Civil Rights

Affirming marriage equality as the law of the land

Big news from the Supreme Court. Setting itself up for one of the most significant decisions in its history, the court has agreed to hear two cases on the legality of same-sex marriage.

And there’s no doubt how they must rule.

There are still many Americans who base their opposition to same-sex marriage on the Bible. They are dead wrong. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that marriage must be between one man and one woman. Polygamy, in fact, seems to the Bible’s most popular form of marriage. Yet people have a right to be ignorant when it comes to their religious beliefs.


Did President Obama really better race relations in America?

Many people expected that the election of America's first black president in 2008 would finally close the ugly race chapter in American history.  Instead, there appears to be more emphasis on race, poverty, economic disparity, and on what divides us rather than what brings us together. 


Will the racial and racist clock ever expire in America?

Looking at today’s society, systemic racism within the American populace is largely dead, and what little racism remains is likely fomented by government policies that move minorities to the head of the line.

This can only prove destructive and backfire over time. Common sense tells us that affirmative action and other set-aside programs are ultimately destructive, both for the “soft bigotry of low expectations” that they represent, but also for the resentment they create in the larger population in this country, many of whom were born after the civil-rights era and have taught their children by words and example that we must treat all human beings as equals, with respect and dignity, and never make a negative or positive judgment about someone based on their race.


From invisible to victimized?

To this day, many black officeholders depend on the perception of ongoing, widespread racism in order to remain competitive in the electoral process. They underplay the dramatic improvements in economic and social status experienced by many American blacks over the last 40 years. Large numbers of their constituents, particularly those who came of age during the overt racism of the past half-century, continue to believe that the problems confronting the black lower class stem primarily from racism.

Here lies the greatest missed opportunity of the civil rights movement. These leaders never prepared for the day when God would change the hearts of the white establishment and they would have no choice but to start treating their brother with equality, fairness and justice under the law. Their entire public image, their very legitimacy as political and cultural spokesmen, was predicated on the rhetoric of a black-versus-white war. As Justice Clarence Thomas once observed, the civil rights revolution missed a larger point by merely changing the status of minorities from invisible people to victimized people.


The value of an honorary degree

One of the honorary-degree recipients at yesterday's 311th commencement at Yale University was a state Supreme Court judge from Massachusetts who was being honored for her strident defense and advocacy of same-sex marriage.

When that part of the citation was read, the audience burst into enthusiastic screaming and applauding. University President Rick Levin became quite emotional.


Free will

On the issue of same-sex marriage, reasonable people can agree that any two consenting adults can have relationships in which they can live together, sleep together, eat and do whatever they wish together; this is a free society in which free will is granted to us by our creator.

However, by simply doing these things, they do not get to redefine a foundational institution like marriage. If we begin to redefine the very pillars of our society based on political expediency, there soon won’t be anything left to redefine. We must return principles and values to our society that include being kind and respectful to everyone while not changing who we are.


President Obama’s support for gay marriage demonstrates the moral leadership America needs

The manner in which those who would be president view the basic civil liberties and rights of all Americans regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation says all that we need to know about the moral character of those who would be president of the greatest nation on earth. In asserting his belief that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, President Obama demonstrated that he is a man on the side of all Americans, not just those who are “straight.”
One of the marks of true leadership is the ability and willingness to stand up for the rights of others in the face of opposition and regardless of the political consequences one may face.


As it went with Kerry, so it will go with Obama

If I recall correctly, last year when New York Gov. Mario Cuomo celebrated the legalization of gay marriage in New York, the same week, President Obama’s support in North Carolina dropped 14 percent. Two things: As Rick Perry said about Mitt Romney, how can you change your mind as a grown-up man about things so essential to life? It is not a change of mind; it is a change of feelings. Which may be worse. By what mechanism? Do we just change who we are, simple to conform to the floating standards? It is the curse of a very large country run purely on bright lights and sensory apparatus — TV, movies, movie stars and pounding music at every turn — constantly bombarding, and leaving in the end, so little to remain between the generations; so little to remain at all. Last year Obama opposed gay marriage. Last week he was “evolving.” (Wow.) Now he has evolved. There was, at the beginning, little to this man. Now there is less.


In the ‘war on women,’ it’s time to be decisive

Let’s be clear: There is no war on women. And it’s time to tone down the rhetoric.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans are actually attacking women. Calls for government-run, cradle-to-grave policies — from either the right or the left — are bad for women and their families; but they’re a far cry from an assault on women.
Ted Nugent’s (most recent) inflammatory comments, in which he referred to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi as “varmints,” ought to be condemned — and forcefully. This kind of rhetoric — whether it’s from Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann or Rush Limbaugh — is not only repulsive, but also distracting.


Five conservative Supreme Court men join Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Ron Paul in the war against women

In my latest column, Supreme Court on trial, I initiated a new discussion about how five conservative men on the Supreme Court have joined partisan Republicans in the war against laws and programs that serve women. In June we will remember the anniversary of the infamous 5-4 Supreme Court decision discrimination defeating women opposing against Wal-mart, when the five men joined fellow Republicans against efforts to win pay equity for women and end discrimination against women. It will not help Republicans to put South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is highly unpopular at home, on the presidential ticket with “war against women” politicians such as Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Ron Paul.