heil to the court!

3 December 2002

All right, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and hold forth on this homosexual sodomy law case that's before the Supreme Court. Jhames and VASpider have already done so, and probably with far more eloquence than I'll be able to manage, but what the hell.

I wish I could say I'm surprised and shocked that the Texas sodomy laws are being actively upheld. I wish I was astonished that two men were arrested in 1998 for having consensual sex in the privacy of their own home. I wish I was stunned by the consequences of this arrest for them, which in some states will mean them both having to register as sex offenders, the same as a rapist or child molester. All for making love with each other in the privacy of their own bedroom. I wish I was surprised by all this, but I'm not. My attitude is not shock; it's weary resignation. The state of Texas is prosecuting gay men for having sex? Yeah, what a surprise.

I'm from Mississippi. I grew up in a place where the religion is as thick as the humidity and just as pervasive, so I long ago stopped expecting religious people to recognize that my civil rights are just as important as theirs. I don't mean to unfairly tar all religious people with a broad brush; I know not all religious people are the type to deny minorities their rights. I know that, so don't email me and tell me.

But you and I both know that sodomy laws were put on the books in the first place to uphold someone's idea of morality. If it wasn't about that, the laws would never have gotten passed. Most of the sodomy laws still in existence were enacted during that damn Victorian era, the mid-to-late 19th century, a period that provided the seeds for the Christian fundamentalist movement in the early 20th century. I don't think this is a coincidence.

Take religion out of the picture for a minute. Pretend America is a completely secular society which values the Constitution as its highest national law (ha!). Now try to imagine, in this atmosphere, trying to pass a law that blatantly violates citizens' right to privacy. Even better, imagine trying to pass a law that blatantly violates only a minority group's right to privacy and leaves everyone else alone. It would never happen, not in a million years. Why? Because in this ideal America, separation of church and state would be a reality, not a phrase bandied about on Crossfire, and people like Judge Roy Moore of Alabama wouldn't be allowed to use the Bible as a basis for secular legal decisions.

You want to talk public morals? Okay. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is a public moral. It's one of our founding values. It encompasses the right of every individual to live his or her life as he or she sees fit to do. In a free society, this is essential.

The sodomy laws are a blatant violation of civil rights for everyone. In my home state, at least they don't discriminate: sodomy is a felony for everyone, not just us homos. (Yes, I said felony. Get caught getting a blowjob and become a convicted felon. Nice, huh?) In a free country like ours is supposed to be, this is utterly and completely ridiculous.

I don't care what your moral code is; if you don't understand that freedom applies to everyone equally in this country (or should), why are you here? Want to make this country into a theocracy and enforce your idea of morality on everyone? Why not go to the Middle East and hang out in Iraq where they have a real theocracy?

Let's hope the Supreme Court justices quit committing cranial sodomy with their own asses long enough to overturn this bullshit law.