Saturday, May 12, 2012

Officer Down: Constitutional Issues of Gay Marriage

People pretend the law exists as some uber reality, dispensing justice in some magical fashion based on whatever sort of "natural law" they conjure.

Humans, however, make laws and they apply to real people, and we must evaluate effects to determine whether particular laws prove just.

Under the US Constitution, laws ought not to favour one class of people over another nor proscribe protected forms of free expression absent a compelling interest.

The status of marriage provides benefits to a heterosexual couple with a government license: different federal tax rates than singles, social security survivor benefits, medical insurance subsidized by the tax code when provided by employers.

None of these did the partner of a Tampa police officer, Lois Marrero, killed in the line of duty, receive.

Although the case may have turned on whether officer Marrero intended to change her beneficiary forms to add her partner, it perfectly illustrates my larger point that denying partners of whatever sexual orientation benefits given to heterosexuals on the basis of natural law, traditional marriage, and actually on Judeo Christian values based on 6 verses in the Bible known as the clobber passages: 3 in Old Testament and 3 in the Epistles of the New Testament.

The Republican nominee for President, perhaps failing to realize the US Constitution in the first amendment explicitly enjoins establishment of a particular religion by federal or state governments, seems to hold such views--except of course not applying that to his grandfather and other polygamist forebears.

Taken literally and followed to the Biblical extreme, passages in Leviticus 11 should lead such biblical literalists to close down every BBQ pork restaurant and oyster bar in the United States.

Therefore denying equality of marriage benefits to non-heterosexual couples violates the idea of human rights and the rights guaranteed under our United States Constitution.

(Special thanks to Bilerico Project for providing link to post they did, linked above.)

[By AMY HERDY, Times Staff Writer © St. Petersburg Times published February 27, 2002 TAMPA -- After hours of emotional testimony, it took a city pension board only minutes Tuesday to deny Mickie Mashburn the pension benefits of slain Tampa police Officer Lois Marrero, her longtime domestic partner....

The hearing was an appeal of an Aug. 28 decision by the firefighter and police pension board, which unanimously rejected Mashburn's application for Marrero's pension death benefits. Marrero, a Tampa police officer killed by a fleeing bank robber in July, was paid $55,000 a year. She did not leave a will.

Mashburn was seeking a $28,000 a year benefit paid to a surviving spouse. Doering and attorney Shannon Minter called more than a half-dozen witnesses Tuesday to testify that Marrero and Mashburn, who also is a Tampa police officer, lived as spouses, and that Marrero would have wanted Mashburn to have her pension. Mashburn "was the most important thing to Lois," said Marilyn Lee, a fellow Tampa police officer who said she knew the couple for several years.]

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