"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, 2006 before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by "God's Law."
There in lies the problem in the United States today and the fear among many Canadians in the face of a Conservative government that remains steadfast in its opposition to gay marriage.James Raskin is an unusual Democrat today. He is speaking out as a politician should. He has in a few words managed to move the debate from that of the morality as framed by some Christian leaders and onto what we elect politicians to do. In the USA people expect them to uphold the constitution.
The USA was formed in part by people that wanted to escape religious persecution. So after a tea party in Boston some people wrote a consititution for a new country. Two of the premisis of the new country's constitution were to be free to practice your own religion and all people were equal. Of course this did not apply to blacks, aboriginals or women and may I suggest wicca's were not considered religious enough.
Raskin has reminded us of the rules. If elected he will take the constitution seriously. Overnight he has become a hero in the gay community. Raskin is not gay, he is married and has three children and by speaking out against amendments to ban same-sex marriages, he is challenging other Democrats to speak out too, even when it could mean you become public enemy number one among certain well-funded christian groups.
In America a politicians first responsibility is to uphold American law as Raskin's statement points out. It is not to implement "god's law" and certainly not to implement it according to Jerry Falwell or James Dobson and Pat Robertson.
James Raskin is running in the Democrat Primary for State Senate District 20 in Maryland.
This Sunday here in the heartlands read more on the assault led by the Christian Right on the American Constitution.
Thanks to Rob Cottingham, speech writer and blogger for the quote tip.