Same-sex bill shames Republicans

IBy Daniel Levin I have been a conservative and a Republican all my life. For the last few years I’ve even been card-carrying. At times like this, however, I’m ashamed of the appellation.

House files 330 and 341, regarding the revocation of same-sex partner benefits for state employees and the removal of sexual orientation from the state’s human rights statute – effectively condoning discrimination against homosexuals – are abominations of the worst kind of ideals for which the Republican Party stands.

One of the main tenets of the Republican Party is to keep government limited in the role that it plays in citizens’ everyday lives. This idea is meant to be employed to grant each individual the greatest possible freedom without allowing his or her actions to infringe upon the rights of others. Thomas Jefferson, one of the presidents most frequently cited by Republicans in favor of limited government, once said, “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

Furthermore, high-profile conservative leaders, such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, consistently argue for strict constructionalism when attempting to “interpret” the Constitution. Section one of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States Ö nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

With these things in mind I’m dumbfounded by the hypocrisy of an unfortunate number of the members of my party here in Minnesota, in my home state of Wisconsin and nationwide. They argue that same-sex partners shouldn’t receive benefits because that opens the door for unmarried heterosexuals to share benefits. Legalize same-sex marriage – Jefferson’s equal rights of the minority – and the problem is eliminated.

They argue that granting protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation is granting special rights and violates the law. On the contrary. Denying an obviously persecuted group protection that is granted to other persecuted groups is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. As for the sponsor, Rep. Arlon Lindner, R-Corcoran, whose arguments go on to express concern that homosexuals are “recruiting” children into their lifestyle and promoting transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, I can only express my most sincere disappointment in the people of Rep. Lindner’s district who elected a man who voluntarily demonstrates that level of ignorance.

In conclusion, I can only express my most sincere distaste for the particular brand of hypocritical conservatism currently being expressed by all too many Republicans in Minnesota. As a staunchly devoted member of the Grand Old Party, and one who would be heartbroken to see it divided by double standards, I wish to send a message to the fellow members of my party who are bent on passing these bills: Remember that your personal choices and feelings, whether they come from religion, upbringing, fear, simple ignorance or anything else, have no place in government when they deny others’ rights.

Shame on you.

Daniel Levin is a first-year University student in the College of Liberal Arts. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]