A Pink Tea Party for Musgrave
by Stephanie Shearer, July 8, 2003
A Pretty in Pink Tea Party
I am not gay.
Just to air out any suspicions that may be fogging up the corners of the room: I will confess right here and now that I am married -- and to a man. I suppose that my marriage, our daily dilemmas, our eccentricities, and the quality of our private intimacy would not be of any particular concern or consequence to you -- nor should it.
I wonder, then, why Colorado Representative Marilyn Musgrave spends so much of her taxpayer-funded salaried time concerning herself with assessing a value on the sex life of my friends David and Justin, while at the same time using her position to advocate a Constitutional amendment in some sort of fundamentalist judgment of their sex life, and more precisely, of their commitment to one another.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." -- The Declaration of Independence
Forget the impeding doom of drought, the bleak bankrupted fate of farmers, and the austere reality of hundreds of miles of road maintenance (ever driven highway 76?), Colorado's Fourth District must be unbelievably inundated with those pesky matrimonial-minded homos. I mean that is the district she is supposed to be representing, isn't it?
Obsessed. I think that accurately describes Musgrave's resilient and repeated introduction of this same sort of gay-fearing legislation into Colorado's own laws as state senator. Starting in 1996, and every year thereafter, Musgrave pushed the hetero-only union bill -- even though it was continuously vetoed by Governor Romer. Not until Bush's political twin stepped into the state's big gold dome was she able to get it passed. Owens let SB45 become law in 2000.
So, Colorado can now be proud that the gay populace in our state has no hospital visitation rights when a loved one is sick. We can be comforted that many homosexuals cannot provide health insurance to those they love, and we can feel safe knowing a lesbian cannot easily leave her estate to a life-long partner. And the law successfully creates barriers to adoption or foster care by same-sex couples -- but there aren't enough kids at risk to go around, y'know. Ask yourself this: what rights are legal heterosexual spouses in jeopardy of loosing if the state did recognize a union between my friends David and Justin?
"The traditional values Americans hold are being traded in for counterfeit marital unions. It is important to secure this institution and protect it from distortion." -- Rep. Musgrave
I don't care if Musgrave is biased against homosexuals. As an American she has the right to be -- until the day she decided to go into the political realm. There's this thing Musgrave (and her buddies Frist and Santorum) seem to not be aware of, a little Constitutional freedom we call Separation of Church and State.
Thomas Jefferson said it best: "Legislature should make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
The United States is a melting pot of religious and personal beliefs, and the Constitution is a document that celebrates that American ideal. It is not an ax for any one sect to use against a group of individuals for personal gain or religious conquests. The Constitution is absolutely not a place for this sort of prejudiced legislation.
HJ Resolution 56 should not only concern the gay and lesbian community, but should also be considered a threat to any American who believes the Constitution to be a declaration of our independence as a Nation -- and not merely a representation of some laymen's handbook of rightwing policies and trend legislation.
HJ Res 56 states: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any state under state or federal law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
Our beloved Constitution has been amended only 27 times since its birth 227 years ago, and those amendments have acknowledged additional freedoms and equalities for the people of this great nation. What purpose would be served if the states are denied their ability to set their own standards and modern "morale?" This amendment would empower the federal government to invalidate the state's authority and laws, all the while diminishing the people's voting power and authority. And that undermines other elements of the Constitution.
On CNN, Marilyn Musgrave said: "The amendment is necessary because the radical activists are going to the courts to get what they want."
We delivered a pretty pink box on Independence Day to Marilyn Musgrave's office in Loveland, Colorado -- overflowing with boxes of tea and companion letters from the voting populace. Our purpose of this tea party was to remind Rep. Musgrave that she is a representative of Colorado and not of the monarch. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's duty as an elected official is to represent the state's needs and the state's people -- not ram her extracurricular extremist principles into the nation's celebrated and protected framework of freedom.
If you want to participate, please send a box of tea to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, 1208 Longworth, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.
Ari Armstrong Replies
I agree with Shearer a Constitutional amendment regarding marriage is a ludicrous suggestion (which is to say it is politics as usual).
I also recognize that Musgrave has done a lot to benefit freedom. For instance, she fought hard for a liberal concealed carry law.
I think the best way to resolve the issue of marriage is simply to get the state out of it. All of the issues Shearer discusses -- hospital visitation, wills, health care, etc. -- can be handled better if the state is not involved.
Michael Kinsley wrote a great article on the matter July 2. He believes "the solution is to end the institution of government-sanctioned marriage. Or, framed to appeal to conservatives: End the government monopoly on marriage. Wait, I've got it: Privatize marriage. These slogans all mean the same thing. Let churches and other religious institutions continue to offer marriage ceremonies. Let department stores and casinos get into the act if they want. Let each organization decide for itself what kinds of couples it wants to offer marriage to. Let couples celebrate their union in any way they choose and consider themselves married whenever they want. Let others be free to consider them not married, under rules these others may prefer. And, yes, if three people want to get married, or one person wants to marry herself, and someone else wants to conduct a ceremony and declare them married, let 'em. If you and your government aren't implicated, what do you care?"
The debate about (state-sanctioned) marriage is mostly a proxy, a way to mask the fundamental debate over the moral status of homosexuality. I have argued that homosexuality is a right and also morally fine. And I believe the state should treat homosexual unions the exact same way it treats heterosexual unions, which is to say it should not treat them at all.