orientation and, in the U.S., by race.  It uses presumed biological differences to advance and maintain political and economic power, and it has for a very long time.

Exactly so.  Regardless of your personal opinion about gay marriage and whether or not a person is “born this way,” it is impossible to maintain that this group is less deserving of equal treatment under the law than their heterosexual counterparts.   Yet, the vocal minority in the Rapture Right will argue just that, and will add that the Bible supports their bigotry.  God loves everybody . . . . except homosexuals.

With no decision today, and only 13 days remaining in this term, we hold our collective breath until Thursday (the next scheduled decision release date) to see what side the Supremes will favor – the loves, or the haters.


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