Monday, June 29, 2015

GOP Shows Flashes of 1954 Thinking

I was excited and relieved when I heard the news of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality for all as a basic right that is not dependent on race, religion, or gender of the ones wishing to marry. This ruling understands that extending the right to marry is something that must be protected to all.  In doing so, South Dakota leaders reluctantly accepted the court rulings, but it appears that some are not exactly ready to accept the ruling.  Cory Heidelberger discusses at Dakota Free Press Blog about the comments by a Meade County Commissioner Alan Aker.  You can go and read the rantings if you would like to waste some time.

Several other GOP leaders have made this issue of standing up against the ruling of the Supreme Court front and center.  The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has declared that county clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses because of religious objections.   
“It is important to note that any clerk who wishes to defend their religious objections and who chooses not to issue licenses may well face litigation and/or a fine. But, numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights. 
“Texas must speak with one voice against this lawlessness, and act on multiple levels to further protect religious liberties for all Texans, but most immediately do anything we can to help our County Clerks and public officials who now are forced with defending their religious beliefs against the Court’s ruling.”
Other GOP members are speaking against the ruling.  They are fine to state their objection to the rulings.  They are fine to "respectfully" disagree.  They are not fine to advocate opposing the giving of rights.  These statements remind me of George Wallace standing at the door to prevent desegregation of schools...
We have placed this sign, "In God We Trust," upon our State Capitol on this Inauguration Day as physical evidence of determination to renew the faith of our fathers and to practice the free heritage they bequeathed to us. We do this with the clear and solemn knowledge that such physical evidence is evidently a direct violation of the logic of that Supreme Court in Washington D.C., and if they or their spokesmen in this state wish to term this defiance . . . I say . . . then let them make the most of it. 
This nation was never meant to be a unit of one . . . but a united of the many . . . . that is the exact reason our freedom loving forefathers established the states, so as to divide the rights and powers among the states, insuring that no central power could gain master government control. 
In united effort we were meant to live under this government . . . whether Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, or whatever one's denomination or religious belief . . . each respecting the others right to a separate denomination . . . each, by working to develop his own, enriching the total of all our lives through united effort. And so it was meant in our political lives . . . whether Republican, Democrat, Prohibition, or whatever political party . . . each striving from his separate political station . . . respecting the rights of others to be separate and work from within their political framework . . . and each separate political station making its contribution to our lives . . . 
I can only hope that we continue to move forward as a state.  As Stu Whitney said in today's Argus Leader...
But if America continues to see the same progress on social issues that occurred over the past decade, fighting against basic concepts such as gay rights and universal health care will make South Dakota appear out of touch and hopelessly irrelevant, as many outsiders view us already. 
"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times," wrote Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion, and our state's leaders should take note. True leadership comes from flexibility in the face of shifting circumstances, not merely drawing a line in the sand.
We are not there yet, but maybe someday we will be. 

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