Should gay married couples have the same rights under the law as heterosexual married couples? The administration of President Barack Obama says yes — and is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue its case.
Administration lawyers are asking the Court to declare Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Section 3 is the part of the current U.S. law that says that same gender couples are prohibited from eligibility for certain federal benefits, such as the ability to qualify for and file joint income tax returns, or to receive federal employee benefits.
In papers filed with the high court, the Administration said there are more than 1,000 federal statutes and programs arising out of current law that depend on a person’s marital status. Treating gay married couples differently than straight married couples should be illegal in all of these areas, the Administration said.
The Defense of Marriage Act, in fact, singles out gay people specifically, the Administration’s lawyers said, including couples who are legally married, having met all the requirements to achieve that status in the states in which they reside. Targeting them as this law does, the Administration says, is “a harsh form of discrimination that bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society.” As well, the present law violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, its filing before the Court said.
The court filing comes as little surprise to people who heard the President’s remarks about gays in his recent State of the Union message. On that occasion he said: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Opposition to any change by the Court in the Defense of Marriage Act comes in the main from Republicans in Congress, who say that the courts should stay out of the issue of gay marriage rights and let the people decide at the ballot box how they want these matters handled.
The Obama Administration told the Supreme Court, however, that there is a long history in America of discrimination against gays and lesbians. It also argued that sexual orientation bears no relation to one’s ability to contribute to society as an active member of the citizenry, and should therefore not be the basis of laws that fail to grant equal rights to those citizens.
As well, said the filing, sexual orientation is a core part of a person’s identity, and there is broad scientific evidence that this is not a voluntary choice — which is, the filing asserted, another reason why discrimination based on such orientation should be declared unconstitional.
But the Obama Administration filing saved its biggest argument for last. Gays, it said, have very limited political leverage, and what progress has been made on their behalf has not been uniform, and where it has taken place, has more often than not been the result of “judicial enforcement of the Constitution, not political action.”
The New Spirituality, of course, is very clear on this issue. Gays should not be discriminated against in any area of civic, public or private life, from housing to employment to legal rights and benefits. And same sex married couples should be accorded exactly the same social and legal benefits as opposite sex married couples. I can’t imagine a single spiritual reason why that should not be the case.
There are those, of course, who believe that gay sexual activity violates the law of God, and on that basis should be temporally illegal as well. Regarding this aspect of human behavior, everything should be “on earth as it is in heaven.”
But is it this way in heaven? Are same gender sexual expressions of love an “abomination,” as some declare that the Bible asserts – and so, therefore, that God says?
Is the Bible the infallible Word of God — on this or any other topic? If so, which topics? Every subject brought up in this Scripture?
Do you agree with the Obama Administration’s actions in requesting the Supreme Court of the U.S. to declare portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, widely known as “DOMA,” unconstitutional because they fail to protect gay married couples from discrimination?
What is the spiritual basis of your position, one way or the other? Let this be part of The Conversation of the Century.
Dear Editor…My son is falling into a group that uses drugs on a regular basis. This is not just youthful “experimentation,” this is serious drug abuse, as far as I am concerned. I have talked with him about it, but he keeps telling me not to worry, that he can take care of himself, and has no intention of becoming “addicted” to drugs. What can I do here? Are there any “spiritual truths” that might help me in this situation — or help him? I suppose I should tell you, he is 22 years old…but that doesn’t make him feel any less my worry or my concern.
The greatest gift a parent can give their children, and the hardest one for the parent to give, is letting them live their own lives. Especially when it is going in a direction that, to us, is clearly not the journey that we would want them to take. At 22, he is certainly on his own journey.
There are no wrong paths, Priscilla, and I would like to suggest to you that your son is taking this path for two reasons. First, because this is the way he is experiencing what he chose, on a soul level, to experience. Secondly, so that you, and others, could choose your own experience through what he is doing right now.
I am not saying that, Priscilla, from a flippant space. I have someone very special to me who is a recovering addict. For him, it took many years and many hard roads, including prison. We had a talk about his path recently, and he said that there was nothing I could have done that would have stopped him…until he was ready to stop. What he did say, that was most interesting to me, was that every word of advice that my husband and I gave him was heard! He said that he couldn’t truly hear them until he was sober, but then they became powerful.
You haven’t indicated that your son is an addict, and I don’t want to suggest that he is, but the advice I would give you is the same. Talk to him. Don’t talk to him from your judgment, talk to him from your love. It is okay to tell him you are worried about him, it is not okay to tell him you think he is bad. Tell him you love him.
If he knew who he really was, he wouldn’t be doing what he is doing. To help him know this, you might give him a copy of “Conversations With God” Book 1, but just give it to him gently and let him know it is okay if he doesn’t read it until he is ready to. Priscilla, you may also wish to have personal support, and if you feel so drawn, you might consider going to www.ChangingChange.net where you can share your journey and get practical and spiritual suggestions. The site is based on the book, “When Everything Changes, Change Everything”, and it is available, in total, to read on the site. There are, of course, many other resources available to both of you.
Then let him have his own journey. It may never be one you understand, but, Pricilla, it will never be a “wrong” journey. This life is not the end of the experience as individuations of Divinity. Your task is to have your own journey, that, hopefully, includes finding a way to communicate to your son that his journey is the more difficult one, and that there is a way that works better. My journey included telling my special someone that I would no longer witness his self destruction. I told him that I understood that no one would consciously choose this road, and that I loved him, but staying on the road with him was not helping him, and was harming me, and others that I loved.
Priscilla, communicate your fears, but don’t let judgment enter the conversation. Suggest, but don’t dictate. Let your son know your love. Then, no matter how long or short the journey through drugs he must take, be there when he comes out the other side. Then tell him you will always be his mother. I know that the seeds of love that I sowed took 15 years, but they grew into a magnificent man!
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
(Therese Wilson is the administrator of the global website at www.ChangingChange.net, which offers spiritual assistance from a team of Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less, and offers insight, suggestions, and companionship during moments of unbidden, unexpected, unwelcome change on the journey of life. She may be contacted at Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
A clear cut winner in the first Presidential Debate has been declared. It was neither Republican Mitt Romney nor Democrat Barack Obama.
It was the American people.
For the first time in 18 months of back-and-forth statements and claims, both candidates for the highest public office in the United States appeared on the same platform to explain directly to the American people their proposals and ideas for how they would run the country should they be the country’s president in 2013.
The nation has waited for a very long time to hear from these gentlemen on topics ranging from taxes to the role of government, from health care to the U.S. economy. And while the format of two minutes to respond to complex questions continues to leave much to be desired (people have been complaining about such an abbreviated format election after election), moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS gave both candidates as much leeway as the rules would allow to state their case and make their point.
People—especially those who call themselves “undecided”—thus had a real opportunity to hear more of what Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney had to say in direct interface with each other on the major points of domestic policy than they ever had before. They could “feel into” these leaders and get a real sense of who they believe is best qualified to lead their nation in the years just ahead.
The wonder of the debate is that it could happen at all. The New Spirituality as articulated in the Conversations with God series of books says that the political process is a nation’s spirituality demonstrated. If this is true, and if the word “spirituality” can be understood to mean a person’s and a nation’s highest core values, then the United States has again demonstrated that its highest core value is in harmony with the highest value of The New Spirituality…which is freedom.
High school political science students know that in still too many countries around the world such a level of freedom—the ability of a nation to present to its people opposing candidates for the country’s highest office and to let the people decide who they wish to elect—is unheard of. Yet if a nation’s people cannot select their leaders, how can the values they hold closest to them ever be reflected in their nation’s politics and policies?
Now there are those who will say that the American political system is distorted, warped, and subject to every kind of abuse. And there seems little question that it is, for sure, in need of major reform, particularly as it relates to money flow, a badly outdated electoral college process which continues to be used to determine the winner of the most important election every four years, an organizing structure which continues to stubbornly be limited largely to a two-party system, etc. Still, and with these badly needed reforms notwithstanding, we saw in the debates something that would be completely out of the question in places such as Syria, where people feel they must take up arms in the street in order to participate at any level in the political process.
Whatever the challenges, limitations, distortions and abuses of the system, at the end of the day people in the U.S.—and now, thankfully, more and more nations around the world—are able to declare with their votes the leader of their choice. The system is not perfect (indeed, it is far from it), but it is closer than any other process so far devised to empowering the highest spiritual values of a nation.
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