Wednesday, August 15, 2007

States Rights = bigotry (?!)

Sen. Mike Gravel, who is apparently seeking the Democratic Nomination for president in 2008 (excuse me while I try to remember exactly who Mike Gravel is . . .), is not happy that Hillary Clinton deferred to states rights in defining "marriage," though she strongly supports equality of benefits (incidentally, though Hills' stance mirrors my position, this one issue is not enough to make me even consider supporting her in anything other than retirement). You can see a video of the statements to which Gravel refers at the bottom of this page.

Mike Gravel states, in part:

By drawing upon the language of states rights, Hillary embraces the tradition of John Calhoun and the defenders of slavery along with Strom Thurmond and the segregationists. Throughout our nation's history, every time national public opinion turns against oppression, opponents of progress use states rights to present themselves as defenders of liberty in the face of federal power.

States rights has always been the last refuge of the bigots. Now Hillary has given rhetorical cover to the homophobes. If she wins the Democratic nomination, opponents of gay marriage will cite her statement to justify their opposition to national marriage equality over the next decade.

Now I much beg Senator Gravel's pardon, but it seems a little dangerous to put all our eggs in the Federal basket. Why, isn't DOMA federal legislation? Didn't the FMA start in federal government (and admittedly die there)? Or the Federal Estate Tax that will hit gay couples quite significantly once it is reinstated? Has the Senator from Alaska noticed that at least 16 states plus the District of Columbia have workplace protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation while ENDA continues to languish in a Democrat controlled Congress?

OH wait, I get what Gravel's doing: he's trying to get attention by using a relatively insignificant issue to compare the front-runner in his race to a defender of slavery. And we trust people like this with our government?

PS, I NEVER thought I would be defending Hills on this blog. That Sen. Gravel made me do that is the most irritating thing of all.


Matt said...

You're correct about his intentions. And you're also correct that many bad things have come out of the federal government. But in Gravel's defense, he was just making a historical observation. And, for the most part, he's correct. Whenever bigots want to stop a national trend toward equality, they squawk about states' rights. I will not be at all surprised if that's the rallying cry against any national move toward gay legal equality (should ever such a thing materialize).

ThatGayConservative said...

So Gravel opposes a fundamental cornerstone of the Constitution. That's good to know.

KipEsquire said...

States do not have rights. Only individuals have rights. States have powers -- powers that they abuse.

I do not care whether I am oppressed at the federal, state or local level. I only demand that it stop.