Adams correct, history is on liberals’
side

To the Daily:

Daniel Adams was spot-on in his column (The anger of a
drowning man
, 11/08/04), and his detractors in the paper seemed
to have let the point of his column just whiz right over their
heads.

Put in the simplest terms, to those seeking to amend the
constitution to ban same-sex marriages, the end result can be
determined today, here, in this very newspaper:

You will lose.

Didn’t sink in? Pause for dramatic effect, and try
again.

You will lose.

This is simply not a fight you will win. Kick, scream, claw, for
every inch along the way all you want, but I can predict the
future. And I don’t even need special powers to do it —
a library will suffice. It has nothing to do with the Left, the
Right, Christianity, ethics, Bush, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
or any one else who has weighed in his opinion on the issue —
230 years of precedence in U.S. legal history hold the answer. The
U.S. Constitution, the very foundation of this country, establishes
the United States as a democracy — in essence, rule by the
majority. But, at the same time, there is a precedent of checking
the inevitable tyranny of this majority over minorities.

Dim memories of time spent in high school history courses should
slowly come back, recalling the stories of various civil rights
movements throughout history.

Reminded of names like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony, most will recall some time spent studying the
women’s suffrage movement, these women’s struggle to
gain the right to vote and 80 years later, the eventual 19th
Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment guaranteed women the
right to vote — to have a voice and not be discriminated
against, as a “minority” in society.

Similarly, blacks, as well as other minorities in society, were
denied the right to vote, along with a slew of other basic human
rights. They and their supporters stood up and fought, for decades.
Despite decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court against their position,
they eventually received what they wanted, what they needed. It
took not one, not two, but three amendments to the Constitution,
but they were guaranteed their rights, and this was not the choice
of the majority at that time. Total duration of this struggle? At
least 150 years, depending on where you choose to start your
timeline.

Today, the country faces the same question — denying
rights to a minority, simply because the majority does not believe
it should have them, based on the majority’s own moralistic
and ethical beliefs. And not by simply passing a law, but by
amending the state constitution, the very fabric of this democracy,
the basis for all laws of the land — a fact that Zachary Emig
(Gay marriage opponents made reasonable choice, 11/09/2004)
seeks to trivialize by comparing amendments to taxation policies
and codes.

It may take 20, 30, 50 years or more, but the fact remains that
history is on the side of same-sex marriage’s proponents, as
Adams asserts. The majority can fight over what is moral and what
is ethical in this country and the petty definitions of words, but
the final arbiter of the fate of all people in this society is not
a god by any name or any form, but the words written in the U.S.
Constitution.

Ted Matherly

LSA junior

 

Letter writer defended discriminatory policy

To the Daily:

I’d like to start off by saying that I, like many of the
readers of The Michigan Daily, am opposed to the way the paper tend
to generalize groups of people (especially conservatives). I am in
agreement with Zachary Emig (Gay marriage opponents made
reasonable choice
, 11/09/2004) when he said that many people
who cast conservative ballots were very informed and very
intelligent.

However, I am also sure that there were people on both sides of
the political spectrum who were not educated about their votes, and
I find it very hard to believe that the majority of people who
voted for banning gay marriage did for reasons other than
homophobia, and this is where I must disagree with Emig. First of
all, I find it amazing that he could compare banning gay marriage
to progressive taxes or mortgage interest tax deductions. Emig
tried to make the following point; he tried to say that banning gay
marriage was equally hateful to making higher-income families pay
higher taxes than lower-income families. The part of this I find
most disturbing of his argument is that he believes that the actual
taking away of people’s freedom is the same thing as making
people with higher incomes pay more taxes. The progressive tax
system is in place because even though the actual monetary values
are different, the percentage of income is roughly the same.
However, by banning gay marriage, we are taking away people’s
rights. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote,
“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.”

By banning gay marriage, we are effectively creating a group of
second-class citizens (inequality), whose right to the pursuit of
happiness is being removed.

As for who voted to ban gay marriage and why they did it, I
understand that many of the people who voted to ban it are
intelligent and informed and while different people may have said
they had different reasons for banning same-sex marriages, I have a
hard time believing that any of them aren’t based on
homophobia. The reason that I’ve heard the most is to
“protect the sanctity of marriage;” however, no one has
yet been able to give me a straight answer with compelling
arguments as to how homosexual marriage will hurt marriage. As for
the argument that gay marriage is un-Christian, just because
homosexuality is looked down upon by the religion doesn’t
make it any less hateful. During the Spanish Inquisition, many Jews
were killed by the Catholic Church in the name of religion, yet
that didn’t make the act any less hateful. And yes, I realize
that was an extreme example.

In conclusion, let me say this to Emig: I understand where you
are coming from in your complaints about the newspapers on this
campus. They are very quick to generalize. I agree that people on
both sides of the spectrum should start to look at the positives of
the recent election. However, your arguments for choosing to
eliminate gay marriage were discriminatory, and the examples you
gave to defend your beliefs were irrelevant. I won’t use the
word hateful, but no matter how you phrase it, the taking away of
people’s rights will always be discriminatory.

Andrew Daar

LSA freshman

 

Conservatives should care about wood in nature

To the Daily:

I feel I must take it upon myself to expose an inherent,
not-so-implicit hole in Michael Vasell’s argument published
on Nov. 10 (Democrats need to clean up election materials)
in response to Steve Cotner’s column (When is a good time
to start living?
, 11/09/2004). Vasell writes in his letter that
“politically active liberals have destroyed all the wooden
trunks on campus,” and “people are turned off by the
Left’s disrespect for public property.” Is the air not
public property? Are oceans and forests and, indeed, national
wildlife reserves not public property? Your chosen party has a
criminally bad history of exploiting, destroying and manipulating
massive amounts of “public property” to personal,
economic advantage. Granted, the wildlife reserves in Alaska that
your chosen president is attempting to open up to oil drilling are
not “in your backyard,” and perhaps you do not see ugly
Kerry stickers pasted on bears and pine trees creating the dreaded
eyesores you speak of. I would encourage you to think beyond your
immediate (apparently aesthetic) interests. This is a quality
notoriously lacking in the “Right’s” agenda.
Regardless of your personal aversion to posting on already dead
trees, it may be time for you and your comrades to begin thinking
about the living ones — maybe even doing something about it!
You may have the convenient semantic advantage of being
“right,” but if you don’t start at least
respecting the “liberal” agenda, regardless of its
tactics, there will be nothing “left.”

Ryan Babbitt

LSA and Art and Design senior

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