Social Issues

Posted by Tulsi Gabbard on December 22nd, 2011

Choice

A woman's decision to end her pregnancy is one of the most fundamental, difficult, and soul-searching decisions in her life. I do not want government to have the power to force a woman to go through with a pregnancy or punish her if she does not. I will oppose all efforts to repeal Roe v. Wade or undermine our reproductive freedom.

A woman's pregnancy is inseparable from her own body, her own self. We must not allow government to control such an intimately personal, inseparable element of our lives. To give government the power to make such personal decisions for us is to give up the freedom to control our own lives.

Have you ever met a woman who you could describe as anti-life? I haven't. Every woman I have ever met has been "pro life." So it is inaccurate to frame one side of the issue as "pro life" and the other as "pro choice." Such characterization of the disagreement unfairly labels those who are pro choice as being anti life. Such demonization of others is not only inaccurate, it is extremely unfair. The debate is over whether the government or the individual woman should have the responsibility to make the decision as to whether or not to end her pregnancy. The question is whether we, as Americans, are willing to give up our individual liberties.

We should stop trying to demonize those who disagree with us, and instead focus on working together to strengthen our families and communities to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Government has no business in our bedrooms

The best way to ensure equal rights for everyone involved in a personal loving relationship is to get government completely out of the marriage business.

The real meaning of marriage is a bond of love that ties the hearts of two people together. We all know that real marriage has nothing to do with a government-issued license. Why should we--as citizens of the greatest democracy in the world--give politicians, bureaucrats, and judges power over our most intimate loving relationships?

We have allowed government to become ensconced as a kind of state church with the power to define what marriage is or isn't and to give or withhold its "blessings" to personal loving relationships. We have allowed the government to act as the arbiter of personal morality and the politicians and bureaucrats to behave as high priests.

A government that functions as an arbiter or enforcer of "morality" suffocates people's personal freedom. I personally experienced this during my two deployments to the Middle East with the Army National Guard.

Government--politicians, bureaucrats, and judges--should not have the power to validate or invalidate loving relationships between consenting adults. Marriage should be handled and defined by individuals, their conscience, and their respective churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, etc. according to the values and traditions of the various communities which make up the mosaic of our aloha state and country. When government is no longer involved in marriage, it will no longer be in a position to grant certain benefits, privileges, and rights to some people while denying those benefits, privileges, and rights to others based on what forms of marriage government officials deem valid. This I believe is the ideal solution to assure that everyone can enjoy equal rights.

Until this ideal solution is achieved, I would work for the repeal of DOMA at the federal level and would support civil unions at the state level as interim measures.

Expanding on the above

January 18th, 2012

To expand on the above, I strongly disagree with a two-tiered government policy of "marriage" and "civil unions". As long as government continues to have two different classifications, then government officials are acting as moral arbiters declaring one relationship superior to another; one first-class, the other second-class.  This is unacceptable and discriminatory on its face.

"Marriage" is a word that refers to the bond of conjugal love between two people. Since love is in fact spiritual in nature, "marriage" is also spiritual and metaphysical in nature. It is a sacred bond that belongs in the personal, spiritual, and religious realms of society--not in the hands of government bureaucrats and politicians.

Because government is not and should not be considered a spiritual or religious institution, the word "marriage" should really not be in its lexicon of legal terms. Nor should government be in the business of defining what marriage is or is not. Government should not have the power to sanctify or refuse to sanctify with the word "marriage" conjugal loving relationships between two adults.

By retaining the power to decide who is or is not worthy of the sacred word "marriage," the government is essentially playing the role of a quasi-religious institution--much like governments in the Middle East. This obviously contradicts our nation's principle of maintaining a separation between church and state.

Everyone deserves equal privileges, benefits, and rights and no one should be discriminated against because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  The present two-tier system is inherently discriminatory.  Therefore, I favor one legal status for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation: civil union.

Replacing the government's two-tier classification of "marriage" and "civil union" with a single legal classification, "civil union," (or some other word), would assure that everyone can enjoy equal rights and privileges, while respecting everyone's differing cultures, values, and beliefs. The word "civil union" is neutral, non-judgmental, and non-spiritual/religious. It is a legal recognition of a committed partnership between two adults.  These consenting adults would be free to solemnize or celebrate their partnership as a "marriage" through their respective cultural, religious, or secular institutions. It would then be left up to the churches, temples, mosques, or other religious entities to decide which relationships they will bless in holy matrimony, i.e., with the word "marriage."

Read Tulsi's reflections on the role of Government in our personal lives.

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