Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Republican Party vs marriage

Hat/tip to Ryan to 2L at Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest, who points out another young spokesperson for change in the Republican party.

Meghan McCain, daughter of past Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, spoke to a group of Log Cabin Republicans.

Unsurprisingly, Meghan spoke out against the old-school leaders of the Republican Party, and their fears of change.
"Most of the old school Republicans are scared s***less of that future," she told a gathering of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay and lesbian party members.

On Monday, McCain wrote an opinion piece urging the Republican Party to use more gay-friendly language. "Of all the causes I believe in and speak publicly about, this is one of the ones closest to my heart," she wrote in a blog post on the Daily Beast titled 'Memo to the GOP: Go Gay.' " If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric."

I have two issues here. One is religious tolerance - which the US Constitution protects. The other is institutionalizing religious practices.

Marriage is a religious practice.

Ask the Catholic Church and most Protestant Christian churches - one of the sacred rites of the church is that of marriage. Look at Islamic countries, where various practices from buying (and keeping captive) wives, to multiple wives, and other forms of marriage exist - similar to the Biblical Old Testament description of marriage (read about bringing home war brides).

Ask the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, about their history of belief in forms of marriage - and the blood shed over polygamy.

The same religious teachings defile same-sex sexual contact.

Government in Marriage

Marriage licenses are issued and recorded by the individual state. The Constitution clearly and explicitly bars the federal government - the President and Congress - from interfering with powers reserved to the states. On the face of it, Congress violates the Constitution by discussing marriage in any way but proposing a Constitutional Amendment granting Congress authority over marriages of citizens.

Instead, the Republican Party has taken religious precepts - anti-abortion, abhorrence of same-gender sexual contact, and Christian one-man, one-woman marriage - and held their religious views are also "facts" of various provenance.

The argument goes, that even though these are religious teachings, they are valid points of view to hold, and are reasonable long-term goals of the Republican Party on that basis.

Lies and damn lies.

Except this argument is disingenuous. It is deceptive. If elected, a Republican Party member must be ready and able to represent - serve - all the citizens that elect her or him, not just those that voted for her or him. Medical and social consensus seems to prove, at least as solidly as global warming has been "proven", that some of us Americans are naturally left handed. My sister is, and hasn't seemed to be morally or physically handicapped by the condition. Her four kids seem to have grown well, are well adjusted and happy and productive. Her husband of 36 years seems quite happy. Others of us are oriented differently for selecting and living with an intimate companion or mate. Or several mates.

My remedy.

I grew up thinking "the gay nineties" were the economically prosperous times of the 1890's. And the name "gay marriage" for an arrangement or institution just bugs me. All marriages should be happy (happy is a historical synonym for the word "gay").

So. I think the IRS rules that define "marriage" should be recoded to mean "household" - and mean whatever arrangement of taxpayers and dependents are reported.

Employers and insurers today - benefits providers - rely on IRS information to identify recipients (Social Security Number, claimed dependents, etc.). Let this practice continue. Just drop the assumption about how many providers and dependents form a person's close family.

Halfway there.

For all the empty rhetoric, speechifying and Bible thumping politicians do to get votes from religious voters, no one seems to have noticed or cared that most of the laws about the sanctify of marriage have already been devalued.

Christian churches teach that adultery is a sin, that a man can divorce a wife but she isn't allowed to remarry. Coveting a man's wife is a sin. Etc. Yet laws against polygamy, adultery, fornication outside marriage - none of these are regularly enforced. We lament an explosion of teenage births to unwed mothers - and seldom charge either the girl or whoever got her pregnant with statutory rape, let alone fornication. I can remember when a couple had to be married to rent or buy a residence together - but laws were passed prohibiting that simple defense of marriage and the family as "prejudicial".

Hollow posturing.

The Republican Party must restore it's image - limited government, with an emphasis on national security and economic growth. Fiscal responsibility, constraining the budget to collected tax revenues, should be a foregone conclusion. Regulations should be thoughtfully considered for impact and effectiveness - and minimal to achieve the desired objective. Budgets should only be adequate to the needs.

One practice of the Republican National Party has got to stop. Regardless of ability to swing votes and contributions, the party has to first assess the value of the candidate to the office. Bob Dole would never have been the leader America needed. President George W. Bush was merely adequate - and a poor representative of conservative values. John McCain is a nice guy - and has a truly flaky grasp of morality and ethics. This practice of "candidate by reason of seniority" has got to cease. If the party is to have a value, it *must* be to select candidates likely to enhance the office they campaign for. I want a worthy candidate. Each and every time.

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