Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Life in the Last (Heterosexual) Frontier

Lest anyone fail to detect the awesome duplicity inherent in the bullshit, faux-compromise, "anti-gay marriage/pro-civil union" position, we turn our attention to the latest misadventures of the Alaska legislature, whose dominant party is proposing to rewrite the state's constitution to formally exclude gay couples from receiving public employee benefits as domestic partners.

In October, the Alaska Civil Liberties Union won a case before the state supreme court, which ruled that the exclusion of same-sex domestic partners violated Article I, Section I of the state constitution, which guarantees equal rights, protections and opportunities to all citizens under the law. That constitution, amended in 1998 to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, now denies same-sex couples the opportunity to marry and (in so doing) receive the benefits available to wholesome breeders like my wife and me. The court ruled that by prohibiting those benefits to state employees in same-sex relationships, the state was clearly discriminating against gays and lesbians as a class -- by "absolutely precluding them" from ever acquiring those benefits -- while furthering no conceivable state interest. The court even made a point of dismissing the ludicrous claim that any meager extension of equal protection to same-sex couples "diminishes" the institution of marriage, as if stained by a loathsome pox.

In response to this grave ruling, a crew of Republicans has lept into action, vowing to raise a vast army of the righteous to smite these "activist judges" at the ballot box this fall:

Proposing an amendment to the section of the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to marriage.
* Section 1. Article I, sec. 25, Constitution of the State of Alaska, is amended to read:
Section 25. Marriage and related limitations. To be valid or recognized in this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman. No other union is similarly situated to a marriage between a man and a woman and, therefore, a marriage between a man and a woman is the only union that shall be valid or recognized in this State and to which the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage shall be extended or assigned.
* Sec. 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be placed before the voters of the state at the next general election in conformity with art. XIII, sec. 1, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and the election laws of the state.

What the fuck is wrong with these people? The proposed amendment has to clear both houses by a 2/3 margin before being approved by a majority of voters in the fall. It looks prettly likely at this point that the Family Values Party, with its yawning ignorance, will have its way with this one as Alaska continues to nose up the ante in the National "My State is More Deeply Embarrassing and Regressive Than Your State" Sweepstakes.

In closing, I offer you the deep thoughts of a man who once accused yours truly of speaking in a way that was "subversive of the government" (in a radio debate about the Patriot Act):
Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, signed the resolution as a co-sponsor. He said he disagreed with the Supreme Court decision because giving the same benefits to unmarried couples would diminish the institution of marriage.
"Go get health care on your own," Lynn said.