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    Posted March 25, 2013 by
    k3vsDad
    Location
    Farmersburg, Indiana
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Same-sex marriage hearings: Your thoughts

    More from k3vsDad

    Could Quest for Equality Split the GOP?

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     k3vsDad told me, 'Being a gay male in a long-term relationship, but living in a state that bands equality for GLBT, I naturally find it a personal issue and one, I believe, rooted in the Constitution that all our citizens be treated equally. Having lived through the days where the mere suspicion of being gay could be fatal and seeing how tolerance and understanding has begun to shift in our society to one where we are more free to be who we are, I am encouraged that the issue has finally risen to a review by the Supreme Court no matter the outcome.' See his updated thoughts.
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    No  matter the outcome, history will be made over the next two days when  the US Supreme Court hears arguments pro and con over the Defense of  Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. Both cases involve  equality for same-gender couples in the US of A. The rulings by the  Justices are not expected to be known until summer.

    The  move by same-gender couples seeking equality under the law and state  recognition of their long-term unions has been moving slowly for the  last 20 years since the issue arose in the Hawaii State Legislature in  1993. However, GLBT citizens have longed for equality for hundreds, even  thousands of years.

    On  this eve of the nation's highest court taking on the issue of equality  for all citizens, there are already rumblings in some circles that this  may be the death knell of the nation and if not, it could be the issue  which will finish killing off the Republican Party. The issue was even  part of the "autopsy" released by the Republican National Committee  following the monumental loss of the White House over the last two  presidential elections.

    While  the report made mention of the need for the GOP to diversify and become  more inclusive, the RNC was not ready to offer an open-hand to GLBT  citizens and voters. While 131 prominent, if not necessarily well-known,  Republican leaders have signed an amicus brief to the Supremes calling  for equality for not just opposite-gender couples, but same-gender  couples as well, the party does not seem poised to change its tune any  time soon.

    This  was made evident from the statement by House Speaker John Boehner, a  Republican, that he had not changed his views on "gay marriage" and  could not see ever changing his view that marriage was only for a man  and a woman. This was said in response to conservative Ohio Senator Rob Portman announcing that he was moving to the camp in support of equality for same-gender couples after revealing his son, Will, was gay. Portman  is the highest profile, currently in elected office, Republican to come  out in favor of "gay marriage".

    Christian  Evangelicals, who have since the 1980s formed the base of the GOP, are  now threatening to either split from the party if it moves toward  acceptance or support for same-gender equality. Tony Perkins and Ralph  Reed, leaders in the Evangelical movement, have stated as much and also  noted that Evangelicals may also sit out elections and not vote.

    Recent  polls, however, show the issue is not only one between Evangelicals and  libertarians, who generally support same-gender equality, but is also  divided between generations. Those under 40 in the GOP are  overwhelmingly for same-gender equality, while those older are still  against extending those benefits to GLBT couples.

    The main schism appears to be really over one little word - marriage.

    When  asked by pollsters, a good majority of Republicans come out in support  of equality under the law for all citizens, straight and gay. When  pollsters insert marriage into the question, the numbers change.

    As I have noted in Shaping the Cornfield Perspective - Where I Stand Politically:

    We  must ensure that all our citizens are treated equally under the law. No  one class or group of individuals or couples should be granted any  rights and benefits not afforded to every other group of individuals and  couples.

    Same-gender relationships should be afforded the  benefit of state blessing just as opposite-gender relationships now are.  There is no reason to complicate or not allow equality under the law  with all the benefits and protections afforded opposite-gender couples  over the use of a word on the state license. Best option is that all  state licenses use the term civil union on all state documents. Let the  couples have a "marriage" privately within the framework of their  religious institutions or according to their moral view. All couples,  whether same-gender or opposite-gender, should be afforded the same  rights and benefits under the law when receiving a license to recognize  the joining of the two individuals legally.

    Grandfather  in all existing marriages, but let all future legally state-recognized  couples be solemnized in a civil ceremony conducted by a civil official.  Those wishing to still have a "marriage" may do so, without state  recognition, in the church of their choice. This would also take the  fear out of the equation that providing equality to same-gender couples  would impose a legal requirement on pastors and priests to conduct legal  ceremonies that run afoul of religious views.

    It seems so simple to me.

    Would such a compromise, however, be enough to keep the Grand Ole Party from tearing apart?

    If  the Supreme Court does rule that marriage is a fundamental right of all  citizens, both straight and gay, will it result in a revolt and bolting  from the GOP by Evangelicals and other socially conservative members?

    If  the Supreme Court narrows its focus without providing a nationwide  definitive ruling, is same-gender equality or gay marriage inevitable  with younger people supporting the issue by nearly 80%?

    While  all of this is playing out, Illinois, Delaware and Rhode Island  legislatures are considering junping on board the move to providing  marriage to all citizens. A new lawsuit has been filed in New Mexico to  force county officials to provide marriage licenses to same-gender  couples since a legal paper by one county's attorney pointed out that  New Mexico law does not define "marriage" as between only a man and a  woman.

    All  eyes will be focused on Justice Anthony Kennedy Tuesday and Wednesday  as the Supreme Court hears the two cases. Kennedy is considered the  swing vote on whether same-gender equality will advance or the status  quo remains and the issue continue to play out state-by-state.

    With  this backdrop, the GOP, it seems, has one more issue which it must find  an answer and put the party on the winning side. Yet, the answer, the  solution, could either put Republicans back in the running for 1600  Pennsylvania Avenue or permanently sideline the party to minority  status.

    From  the Cornfield, I have been waiting for decades for the issue of  equality for GLBT to make its way to the Supreme Court. With  anticipation and some anxiety, I am both hopeful and fearful of how the  Justices will rule.

    In time, however, I do believe that all Americans, whether straight or gay, will find and celebrate equality under the law.

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