Poster in Madrid

“Love Whomever You Love.
Madrid Loves You.”

MADRID —You see this poster on almost every corner.

It’s surprising that a country that endured iron-fisted religious and political repression late into the Twentieth Century came to recognize same-sex marriage before we did.

After all, championing individual rights is one of America’s enduring points of pride.

New rights take time to root. Challenging the values of the past is met with passion and outrage, especially when it involves the loss of power over others.

The people who wrote our constitution knew that things would change in the future so they gave us the Ninth Amendment. It says we have rights they couldn’t begin to imagine and didn’t mention in that document.

The end of slavery, voting rights for non-whites and women, the right to remain silent and have a court-appointed lawyer all came about because the Founders left us a living, breathing constitution.

We can’t see into the future any more than those geniuses could.

There may be rights our children come to recognize that we haven’t — the right to medical care, for example, may be one of them. (Our Spanish friends agreed on that years ago.)


One Comment

  1. “It says we have rights they couldn’t begin to imagine and didn’t mention in that document.”

    Alternate view: They were acknowledging their belief in inherent “natural rights” – liberty rights to be let alone. There’s nothing about those that they “couldn’t begin to imagine,” even if it took years for some of them to be realized in practice.

    I haven’t seen anything they wrote or said that suggests they believed in “welfare rights” – rights to receive goods and benefits from others (such as a “right” to medical care).

    That came with the progressive movement in the late 1800s. Progressives recognized that natural rights conflict with welfare rights. Their solution? Explicitly reject natural rights and the second paragraph of the Declaration of Indepence (“We hold these truths to be self-evident …”) (See Woodrow Wilson’s writings.)

    By the way, the right to marry whomever you choose (including someone of the same sex) is a natural right (freedom of contract). Ironically, progressives reject freedom of contract in many situations because it interferes with their desire to redistribute wealth, power and status.

    I believe that’s why in Obergefell Justice Kennedy had to rely on a “right” to receive a marriage license instead of freedom of contract. That “right” may be the first “welfare” right read into the Constitution.

    My reaction. Be careful what you wish for. If evolving opinions can justify new “rights” to take things from others, what’s the limit?

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