Academic journal article The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice

Hernandez V. Robles and Goodridge V. Department of Public Health: The Irrationality of the Rational Basis Test

Academic journal article The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice

Hernandez V. Robles and Goodridge V. Department of Public Health: The Irrationality of the Rational Basis Test

Article excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION: A DYNAMIC DEBATE

"Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature. "'

In Plato's Symposium, a company of great Greek philosophers and storytellers gathered to discuss the meaning and origins of Love.2 When Aristophanes came forward, he told of a race of beings that were once whole, but then torn in two by the gods.3 These individuals would spend their lives trying to find their other halves, who wandered the world searching for the being that would fit with them best on a physical and metaphysical level.4 Before the gods intervened, these creatures existed as two men, two women, or a man and a woman sewn together.5 Aristophanes then proclaimed that when the person finds his or her other half, be it a man or a woman, "then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment."6

The Symposium philosophers, who engaged in these discussions in the fourth century B.C., accepted that love exists between all types of people.7 Nearly twenty-four hundred years later it is apparent from reading stories in the news, hearing the rhetoric of politicians, and even casually conversing with friends that not everyone is as accepting of this fact as were the ancient Greeks.8

The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Public Policy at the UCLA College of Law performed a government-sponsored American Community Survey on the gay, lesbian, and bisexual population in the United States.9 The results revealed that the number of same-sex couples in the United States increased from approximately 600,000 to 777,000 between 2000 and 2005.10 The study found that the dramatic increase was likely due to rising acceptance of open homosexuality.11 Since the 1970s, in the face of continued intolerance bred by state governments and many of their constituents, the gay and lesbian population has demanded the right to be recognized as legally married partners.12 In all but one state, this goal has been thwarted.13

The subject of same-sex marriage is currently debated with unprecedented openness.14 However, hyperbolic, theatrical, and evocative language used by opponents to same-sex marriage distorts the reality of who these couples really are: committed partners, parents, professionals, and political voices.15 In spite of scientific evidence and government-sponsored statistical studies showing that homosexual couples go to church, adopt children, and commit to lifelong relationships, homophobia still dictates much of American law in respect to its gay and lesbian community.16 Gays and lesbians are often characterized solely by their sexuality, which reduces the impact of their contributions to society and adversely affects how they are treated in social, political, legal, and religious spheres.17

Organizations that support homosexual men and women are not a collection of immoral radicals or political dissidents. Across the country there are a diverse number of social, religious, and political groups comprising and welcoming members of the gay community.18 The Unitarian Universalist Association provides a supportive religions setting for transgender, bisexual, gay, and lesbian peoples and has passed fourteen resolutions in favor of nondiscrimination against them.19 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) assists homosexual men and women through the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project.20 Leading medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advocate for non-discriminatory policies.21 All of these institutions, home to experts in constitutional, scientific, cultural, spiritual, and political fields, call for an end to prejudice against homosexuals. …

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