Publicly, Thomas Jefferson believed in the principles of freedom. But privately, he grappled over whether the worst white man was still better than the best black man.
Ultimately, Jefferson’s failure to champion equality left his own illegitimate child enslaved, opening the wound which has since defined – not the competency of his mind – but the capacity of his heart.
We are once again at a crossroads governing the use of fine print to qualify equality.
But this time, the Jeffersonian paradox challenges whether we, as a nation, believe the worst heterosexual is still better than the best homosexual.
Because all the worst heterosexuals can marry anywhere in America. But even the best homosexuals cannot.
As the high court strips away all righteous rhetoric and political posturing, it’s possible they’ll recognize a raw reality, i.e., even when heterosexuals commit the most heinous crimes (murder, rape, child molestation, spousal abuse, terrorism, treason, and crimes against humanity), their known deviant behaviors are ignored by American marriage laws.
However, even when homosexuals are model citizens, their single, aberrant activity is prepossessed.
The court must then question whether this speaks to the heart of who we truly are, regardless of what we profess ourselves to be.
On the one hand, we insist the purpose of marriage is a belief in the sanctity of family.
On the other, we ignore the fact that millions of felons sitting in high security prisons are predominately heterosexuals possessing marginal moral character at best.
Yet each has a right to marry.
In some sit the suspects and convicts held for complicity in the 9/11 and Boston marathon attacks. And even they have the legal right to marry in every state.
But Lily Tomlin doesn’t.
Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, David Berkowitz, the Menendez brothers, Theodore Kaczynski, James Eagan Holmes and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can.
But Ellen DeGeneres can’t.
The former, loathsome, dictator Saddam Hussein, terrorist leader Osama Bin Ladin, and even Chancellor Adolf Hitler could have.
But Kate Smith, an American icon of our anthem, God Bless America, could not.
If the court entertains the position that “sin” is the foundation on which law is defined, will it validate the proponent “hate the sin, not the sinner” premise?
Can it then ignore evidence that it isn’t “sin” being shunned, profiled, attacked, ridiculed, denied equal rights and murdered?
Only American citizens are.
Will the court ask why there are no marches planned, political wars being waged, or state constitutional amendments being drafted against the seven deadly sins? Will it demand to know why it’s only a singular, Bible referenced, declared abomination being targeted? And, if it’s determined the sin/sinner assertion is an inflamed edict, could it set precedence for other inflamed edicts as just-cause to alter constitutional law?
Should the court recognize the Ten Commandments governing the worship of other Gods, building graven images, working on the Sabbath, blasphemy, dishonoring parents, murder, adultery, stealing, coveting, and bearing false witness as written-in-stone, will it be compelled to admit that being gay is not?
Politicians and pundits insist same-sex marriage is un-American, implying we can’t remain “America The Beautiful” if we allow marriage to be maligned. They contend – like that esteemed song – the institution of marriage has been declared our national heritage and pride.
But only the Supreme Court can decide which American citizens qualify as entitled to inalienable rights, and which (regardless of their American birthright and exemplary character) do not.
Before then, the justices may be forced to reflect on citizens like Katherine Lee Bates, a woman who spent 25 years in love with another woman and her entire life as one of America’s finest homosexuals. Who felt, authored, and gifted our nation with those cherished words, “And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”
History is upon us.
Come June, America as we know it will be forever changed.
The Supreme Court will decide it’s time we stopped cherishing a broken institution that denies equality to our totality and, in so ruling, bind us by law to cherish each other, instead.
Or, it will not.
# # #
This freshly edited, updated essay was first published in 2004 to benefit L.I. Pride. Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine © 2004 & 2013.
What’s your stand the issue of equality? How will the Supreme Court decision on DOMA affect you, personally?
Please share your thoughts, here, by selecting REPLY.
I’m all eyes and heart.
– – – –