Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine: Biggest Jackass In America?

Some days, I feel like there is no hope for the human race. Today is one of those days. Here’s an excerpt form an article on the websiteThinkProgress:

“John Arthur is dying. He is in the terminal stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease and has entered hospice care. Arthur is also gay, and in a 20 year relationship with a man named Jim Obergefell. Because the couple’s home state of Ohio will not allow them to marry, Arthur and Obergefell recently flew to Maryland together and were legally married on the tarmac – just weeks after the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision in United States v. Windsor. Arthur was unable to rise from his hospice bed.

“In his final days, Arthur wants to honor his commitment to his husband. He wants his own death certificate to list Obergefell as his “surviving spouse.” And he wants to die knowing that his partner of 20 years can someday be buried next to him in a family plot bound by a directive that only permits his lawfully wedded spouse to be interred alongside him. And, on Monday, a federal judge ruled that Arthur should indeed have the dignity of dying alongside a man that Ohio will recognize as his husband.

“And now, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wants to take that dignity away from Mr. Arthur. The day after a judge issued a temporary restraining order requiring Ohio to list Arthur’s husband as his “surviving spouse” on his death certificate, DeWine announced that he would appeal this decision and try to strip a dying man of his final wish.”

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that a Republican in Ohio should be going out of his way to make a dying man’s life a living hell. After all, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio, Jon Husted, went out of his way during the 2012 election season to try to make voting more difficult for residents of urban areas of the state.

“If you live in Butler or Warren counties in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Cincinnati, you can vote for president beginning in October by going to a polling place in the evening or on weekends. Republican officials in those counties want to make it convenient for their residents to vote early and avoid long lines on Election Day.

“But, if you live in Cincinnati, you’re out of luck. Republicans on the county election board are planning to end early voting in the city promptly at 5pm, and ban it completely on weekends…the convenience, in other words, will not be extended to the city’s working people.”

Keep in mind that Ohio Republicans also sought to preventmilitary members from being able to vote early in the last election cycle, and also tried to pass a myriad of voter ID laws designed to prevent minority and poor voters from exercising their Constitutional rights. The state also had egg on its face when a series of billboards sprang up in minority neighborhoods that stressed voting fraud penalties to discourage people from voting.

Taken in their own right, these heinous attacks on the right of people to vote are bad enough, but when you factor in the realization that the Ohio GOP’s priorities are so out of whack that they are okay with voter suppression but clearly NOT okay with granting one man his dying wish, then it becomes even more blatantly unacceptable.

Whether or not you are in favor of gay marriage, this notion of the Attorney General of a state actively trying to deny a dying man his final request is disgusting and horrifying to contemplate. After a year in which the Republican Party in Ohio did everything in its power to restrict the rights of its citizens, and were still shown the door as President Barack Obama won the state, you would think that they would get the memo and actually return to the party’s roots as one that supports individual rights.

Instead, they are trying to force their belief system onto everyone else, including someone who is dying of a disease that has left him bedridden and will ultimately leave him unable to speak or breathe on his own. 

Shame on you, Attorney General DeWine. Your lack of compassion shows how much of a fraud your "Christian values" really are, and show a moral bankruptcy that ought to result in your ouster from your position as your state's top legal official.

UPDATE: 6:37pm 

I always seek to be as fair-minded as I can be, even in situations that anger me as much as this one does, so I would be violating my own ethos if I didn't include this bit of news.

According to Buzzfeed, Attorney General DeWine will NOT be appealing the temporary restraining order issued by a federal judge Monday in connection with this case. Apparently he will seek to uphold Ohio law in later proceedings once the restraining order expires on August 5th. The law he referred to is the gay marriage ban Ohio voters passed in 2004.

So the story takes a different turn, but seems to result in the same outcome. 

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