My father’s favorite lines is, “What’s wrong with these people?” This is usually applied to how people drive. But it’s a good general question, because as I go on my way each day I wonder the same thing, “What’s wrong with these people?”
As you may remember, that great defender of liberalism, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law in 1996. There are two important parts to the act. Section 2 says that if any states allow gay marriage, the other states can ignore them. Second 3 says that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman. Second 3 was found unconstitutional, but of course, four of the justices thought it was just fine. So DOMA is pretty much a thing of the past.
Side note: the whole one man and one woman thing is truly bizarre. The reason marriage is currently defined that way is because that is the way it is currently defined. Historically, powerful men had many wives and weak men had none. This is certainly the case through most of the Bible, which is where most conservatives get their ideas about what marriage is. Look at Lot: after his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, he effectively got two wives: his two daughters. (The Bible is very creepy.) So there’s no historical or religious precedent for this whole one man and one woman definition. What it all comes down to is what people are used to, and therefore, what they are comfortable with.
Same-Sex Marriage in the Military
So DOMA is off the table. And another of Clinton’s great liberal policies is gone too: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). So Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declared that same-sex married couples could apply for benefits at state National Guard bases. And it all went fine, because after all, what’s the big fucking deal? It is just paper work. There are no physical examples—no one had to watch the couple copulate. But, of course, for some people it was a big deal. Six states balked:
- West Virginia
First, I want to state for the record: it wasn’t the people actually doing the processing of paper work. I’m not saying that some or even a lot of them weren’t against same-sex marriage. But they were just doing what they were told, just like at any job. No, it was the political demagogues who were trying to make a point. That point is a little vague, I think it has something to do with standing up for stupidity, injustice, and the bigoted way.
Regardless, this is the United States armed forces. It amazes me. Let me say that again with feeling: it amazes me. The conservative idea of patriotism is that you support your country, except when you don’t want to. These people don’t love America; they love some idea of America that they made up in their own little pea brains. I’m not saying “America right or wrong.” But I am saying that breaking the law needs to be based on a hell of a lot more than the fact that you find gay sex icky.
Right now, we have a young lady named Chelsea Manning serving 30 years in prison. She saw that the United States military was misbehaving and lying about it. So she went to her supervisors and they were in on it too. They told her to just ignore it. But she did what a good solider is supposed do. She disobeyed those unethical orders. But in the case of processing same-sex marriage benefit claims, these states were not protesting the military doing something it claimed it was not. They just didn’t like the policy. It is as if Manning had released those files because she just didn’t think we should be at war in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, Chelsea Manning got 30 years, and these bigots get nothing.
But they did lose their battle. After all the tizzy fits and pompous proclamations, they all caved. Now same-sex married couples can file for benefits at state National Guard posts. But I still have the same question, “What is wrong with these people?”
Want to write to a patriot? Here is Chelsea Manning’s address, but you still have to use the name “Bradley” on the envelope:
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304
Her wish is to be referred to as a Chelsea and Ms inside the letter. We have a great deal to be thankful to her for.
 Some might defend him by noting that Congress would have easily over-ruled him if he had vetoed the bill. But it was quite simply an act of political cowardice, right before his re-election in 1996. Later, Clinton called for its repeal. I’m sure if he had been allowed, he would have signed up to fight in Vietnam in 1976 too.