Shame is a human emotion manifest by a painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, or ridiculous done by oneself. There are human beings who lack that feeling and are typically blatant racists or, really, any kind of blatant bigot. Americans have seen a preponderance of shameless bigots since the people elected an African American man as President, and besides openly championing discrimination against people of color, the LGBT community, and non-Christians, women have been singled out as pariahs the religious patriarchs have openly targeted for second class status.
Since it has become a badge of honor among Republicans to blatantly discriminate against women in the workplace, reproductive rights, access to healthcare, and equal rights, it was little surprise that South Carolina Republicans used an anti-women agenda as reason to discriminate against gays. As the Supreme Court is beginning to hear arguments for and against gays and lesbians marrying the person they love, different groups on each side of the argument have filed ‘amicus briefs’ with the Court advocating for a ruling in their favor.
South Carolina Republicans joined the fray and filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court defending their right to openly discriminate against the gay community based on the long history of Republicans discriminating against women. The crux of South Carolina’s argument in support of discriminating against gays is that if it constitutionally permissible to discriminate against women, then it is perfectly legal to discriminate against gays. Where most people would never admit they target women for discrimination, and get away with it, South Carolina Republicans shamelessly used it as legal precedent to express their religion-based bigotry toward the gay community.
In the amicus brief filed by South Carolina’s attorney general against gays having the right to marry the person they love, the bigot argued that the High Court should follow the “original sexist intent” of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. He claims the authors of the 14th Amendment intended to maintain discriminatory laws against women being equal with men under the law, so it is all the legal precedent religious bigots need to discriminate against gays. Yes, it is as despicable an argument as any evangelical bigot has come up with thus far, but it is also relatively accurate; if it was still 1868.
The problem is that when the 14th Amendment became part of the Constitution, it did not include equality for women any more than it provided true equality under the law for people of color. In a sense, if the so-called ‘constitutional originalists‘ on the High Court rule according to what religious patriarchs intended in the 14th Amendment, then yes, gays have no more claim to equal rights under the law in 2015 than women did in 1868. According to congressional records, the dirty patriarchs drafting the amendment were fiercely adamant that according to the 10th Amendment, states could “not be forced to recognize married women as independent human beings with rights of their own.” They were the subservient property of their husbands and simple birth machines relegated to cleaning chamber pots and preparing meals.
The primary author of the amendment, a patriarchal douchebag named John Bingham gave his unwavering assurance to other patriarchal congressmen that they “need not be alarmed that the amendment would alter the ‘condition’ of married women.” In fact, another anti-woman cretin, Samuel Shellagarger, promised that under the amendment’s ‘equal protection‘ clause, the 10th Amendment still guaranteed that “states could deprive women of the right to sue, enter into contracts, or testify in a court of law;” women were already denied the right to vote because of their “condition.”
Since the 14th Amendment has been in effect, the High Court has often held that states laws putting women at a clear disadvantage receive “heightened scrutiny” under the equal protection clause; including the current conservative court that one hopes would strike down laws forbidding married women from owning property, voting, or entering into legal contracts. However, one seriously wonders how much the current conservative patriarchs on the Court are willing to allow women, much less gays, their equal rights according to recent rulings that disallowed women from filing lawsuits as a class, or use contraceptives without their evangelical and Catholic employers’ permission.
The frightening aspect of how the conservatives on the court interpret South Carolina’s amicus brief is that they may adopt and restore the sexist and patriarchal “originalist” interpretation of the 14th Amendment and not only disallow gays from enjoying equal protections under the law, but open the door for a rash of Republican state-sponsored sexism the likes American women have never witnessed.
It is worth noting that most Republicans do not support women choosing their own reproductive rights, receiving equal pay for equal work or even entering the workforce, and in many cases believe women should be sequestered at home in constant birthing mode and in servitude to the man of the house. These beliefs did not originate with the authors of the 14th Amendment, they are longstanding biblical principles Republicans still adhere to in 21st Century America.
That South Carolina would have the temerity to use an originalist interpretation of the 14th Amendment, and its clearly anti-women tenets, as precedent to discriminate against the gay community is not only shameless, it informs just how bigoted Republicans are toward gays. One hopes the conservatives on the Supreme Court reject South Carolina’s blatantly anti-women argument to justify discriminating against LGBT people, but with the so-called “constitutional originalists” on the Court, it is entirely possible they will reject the “broader constitutional principles” of the 14th Amendment and adopt the 1868 concept that, Hell no, all Americans are not equal under the law; particularly if they are women or gay.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.