God, Not States, Should Legislate Morality
County Daily Times, June 30, 2003
500 Mildred Avenue, Primos, PA 19018
Last week’s historic Supreme Court decision striking
down bans on what some state legislators have called “deviate sex acts”
has been proclaimed a milestone for gay Americans.
Indeed, it moved America one step further in the founding
fathers’ mission to guarantee civil rights for all men and women.
It also magnified the ongoing misunderstanding by many
that the United States government was designed to enforce the ideals of only
one brand of religion, or any religion at all.
Those who have decried the ruling are fast to invoke
words like”morality” or “morals” as though the Supreme Court is a big
cathedral rather than a court of law, and the Supreme Court justices, clerics
rather than judges.
The judges themselves, who voted 6-3 in favor of striking
down the laws against sodomy, were apologetic for a ruling by their
predecessors that upheld sodomy laws on “moral” grounds.
The pivotal case was based on a rather unbelievable
invasion of privacy by law-enforcement authorities in Texas five years ago.
Responding to a false complaint of an armed intruder, they entered an
apartment and found two men having sex in their own bedroom.
The two men were jailed overnight and fined $200.
To illustrate just how arbitrary this invasion of privacy
by state legislators was, oral and anal sex in Texas was legal between
heterosexuals but not homosexuals before the Supreme Court ruling.
Legislators in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri also
approved of sodomy between members of the opposite sex, but not between
members of the same sex.
However, if those heterosexual residents of Texas,
Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas were to have practiced sodomy in nine other
states, they could have been arrested.
Before last week’s Supreme Court ruling, oral and anal
sex for anyone was against the law in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana,
Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.
Legislators in Georgia had the good sense to repeal their
sodomy law, despite the fact it was upheld by the Supreme Court 17 years ago.
In all fairness, sodomy laws were very old and buried in
the books. The gentlemen in Texas who took their case to the Supreme Court
triggered a long-needed purging of these laws so they can’t be used
arbitrarily for harassment and discrimination against anyone else.
Fundamentalists are among the most vocal critics of the
Supreme Court’s decriminalization of oral and anal sex.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, apparently with the
Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah in mind, is predicting the fall of the
United States because sodomy can no longer be outlawed.
If fundamentalists find such sex acts repugnant, the
Constitution guarantees that they are free to not practice them and to preach
against them in churches or on street corners, if they so desire.
But the Constitution also guarantees that not all
Americans have to agree.
They are correct that random sex between people of the
same or opposite gender does have its consequences.
Gonorrhea, syphilis, AIDS and other sexually transmitted
diseases have been diagnosed in homosexuals and heterosexuals. Husbands have
been known to transmit these diseases to their wives, and vice versa, because
they are adulterers. Children have suffered the sometimes-fatal effects of
these diseases because of their parents’ infidelities.
Instead of unearthing antiquated laws condemning
adulterers to prison, government officials have embarked on vigorous campaigns
to educate Americans about safe sex and how to keep their bodies healthy.
As for Americans’ souls, they are leaving to God the
things that are God’s.
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