Date registered: May 2006
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Just because people assume something to be legal or right, does not make it so. Thats why we have courts to interpret the law. Many states back in the 1950's the majority of citizens believed it should be illegal for Blacks to have equal protection under the law, and therefore be denied the same rights as white people. Had it not been for the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, and left to the citizens they still might not be protected under the law.
The consititution does not exist to protect the majority from the minority or popular speech from unpopular speech, but to protect those who need protection from a majority who would force their own points of views, beliefs, morals, religion on everyone else, while trying to eliminate any rights the minority may have that conflict with their own.
We refer to basic human rights like the freedom of speech and association, liberty, and equal treatment in court as civil rights, because they are fundamental rights that each and every citizen should not be denied on the basis of their sex, race, or religious belief. Not only were gay people denied of equal treatment in court ("de jure"), but they also have been victims of violence and harassment in our own society on the base of their sexual orientation ("de facto"). Equal protection of the law is guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and reinforced by hundreds of local, state and federal civil rights laws. Although the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified at the end of the Civil War, was designed to ensure legal equality for African Americans, Congress wrote it as a general guarantee of equality, and the courts have interpreted the Equal Protection Clause to prohibit discrimination.
The right to privacy, or "the right to be left alone," is guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut struck down a state law that prohibited married couples from obtaining contraceptives, citing "zones of privacy." In 1967, Loving v. Virginia decriminalized interracial marriage. The 1972 Eisenstadt v. Baird decision recognized unmarried persons' right to contraceptives. And in 1973, Roe v. Wade recognized women's right to reproductive choice. All of these Supreme Court decisions underscore the principle that decisions about intimate relationships are personal and should be left up to the individual.
As the Supreme Court explained in Romer v. Evans, there is nothing "special" about laws which prevent people from losing jobs and homes because of who they are. Most of us take the right to participate in daily life on an equal footing for granted, the Court said, either because we already have the right under the law, or because we are not subjected to that kind of discrimination. Laws which prohibit discrimination simply give LGBT people that basic right to be equal participants in the communities in which they live.
Denying lesbian and gay couples the right to wed not only deprives them of the social and spiritual significance of marriage; it has serious, often tragic, practical consequences. Since they can not marry, the partners of lesbians and gay men are not next of kin in times of crisis; they are not consulted on crucial medical decisions; they are not given leave to care for each other; they are not each other's legal heirs, if, like most Americans, they do not have wills. Marital status is often the basis on which employers extend health insurance, pension and other benefits.
"Protecting the Constitution vs Presidental powers is not about terrorism, but of doing what is right vs. what is easy. I choose doing right... where do you stand?"