“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
-John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961
That’s the message I thought of while watching the Clint Eastwood Chrysler Super Bowl ad this past Sunday.
It wasn’t a pro-Obama message or Republican message; it was a call to action for all Americans to drive the country towards a better future.
The message couldn’t ring any truer than what happened yesterday when a federal appeals court declared that California's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals struck down the voter-approved ban on Tuesday in its 2-1 opinion.
Sure to be a hot button issue this coming election, the progression of our nation should start with protecting the civil rights of our fellow citizens - no matter their sexual orientation.
Of course Republican critics don’t care about the appeals court ruling, pointing out that the Supreme Court usually overturns decisions made by other judicial circuits, even if the gay marriage debate goes to the high court.
Then again, many Republicans don’t see gay marriage as a 14th Amendment, equal protection under the law issue; but as an attack on religious freedom.
Former Pennsylvania Senator and current Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has been the most outspoken on this issue, saying that the appeals court decision was:
"Another in a long line of radical activist rulings by this rogue circuit — and it is precisely why I have called for that circuit to be abolished and split up. Marriage is defined and has always been defined as 'one man and one woman."
We simply cannot allow 50 different definitions of marriage.
The people of California spoke clearly at the ballot box that they wanted marriage defined in the traditional manner of one man and one woman.
And for a court, any court, to usurp the power and will of the people in this manner on an issue this fundamental to the foundation of our society is wrong."
“The fundamental foundations of our society?” The Constitution of the United States is the biggest “foundation of our society” and that document, under the equal protection clause as part of the 14th Amendment, states “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Therefore it isn’t right that states put the convictions of the majority over the civil rights of the minority because all that leads to is second-class citizenship.
At that point we’re only repeating a pattern in our history as blacks and women were once treated as second class citizens.
So as it is halftime in America, I think it’s time for us to stand up and find the courage to do the right thing for our country.