Political History Blog Series Explanation

[DISCLAIMER: This post is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like any other post on this blog. It’ll use the word ‘I,’ it will include political opinions, and it will use very little to support them..it’s an explanation, and that’s all. ALSO: Language alert.]

Two things happened today which has resulted in me writing this: 1) a person whom I consider a good friend asked me today, and I quote, “why the bloody hell are you writing a blog series about gay history? Who the fuck cares. You’re not gay. Why are you wasting your time on something no one will read?” (this, by the way, was over text…for the record, starting arguments over text message not the best plan); and 2) George Takei posted about the celebratory kiss when Michael Sam was drafted, and the reactions to it. So, this post is my answer to the former, tipped by the latter.

Let’s start with this: why are LGBT rights something anyone should care about. Well, because inequality is definitely something you should care about. And, in the case of LGBT rights, it’s not a bunch of old white men sitting around being denied their right to play Parcheesi. It’s not just adults who want to get married. It’s kids. There is, at this moment, a 14 year old boy or girl sitting in their room hoping someone cares enough to ask what’s wrong…hoping, that when they say ‘mom, dad, I’m gay’ it doesn’t destroy their life forever. And right now, there is a 4 year old listening to their parents talk about that gay football player, and learning that it’s ok to hate. If you don’t care because it’s right, if you don’t care because inequality is stupid, if you don’t care because it doesn’t affect you… then kids are the reason you should care… because that’s the future. And I’m pretty sure the future of society does affect you.

Here’s the thing about gay rights: the history is what influences the today (which, in reality, is the truth about anything). See, all civil rights are a combination of social hangups, politics, and religion… especially in America, although it’s definitely not just an American thing. There are approximately 3 billion people who live in the 82 countries where it’s illegal to be homosexual…not just unsupported, or railed again, or considered immoral by a portion of the population, or containing unenforceable laws against; illegal. Most of those countries have anti-homosexuality laws based on perceived unacceptability by religious laws… parts of Asia, most of the Middle East, about 90% of Africa, parts of Oceania, and a not insubstantial section of the Caribbean (which is considered part of the Americas). The only continent free of anti-homosexuality laws is Europe (because, well, the EU…let’s face it, the EU is the reason for a lot of things… although, Russia, Ukraine and Moldova have strange propaganda laws… but not the same thing, and they aren’t EU, so my point still stands).

So the question was, why would I bother…considering my blog readership is tiny, why go to all this trouble? Because history is important. It’s impossible for a society to overcome prejudices without understanding why they exist. In this case, the history of the gay rights movement is directly related the history of religion in society… places that have a relationship between religion and rule of law all legislated against homosexuality a very, very, long time ago….we’re talking like the 2nd century CE. Let me list some of the things that have happened since then: the earth is round, there’s land between Europe and China (an entire contingent, in fact), a few wars, man learned to fly, man created weapons that could destroy the world 10x over, and man walked on the moon. If you were an observer watching Earth from Venus, you’d think that would mean that said Venusian could land on Earth tomorrow and man would accept Venusian as is. Yeah, not so much.

See, because we as a society live in a world where love is treated differently. We live in a world where a man celebrating a huge milestone in his life is belittled, racked over coals, and called names because of who he loves. But here’s the thing: love is love, it’s genderless, colourless, raceless. So then, why no equal marriage? Why no equal partner benefits? Why are there partners who are denied the fundamental rights of medical decision…of being able to bury the person they love? Why, in 82 countries, is being gay illegal? Because God said so. No, really, that’s why. See, before Christianity became the basis of ‘moral laws,’ no one cared who you loved… ok that’s a rather large blanket statement, but the basis of it is true (read the rest here). But see, the thing is, moral laws (which shaped a HUGE part of early history of Western Civilisation) are almost entirely…no scratch that, absolutely entirely based on religion.

So, history + religion= society. Almost all cultural, and legal, decisions come from that formula. In the case of LGBT rights, this meant that, historically, it was legislated as illegal. But why do people care who you love? Oh, that’s a question for the ages. Because it shouldn’t matter, right? It didn’t used to…although it’s been so long since society was open and accepting of differences than only a very few places still have the footprints of those who remember.

So then, why the inequality? Why the distaste? Why, in the 21st Century, when we have people who live above the earth in a floating station, is love treated differently? Because politics and religion are still married. And that’s where history comes in. You cannot, absolutely impossibly cannot, understand how politics works, or why it works (or doesn’t), or where the basis of laws come from without understanding history. Politicians try to do it all the time, and every single time it backfires. It’s not just politicians.. it’s also activists (which is a word I abhor… it’s like labelling someone a rabble rouser… ‘movement’ is far less harsh of a word and usually encompasses everyone, including the non-‘activists’). And the thing is, ignoring the past whilst trying to shape the future is just stupid. You can’t do it. And in American politics, it seems to be a thing… except understanding the history of American politics is almost more important than understanding the now.

See, here’s the thing about American politics… due to the nature of the way the United States set up its legislative and judicial system in 1789, and the paranoia that created the 10th Amendment to the Constitution (which says that any powers not explicitly given to the federal government in the Constitution is reserved to the States)…each state in the US has the power to create their own marriage definition laws. Although the US government also has ability to designate spousal benefits, etc, for same-sex couples, the only way for there to be a FEDERAL law allowing same-sex marriage is to add an equal marriage amendment to the US Constitution (as Christian conservatives have attempted to do in an effort to ban gay marriage with the Federal Marriage Amendment). There has recently been a rash of court decisions on marriage equality, following on the heels of United States v. Windsor, which invalidated DOMA.

Unfortunately, in the United States, court decisions are often landmark, and highly cited, and create precedent..but for the most part are unenforceable… also, they allow for an infinite number of holds and appeals until it hits SCOTUS, and even then SCOTUS can send it back down to a lower court and the process starts all over again (because, let’s be honest…the current court isn’t going to rule in favour of ignoring state’s rights…it’s just not). After Chief Justice John Marshall’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia (which basically created the idea of tribal sovereignty in the US) then President Andrew Jackson purportedly said “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!”

President Jackson had a point then, and that point is still entirely applicable today: court cases are NOT going to solve the issue of marriage equality in the United States…the only thing that will end the seemly endless fight is a constitutional amendment, a definitely statement by the federal government amending the legal foundation that exists in the US that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated, and that in the United States love is love. Unfortunately, the US federal government is run by a bunch of political cowards who have no intention of standing up for equal rights unless it benefits them, so that’s unlikely to happen. Marriage equality in the United States is a fight that will continue until the US finally is able to separate politics and religion.

Actually, it’s not just the US. Separating religion and politics is the key to a lot of things… but in this case, removing inane, inaccurate, antiquated ideas about love and family are the only thing that’s going change the landscape of gay rights. Yes, there’s been tremendous progress… but there’s still so much more to do. So why did I write this blog series? Because knowledge is power… if you don’t understand the history of why, you’ll never understand they why of now.


[Aside: See, look, I am capable of writing opinion pieces… although, it was more history supported than I intended.. blame that on academic training..it’s pretty much impossible to not.]

[Note: If you don’t understand what I just wrote above, or are unfamiliar how the US court system works, email me and I’ll explain.  In reality, the fight for gay rights in America has pretty much centred on marriage equality, and equal rights for partners and spouses, and that fight will be held in federal court. The structure of the US court system, along with the politics of SCOTUS, will all influence how that fight plays out. So please, ask!]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 141 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 3,036 hits
First 50 Words - Prompts for Writing Practice

Write the first 50 words of YOUR story in a comment.

A Consummate Confessional

There's only one thing a man can do when he's suffering from a spiritual and existential funk...

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

The Stuff They Won't Include in Any Tourist Guide: The Real England

The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.

Vegan Chicks Rock

Here Be Dragons!

Chic Vegan

Vegan and Fabulous!

Wellness Mama®

Simple Answers for Healthier Families

The Coconut Mama

Real Food. Natural Living. Coconut Love

Smart Girls love SciFi

science fiction romance books

Daily (w)rite

Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Reading, LIstening, and Reviewing LGBTQIA Books!

writerlywitterings

The mindless witterings of an author at work - and play.

Here Be Dragons!

%d bloggers like this: