In Which the Author Weighs in on Focus on the Family Weighing in on Civil Unions

Online-only article on the Denver Post’s website from Tom Minnery

I’m feeling bored and contentious, so here we go.  So we will just summarize the first six paragraphs with this.

“Groups like ours saw that law not as a solution but only a stepping stone toward civil unions, and indeed the new civil unions bill mirrors marriage in all but name only. That is why we opposed the 2009 bill.

So, basically, the first half of the argument is that civil unions are bad because they are too much like marriage.  Which is bad why, exactly?

“But the impact goes much further as it jeopardizes the rights of parents to have a say in what’s taught to their children in school — even as young as kindergarten — about sexuality and marriage.”

I am pretty sure that the bill has nothing to do with education, public or private.  Furthermore, there are definitely PLENTY of religious schools in Colorado that would be happy to teach your children that the only thing worse than gays is their marriage, as well as that the Earth was created 4000 years ago, that condoms are murder, or whatever  misguided ancient creed you happen to be into.  Plus, I don’t remember too much of my kindergarten teachers talkin’ about straight fuckin’ and whatnot; so I don’t know why the gay stuff would suddenly be coming up then.

“It endangers business owners who are sued for not photographing or renting facilities for same-sex ceremonies.”

I am pretty sure there is no legal footing here, and the rights of business owners who post signs about their right to refuse service are pretty firmly established in this state; and there’s definitely nothing in there about forcing people to hold gay weddings if they don’t want to, so….we’ll just move on.

“Mostly, it impacts children who deserve every chance to be raised in a home with their own married mom and dad rather than the intentionally motherless or fatherless home created by same-sex unions.”

Hah, this is ‘mostly’ what civil unions will do.  Now, first, we’ll just throw out all this about kids doing as well or better in same sex households,  Next, where are all these children who are getting deprived coming from?  The kid store?  Apparently, there aren’t orphanages across the globe filled with kids that they can barely feed and clothe?  Or is he saying that if civil unions aren’t allowed, then once and for all gay people will just get over it and have straight families?  Either, I guess.

But we also join those whose voices are seldom heard, those of the children. As we have seen in California, the passage of civil union legislation will eventually threaten marriage. And if we say that marriage no longer means one mom and one dad, then we have denied children at least a chance to live in that special environment that gives them the best opportunity for success in life. This is one more reason why legislators should reject this bill.

Now, I am just going to go ahead and say it, this guy is the Executive director of the public policy arm of Focus on the Family, writing a letter to Colorado’s largest newspaper.  A letter in which in his closing paragraph he begins the paragraph with ‘But’ and two sentences later begins the sentence with ‘And’, so clearly Tom Minnery is not terribly bright or well versed with the pen, or perhaps he is fifteen.  He implies that children are calling out for the blocking of civil unions, with their voices, and this is news to me.  Apparently, marriage was eventually threatened in California, which I would love to see some statistics, or any kind of proof, or really anything, about.  Particularly since divorce rates are actually dropping.  Next, he basically restates his earlier ‘save the kids from gay parents’ argument.  You know what, that was just bad writing from an uninformed bigot, I don’t know why I wasted my time with it, but I guess I feel a little better.

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Contraception and the Constitution (or, another post I never thought I would have to write)

Now I am not trying to be a dick here, or anything (wordplay) but I think it is important to actually discuss the current ‘debate’ over birth control, the Catholic Crutch (no typos here), and the U.S. Constitution.  First, let us look at the relevant text.  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” and then it continues on with several more things that nobody seems to care nearly as much about the protection of.  Notice that there is nothing there about not paying any taxes, seriously, nothing.  That has been based on various questionable court decisions and bizarre tax code regulations that, if correctly enforced, would cause a lot of churches to actually lose their tax exemptions.  However, I am not here to talk about whether or not churches should pay taxes (they should) but rather whether or not insurance providers should be required to provide birth control to their plan purchasers.  Which seems like a really stupid question, because it is.  First, if a Catholic chooses to buy birth control, let us be clear that it is their decision, they are exercising their religious freedom in this situation; it is not an infringement of the right of the church to keep them from doing so.  The First Amendment was not written to protect the rights of churches from the desires of their followers, but to prevent a situation similar to what England had gone through with both the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

From a certain court-established viewpoint, one which I do not necessarily agree with, I can understand the objection to the contraception decision in its previous state, in which the religious organisation (not church, churches were already directly exempt) was required to pay the cost of the contraceptive care.  However, in the revised plan, if the religious organisation may choose not to pay for it, in which case the cost must be covered by the insurance company.  Which, to most people in touch with reality, seems like a perfectly reasonable agreement between a forward thinking government and a religion bound up in ancient conventions (although not specifically encoded to reference birth control in 1965) that were, and still are, intended for the purpose of expanding a certain notoriously greedy theocracy’s population and therefore (very directly, both in olden times and now) financial assets.  Same as multiple marriages and kids for Mormons; more Mormons = more money for the Mormon leadership.  But I digress. At issue here is whether or not this arrangement violated any constitutional right: to which I can only say that there is no remotely factual interpretation of the above mentioned amendment that can be interpreted to conflict with this. A strict constitutionalist would argue that, as it clearly not only applies to all religious organisations indiscriminately but does not directly require them to take any action at all, there can be no conflict there. A more adaptive ‘living constitution’ argument would reason that the intentions of the founders were not to enable religious leaders to force their beliefs on the employees of their hospitals and charitable organisations to adhere to their belief structure; but quite rather to prevent that type of thing. This is without taking into account that many of these groups receive huge amounts of federal funding; and whether or not that gives the government a right to say how they spend it (it does).
If you really want to know why this argument is is being given any kind of credibility at all, what really needs to be examined is the giant piles of cash the congressmen who are so incensed, particularly Darrell Issa, receive from the health insurance companies each year. These piles are huge, and can be seen in the voting records of those in question, which unilaterally favor deregulation and oppose requiring health insurance companies to cover anything they don’t want to, or God Forbid offer services for free. In short, the Catholic leaders are really just a political tool of the corporate wing of the republican party to continue to expand their bottom lines at the expense of the taxpayers. So, basically, business as usual.