A Marriage Made in Heaven Guns and Same Sex Marriage are Both About Constitutional Rights. So...? By Peter R. Livingston

The United States recently joined forces with China to impose further sanctions against North Korea, because North Korea dared to pursue something possessed by both China and the United States - a nuclear weapon.

Of course, I don't like the idea of North Korea possessing a nuclear weapon. The weapon of mass destruction North Korea currently possesses - the North Korean government - has been freely used with terrible results against the North Korean people. North Korea would likely use a nuclear weapon with the same reckless abandon that it has used economic and political warfare against its own citizenry, despite whatever Dennis Rodman says.

Unfortunately, while the sanctions against North Korea will slow down the nation's nuclear program, they will also hurt its oppressed and unaware citizens more than the governing elite. But this rant is not about North Korea. It is about what can happen when two sides not usually associated with being on the same team can work together to promote their own interests.

In the North Korean case, the United States slowed down an enemy arming itself with nuclear weapons and China maintained stability in its international neighborhood. The events caused me to wonder what other strange bedfellows could unify and support each other's goals. And I got an idea.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed and signed into law the New York SAFE Act, which has the effect of turning many current law abiding gun owners into criminals. The United States is likewise proposing changing gun laws, although not to the ridiculous extent imposed by New York's elected pols. Advocates of the Second Amendment object to the restrictions and point to the simple text of the Amendment itself: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The text of the Constitution is clear and concise. Although many people who discuss gun rights talk about what is necessary for hunting - a word that never appears in the Constitution. Hunting was not at all on the minds of the Framers. Instead, they were concerned about freedom. They viewed the right to keep and bear arms as essential to protecting freedom.

Most gun laws erode Second Amendment rights and cast an overly broad net. Rather than focus on reducing illegal use of guns, they focus on prohibiting possession. Although it is derided by gun control proponents, the old adage remains true: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Or, more accurately, people who misuse guns kill people.

Another debate that I hear a lot about lately is over the right to same sex marriage. Advocates of same sex marriage point to the Fourteenth Amendment, which states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Rightfully, the Supreme Court has ruled that the equal protection clause bars racial and sexual discrimination, among other wrongs. Refusing an adult the right to marry the partner of his or her choice based on gender is likewise wrong.

Many who wish to prevent same sex marriage base their belief on religious doctrine. These arguments are typically heard from some believers in religions that trace their roots through children of Abraham. I am not sure what Buddhists and Hindus have to say about same sex marriage, but based on my limited knowledge of these religions and after seeing statues of Buddha and Vishnu, I think they're probably cool with it. They seem focused on joy and peace, and not on anger and fear.

An argument that I frequently hear is that, by allowing same sex marriage, we are promoting the subjection of children of these couples to abuses. This is similar to the anti-gun argument in that it generalizes based on a few bad actors and does not address the behavior of individuals. Homosexuals do not harm children; bad people harm children. If you want to protect children, focus on preventing bad people from access to children - leave law-abiding citizens alone.

Americans have a right to morally object to homosexuality, of course. But we don't have the right to persecute, nor impose our own morality. Rather than forcing a person to change, opponents of homosexuality should just encourage a person to be heterosexual. Of course, that sales pitch is doomed but at least they gave saving that person's immortal soul a try and moved along.

Certainly that person's God will reward the effort and maybe award bonus points for the peaceful approach. But I guess that makes too much sense, and I digress. This rant is about the Constitution, not religion.

This is where the North Korea strategy comes in: the divergent advocates of marriage equality and the Second Amendment should support each other's cause.

Together, their collective voice would be much louder. Their financial resources would be more abundant and effective. And they are both fighting for essentially the same thing - a simple and obvious interpretation of the United States Constitution. "Guns for Gays" and "Gays for Guns" could be catchy rally signs. Further, new chimeric organizations could form. The Stonewall Democrats could become the Stonewall Jackson Democrats, to include a historical figure who believed in the concept of a well armed militia. The picture on the Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar could be their logo.

The NRA could become the NRLGBTQA. Or maybe not.

The name of the group is not as important as the membership list: Americans who seek to secure the rights afforded to them by the United States Constitution.

Barry Goldwater once wrote "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight," which has little to do with this rant. I just mostly admire Barry Goldwater and wanted to mention him. He was a good Conservative. He, like most Conservatives, believed in individual freedom. He believed in allowing individuals to pursue their American dream the best way that they knew how, without government standing in the way. He believed in equality and equity.

Most people do not mention gun ownership and marriage equality in the same sentence, but they have a lot in common. Same sex marriage is frequently viewed as a Democrat issue; gun rights advocates are thought to be Republicans. However, they are both Conservative issues - they are issues of equity. And they are both issues that all Americans should support as lovers of freedom and liberty.

Comments? Please email me at peter.r.livingston@gmail.com.

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