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D.C. Council Approves Human Rights; GOP Representative Objects

16 December, 2009

Back in early December, the Washington D.C. Council decided that human rights really do apply to all humans.   The District will be joining Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut (Maine and California voters (with heavy funding from outside the states) decided that some humans are not eligible for human rights).   

“This is a culmination of the entire gay rights movement,” Richard J. Rosendall, a past president of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance of Washington D.C., said after the vote. “We have spent many, many, years working toward this.” (from the Washington Post)

Unfortunately, Washington D.C. is not a state.  It is a federal district.  Though they do have home rule now (the days of the U.S. congress voting on parking meter increases is long gone), the congress has 30 days to object.  Luckily, there is no sign of opposition.

Oh.  Wait.  The gentleman from Utah will be heard from (from the Salt Lake City Tribune):

A Utah Republican renewed his pledge Tuesday to prevent the nation’s capital from allowing gay couples to marry after the Washington, D.C., Council signed off on such a measure.

But Rep. Jason Chaffetz acknowledged it will be tough to overturn the newly adopted ordinance, which the Washington mayor is expected to sign before Christmas.

“It’s going to be exceptionally difficult because Democrats have us outnumbered by large amounts,” Chaffetz said Tuesday. “Nevertheless, we’re going to try.”

Chaffetz sits on a House subcommittee that oversees the district. Congress can revoke D.C. laws within 30 days after they are signed by the mayor.

Chaffetz promises to introduce legislation in January.

“If it were put up for a vote, traditional marriage would win,” he said. “It would win with a congressional vote, and it would win with the residents of Washington, D.C.”

Heh.  A representative from Utah (always a hotbed of traditional marriage (think Saint George and the LDS fundies)) wants force a vote on whether humans are deserving of human rights.  Traditional marriage, huh?  That would be no divorces under any circumstances, wife and children are the literal property of the man and parents having the right to kill children for not obeying dad instantly.  These things have changed.  The number of wives a Mormon can have has changed,  but for D.C. to change and become more inclusive?

America is a democracy.  However, majority does not always rule.  The point of the Constitution of the United States of America, specifically the Bill of Rights, is to protect the rights of minorities.  Specifically, to protect the civil rights of minorities.  Civil rights are not a matter for popular vote.  Representative Chaffetz, a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, seems to forget that there was a time when Mormons were a persecuted minority subjected to some of the same legal, social and vigilante restrictions facing gay and lesbian Americans today.

(The comments under the SLCT article are, surprisingly, very anti-Chaffetz.)

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6 comments

  1. “The District will be joining Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut (Maine and California voters (with heavy funding from outside the states) decided that some humans are not eligible for human rights.”

    Not sure what ur saying here.

    “A representative from Utah . . .wants force a vote on whether humans are deserving of human rights.”

    So allowing a state or federal district to sanction the marriage of two same sex individuals, with all of the ramifications that would have, is a human right? So is an old school or radical LDS member who wants to marry two women a human right?

    “subjected to some of the same legal, social and vigilante restrictions facing gay and lesbian Americans today.”

    Vigilante restrictions? Incredibly ridiculous choice of words. There are a lot of things i want to do that are illegal or have social restrictions, phrasing the idea of upending all of civilizations recognized version of marriage, saying gender is of no consequence, is a bit less than vigilante in my book.


  2. MacGregor: Thanks for stopping by. The District of Columbia will allow human beings to marry, joining the five states liste. ME and CA put human rights up for a vote. And large amounts of money poured into the states for (often dishonest) advertising campaigns which scared enough people that the citizens voted to deny human rights to some humans.

    So allowing a state or federal district to sanction the marriage of two same sex individuals, with all of the ramifications that would have, is a human right? So is an old school or radical LDS member who wants to marry two women a human right?

    Marriage between two consenting adults is a human right. Why is this even an issue?

    Incredibly ridiculous choice of words.

    Read the history of the Mormon Church. Because of different beliefs, the early Mormons were chased out of a couple of different midwestern states. When they arrived in Utah, they attempted to set up an independent government to protect their own rights. The vigilantes to which I refer in this paragraph are the ones who were persecuting the Mormons.

    As for your last, how does it affect you if two human beings in love get married? The idea of marriage has been redefined in multiple cultures and within Christianity itself. Allowing two consenting adults to marry wil not upend civilization. It will expand civilization.


  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Global Atheist, oinonio. oinonio said: RT @GlobalAtheist: D.C. Council Approves Human Rights; GOP Representative Objects – http://galink.us/xap9n/ #atheist #atheism […]


  4. Chaffetz is none too bright. ““If it were put up for a vote, traditional marriage would win,” he said.” This isn’t a competition between gay and straight marriage. Permitting gay marriage will have no effect on the (sorry) state of heterosexual marriage. They’ll still be able to get married for dubious reasons, fool around and get divorced just like they always have.


  5. Billy,
    Thanks for the response.
    Its simply your opinion that marriage bt two consenting adults is a human right. Dont you understand that? Thats your opinion which happens to be in the minority.

    Sorry i misunderstood your usage of vigilante restrictions, but it sounds like you are also for anything goes, polygamy, etc.

    To your last point, its not about love, and its not about necessarily affecting me. I have gay friends, some for and some against redefining marriage. Your idea that it will expand civilization is patently absurd if taken at face value, but most in the country view the degradation of our values, rightly or wrongly in this case, as worsening for society in general. To me, its not about love or emotions or perceived fairness, its simple a complicated issue with many potential ramifications. Good reasons both for and against in my opinion.


  6. Jack: Thanks for joining in. I agree and (damnit) wish I had thought of that (not being a competition and all).

    MacGregor:

    Thats your opinion which happens to be in the minority.

    An argument from popularity is a rather thin argument. There was a time when a majority of Americans thought that chattel slavery was fine. Same for limiting the franchise. Our democracy was designed with the goal of protecting the rights of minorities.

    Sorry i misunderstood your usage of vigilante restrictions, but it sounds like you are also for anything goes, polygamy, etc.

    Reductio ad absurdum arguments have, in the past, been proven wrong almost every time.

    As for expanding human rights, that is what civilization has been about. From the divine right of kings (in which the royalty (or nobility)) had all the rights, to limited democracy (generally with only property-owning males, or males of the dominant social group having the vote), to women’s suffrage, to voting right and marriage rights for African Americans, the right of a trial, of representation, the right to not have a confession tortured out of the defendent, the right of appeal, the right to live where we want (if, of course, we can afford it) — the history of civilization has been a history of expanding rights. The only difference today is that there are damn few social, ethnic, or other groups against whom it is okay to discrminate. I’d call that progress toward civilization. Right now, that seems to be the GLBT community, atheists, and the overweight.

    Ultimately, I see this as both a human rights issue and a First Ammendment issue. When I got married, there was no man of the cloth, no bible, no church, no religious trappings, no mention of god(s). Civil laws recognize and codify human rights. Because a majority of Americans are Christians (of one sort or another (what, 30k sects?)) does not mean that an exclusively Christian definition of marriage and divorce must be codified into civil law. To do that would deny rights to Americans without those rights being taken away by a court in a criminal proceding.

    And the complicated issue argument was there during the slavery debate, the women’s suffrage debate, the debate about the Jim Crow laws, the debate about voting rights, and even, in Connecticut back in the late 1700s, the debate regarding whether a Baptist could hold state office.

    Sorry for the ramble. I’m heading for work and wrote this in a hurry.



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