March 17, 2006
The Constitution and The Bible
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Apparently, the Fundie Wingnuts are on the loose in Maryland. Republican Donald H. Dwyer Jr., member of the Maryland House of Delegates (the lower house of Maryland's state legislature), has been trying to force a same-sex marriage law on the state. Dwyer tried to impeach a Circuit Court judge, M. Brooke Murdock, because she ruled that a 1973 Maryland law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Dwyer wanted her impeached for "violating the public trust, abuse of power, incompetence, willful neglect of duty, and misbehavior in office." The Maryland legislature at least had enough sense not to go for it.
But Dwyer wants to imprint his religious beliefs on the state constitution, calling for an amendment that would ban all but "traditional" marriages. This is, after all, an election year, and gay marriage has proven to be a winning straw-man issue for Republicans to stir up the base and smear their opponents. But it may be backfiring.
In a hearing held by the legislature, Jamie Raskin, a professor of Constitutional Law at American University, was asked to testify on the matter. It's probably no coincidence that Raskin is running for state senate, and Maryland Republicans jumped at the chance to skewer the Democratic candidate by putting him on the stand and grilling him in an attempt to soil his name with the public. But it didn't work out the way they wanted. Republican State Senator Nancy Jacobs lectured, "As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God - that is my belief. ... For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principals [sic]."
To which Raskin replied: "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
Man, do I want this guy to be elected.
Scopes.com points out that Raskin was not the first to make this statement; Bill Maher said a year ago, relating to Bush's rush back to Washington D.C. to sign the Terry Schiavo bill, "Does George Bush remember that he put his hand on the Bible to uphold the Constitution and not the other way around?"
Still, it's a good quote, and true no matter who says it or how you state it. And a topic for the near future: what is "traditional marriage"? Maybe not what the Fundie Wingnuts think.