THE TELLTALE HEART

Publicly, Thomas Jefferson believed in the principles of freedom. But privately, he grappled over whether the worst white man was still better than the best black man.

Ultimately, Jefferson’s failure to champion equality left his own illegitimate child enslaved, opening the wound which has since defined – not the competency of his mind – but the capacity of his heart.

We are once again at a crossroads governing the use of fine print to qualify equality.

But this time, the Jeffersonian paradox challenges whether we, as a nation, believe the worst heterosexual is still better than the best homosexual.

Because all the worst heterosexuals can marry anywhere in America. But even the best homosexuals cannot.

As the high court strips away all righteous rhetoric and political posturing, it’s possible they’ll recognize a raw reality, i.e., even when heterosexuals commit the most heinous crimes (murder, rape, child molestation, spousal abuse, terrorism, treason, and crimes against humanity), their known deviant behaviors are ignored by American marriage laws.

However, even when homosexuals are model citizens, their single, aberrant activity is prepossessed.

The court must then question whether this speaks to the heart of who we truly are, regardless of what we profess ourselves to be.

On the one hand, we insist the purpose of marriage is a belief in the sanctity of family.

On the other, we ignore the fact that millions of felons sitting in high security prisons are predominately heterosexuals possessing marginal moral character at best. 

Yet each has a right to marry.

In some sit the suspects and convicts held for complicity in the 9/11 and Boston marathon attacks. And even they have the legal right to marry in every state.

But Lily Tomlin doesn’t.

Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, David Berkowitz, the Menendez brothers, Theodore Kaczynski, James Eagan Holmes and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can.

But Ellen DeGeneres can’t.

The former, loathsome, dictator Saddam Hussein, terrorist leader Osama Bin Ladin, and even Chancellor Adolf Hitler could have.

But Kate Smith, an American icon of our anthem, God Bless America, could not.

If the court entertains the position that “sin” is the foundation on which law is defined, will it validate the proponent “hate the sin, not the sinner” premise?

Can it then ignore evidence that it isn’t “sin” being shunned, profiled, attacked, ridiculed, denied equal rights and murdered? 

Only American citizens are.

Will the court ask why there are no marches planned, political wars being waged, or state constitutional amendments being drafted against the seven deadly sins? Will it demand to know why it’s only a singular, Bible referenced, declared abomination being targeted? And, if it’s determined the sin/sinner assertion is an inflamed edict, could it set precedence for other inflamed edicts as just-cause to alter constitutional law? 

Should the court recognize the Ten Commandments governing the worship of other Gods, building graven images, working on the Sabbath, blasphemy, dishonoring parents, murder, adultery, stealing, coveting, and bearing false witness as written-in-stone, will it be compelled to admit that being gay is not?

Politicians and pundits insist same-sex marriage is un-American, implying we can’t remain “America The Beautiful” if we allow marriage to be maligned. They contend – like that esteemed song – the institution of marriage has been declared our national heritage and pride.

But only the Supreme Court can decide which American citizens qualify as entitled to inalienable rights, and which (regardless of their American birthright and exemplary character) do not.

Before then, the justices may be forced to reflect on citizens like Katherine Lee Bates, a woman who spent 25 years in love with another woman and her entire life as one of America’s finest homosexuals. Who felt, authored, and gifted our nation with those cherished words, “And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

History is upon us. 

Come June, America as we know it will be forever changed. 

The Supreme Court will decide it’s time we stopped cherishing a broken institution that denies equality to our totality and, in so ruling, bind us by law to cherish each other, instead.

Or, it will not.

#    #    #   

This freshly edited, updated essay was first published in 2004 to benefit L.I. Pride. Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine © 2004 & 2013.

What’s your stand the issue of equality? How will the Supreme Court decision on DOMA affect you, personally? 

Please share your thoughts, here, by selecting REPLY.

I’m all eyes and heart.

–  –  –  –

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16 thoughts on “THE TELLTALE HEART

    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      I appreciate your support, Bev. My fear is that, if, by assuming the best, we take our eye off the prize and fumble this close to victory, we might not get another chance to gain equality in my lifetimes – possibly yours. There are still hearts to be changed.

      Reply
    2. crowsheart

      there is an old rule in golf…”never up, never in” which applies to putting…if you don’t strike the ball hard enough, it’ll never go in. That’s what I want to see. Or, another sports metaphor, “don’t take your eye off the ball”…thanks for sharing this. I’m fully focused.

      Reply
      1. margueritequantaine Post author

        Even though I was the last one chosen for any sports team in school (and still), my golfer-sister shares your sentiment, and I thank you. Keep up the good thoughts, Catherine. We need a bulls-eye.

  1. Kieran York

    Marguerite, what a great blog to hand out to those believing they have the right to oppress others. I enjoy the Una Troubridge statement. In an interview, where she reconciled her relationship with Radclyffe Hall and their Catholicism. She said, “There was nothing to confess.” I very much dislike the statement about loving the sinner and hating the sin. If I believed that how the Creator made me – or even for atheists – how my parents made me, was a sin. I wouldn’t want to sin. I wouldn’t be me. I’d do like so many others have done and do. I’d hide from the bigots and I’d hide from myself. I’m not a sinner, and I have nothing to confess. Marguerite, you made so many important statements! And why are we still fighting for a ‘right’ to be ourselves? And to be with the one we love – and be able to marry that person – just like any other taxpaying, American citizen.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      I think it’s a mistake to teach hate, regardless of where that venom is directed. To me, it’s similar to taking children hunting and teaching them to kill for sport. Over a lifetime that hate and killing can get misdirected, where the harm done far outweighs any benefit intended by the hating and killing instruction.

      Reply
  2. Donna Wells

    Very well said, Marguerite. Maybe I our life time we will be concidered just an American citizen wanted to marry the one we love. thanks for sharing your thoughts

    Reply
  3. margueritequantaine Post author

    I wish I could say I’m convinced that will happen, Donna. But I’m not. Somewhere there’s a loophole the Supreme Court is considering that will free them from this landmark decision. So, until the end of June I believe we all must continue to speak up and speak out. As my grandma always said, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

    Reply
  4. Judy Perry

    Thank you so much, Marguerite, for sharing this lovely essay. It takes me back many years to when I was a freshly-elected member of my university’s student government, and we were asked to deny funding to what was then called the Gay Lesbian Student Association on the grounds of morals. Mine you, I was still trying to be a good Mormon and that community was counting on my vote. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, and I decided to listen to both sides of the argument. And I decided I could not in good conscience vote against the civil rights of gay and lesbian students. Needless to say, I was not re-elected (then; was later), but I’ve never looked back. Civil rights are human rights. Full stop.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      I had that moment when I was selected to greet the black students bused to the new high school built on the ultra-white side of our small town. I was assigned to show the girls the campus and when I did, one of them punched me in the stomach, knocking me my knees while growling, “I want to go home.” Somehow, I managed to point one direction and said, “There’s the door,” and then the other direction and said, “and there’s the way to my locker. I brought donuts.”

      I think we each have a moment of reckoning when it comes to discovering the core of who we are and will be for life – that proverbial compass. It’s led me many directions and now, here. I’m proud to know you, Judy.

      Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      Let us have hope, Bren. There are hints the Supreme Court is thawing out California’s Prop 8 fight on a technicality. So, loopholes are being looked at by them, I suspect, for every case.

      Reply
  5. Diane Hollifield

    This is some great writing! Very thought provoking! I must share it for all my friends to see! Thank you for this!

    Reply
  6. Inspirational Muse

    Dear Marguerite-
    You have profoundly expressed our plight! I wish you could present this to the Supreme Court for them to contemplate this critical issue from every perspective, and understand the weight of their decision.

    How does DOMA affect me, us? We were legally married in CA in 2008 during our “window,” then grandfathered when Prop 8 overturned legal same-sex marriage.

    Recently, we changed our home property to be held in both names. Last week, we received a call from our attorney, engaged to create a trust to protect us since the federal government doesn’t recognize our marriage. He said the County Assessor’s office wanted a copy of our Domestic Partnership. I told him I sent a copy of our marriage certificate. When I called the County Assessor, she said she didn’t have it and they were getting ready to reassess taxes. Meaning if she didn’t get it, our property tax would be reassessed. She wanted the Domestic Partner certificate. I said we were legally married in the state of CA. She didn’t know “if the county recognized it and had to check with her supervisor!”

    Of course I was so upset I called our attorney and asked him to handle it. He asked her, when there’s a change of property do you ask everyone to submit a marriage certificate?”
    “No,” she replied. He told her that was discrimination. Fortunately, she accepted our certificate (had to fax it to her).

    I told him that’s one of the many hoops we have to jump through. He said hopefully, if things go the way they are looking, everyone will have the right to marry.

    We are cautiously optimistic.

    Reply
  7. margueritequantaine Post author

    I welcome the sharing of it, Michelle, by FB, Twitter, mail, and any other metjod. I’ve sent a copy to each of the Supreme Court justices and don’t see how them getting additional copies can do anything but open their eyes and hearts. Thank you. I’m there beside you in spirit, always.

    Supreme Court of the United States, 1 First Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20543

    Reply

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