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Clueless: Silly excuses for discrimination

In July, Rep. Tim Huelskamp sent me an email, responding (presumably) to the Supreme Court's rejection of the ironically titled Defense of Marriage Act. The message would not permit a direct reply, but some of its assertions were so remarkable that I'd like to share them, along with some observations of my own. These quotes are consistent with their context.

During the last week of June, the Supreme Court handed down ... decisions ... that will reverberate across our country in the weeks, months, and years to come.

He forgot decades and centuries. But he's not fond of the long-term view, e.g. climate change.

Shattering thousands of years of precedent, there are not adequate words to express the impact this decision will have.

No adequate words -- or no plausible criticism? As for those thousands of shattered years, let's read on.

Since the beginning of civilization, marriage has been a sacred institution between one man and one woman.

Nonsense.

Genesis 29: Jacob visits his uncle Laban, and courts his own cousin, Rachel. After Jacob pays the bride-price with seven years' labor, Laban substitutes Rachel's disguised older sister, Leah, at the wedding.

After the marriage, Jacob consummates the pact before even noticing she's not his beloved. He cuts another deal. Another seven years as Laban's hired hand, and he marries Rachel.

He continues to service both wives, but "loves Rachel more." God is OK with bride-buying and two wives, but now he's annoyed at Jacob for "hating" Leah. To teach Jacob a lesson, God penalizes the innocent Rachel by making her "barren," while Leah conceives.

But they still treated marriage like every other civilization of their time -- as something very much other than a "sacred" union between one man and one woman!

As did many of God's favored heroes, like David and Solomon.

The meaning, purpose and definition of marriage is (sic) important.

Especially to people who are being disenfranchised by such definitions.

I will not stand idly by as a select group of special interests advances an agenda where the laws of man contradict my conscience and natural law.

His mean conscience might govern his behavior, but he's not entitled to enshrine it in law in order to govern mine.

"Natural law"? Sexual behavior between same-sex individuals is nearly universal in the animal kingdom, including our closest relatives, the bonobos. Nature frequently endorses sexual behaviors which could not result in reproduction, as they can serve other useful purposes. For many humans, being born homosexual is as "natural" as being born left-handed.

Lawmakers have an obligation to stand up against a tidal wave of judicial overreach.

Such as overturning part of the Voting Rights Act? Citizens United?

Decades of research and centuries of human experience affirm that a child with a mother and a father in a committed relationship is best positioned to thrive in school and develop stable emotional health.

Yes, that would seem to be optimal. But to achieve this ideal, we'd also have to forbid divorce, and figure out some way to rapidly rectify the single-parent status of those whose spouses die or abandon them. Or -- we could allow any two consenting adults (other than close biological relatives) to marry, without imposing discriminatory standards based on religious prejudice.

While I served in the Kansas Legislature, I authored the Kansas Marriage Amendment which was overwhelmingly approved by Kansas voters in April of 2005. And on June 28, 2013 I introduced the Marriage Protection Amendment, H.J.Res. 51 with 28 original cosponsors to define marriage within the United States as a union between a man and a woman.

Sadly, he's actually proud of denying a basic human right to people whose love for each other fails to conform to his rigid faith-based doctrines.

It is unfortunate to see this issue become so polarizing, but I refuse to be bullied into silence. You know what I find ironic? How a movement self-defined as "tolerant" has publicly taken it upon themselves to attach a lot of choice words to my name and efforts.

Poor fellow. Somebody called him choice words and hurt his feelings. Doubt that ever happened to a politician before. On the other hand, name-calling isn't even in the same intolerant ballpark as imposing legislative inequality upon an entire segment of the American people.

Now, more than ever, we must make the case for marriage between a man and a woman ... in Washington by supporting the federal Marriage Protection Amendment.

Well, go ahead, make a case. This email doesn't do that at all.

Please be specific when it comes to explaining how allowing any two consenting adults to marry -- be they of different religions or races, or of the same sex -- will affect my "traditional marriage," or anyone else's. Does evidence suggest that homosexual marriage will induce our heterosexual kids to devalue marriage, and remain single? Or drive up our not-all-that-sacred divorce rate, already around 50 percent?

Surely he faces more pressing issues than denying marital status to a vulnerable demographic, a private matter if ever there was one. How about the deficit, the tragic and costly "War on Drugs," environmental degradation in pursuit of corporate profit, or hot wars in multiple theaters? He's wasting his time and ours with oppressive marriage regulations.

"We the People" is the term the Constitution employs -- not "we the non-gay people." Are we all created equal, or just those who are born heterosexuals?

Jon Hauxwell, MD, is a retired family physician who grew up in Stockton and now lives outside Hays. hauxwell@ruraltel.net