Same Sex Marriage

I may lose some readers (not that I have many) and I may gain some readers because of what I’m about to write.  But I really don’t care.  I support same sex marriage.  Sure, I have a gay brother, but that has absolutely no effect on my views.  The underlying issue is equality under the Constitution.  This country believes in equal rights for all citizens.  The Constitution doesn’t care about skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.  While it doesn’t say anything about marriage, I firmly believe that banning same sex marriage, regardless of whether or not it is a state or federal issue is unconstitutional according to the federal Constitution.

A few states offer civil unions for same sex couples.  These are not the same as marriage and do not give same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.  Massachusetts was the first state to allow same sex marriage.  It took a lawsuit that ended with judges, not activists, declaring that the state constitution does not explicitly deny same sex couples the right to marry in Massachusetts.  California was the next state to have something similar happen, and most recently, Connecticut did the same.

This is not a religious issue.  The United States offers freedom of religion.  It means you can practice any religion you like and that the government will not force certain religious views on you.  Marriage as we know it in our culture is primarily of a Judeo-Christian tradition.  Man meets woman.  They fall in love.  They get married.  They have children.  It’s simple.  However, that comes from a religious viewpoint.  Our country offers a separation of Church and State.  Religious issues do not belong in the hands of the government.  The issue of whether or not same sex marriage is moral is a religious issue.  The issue of whether or not same sex marriage should be legal is an equal rights issue.

People opposed to same sex marriage offer a whole slew of reasons why it should be illegal.  Unfortunately, they are all based on religion.  I have heard things as silly as “it would force churches to perform marriage between two men”.  This is simply not true.  I was raised Catholic.  According to our current laws, a Jewish heterosexual couple can get married.  However, if they walk into a Catholic church, the church will not allow them to marry.  Religions have their own rules for what can and cannot go on.  We are not looking to force religions to change their views.  They can continue hating gays all they want and continue to perform only heterosexual marriages.  That is within their legal rights.  We are looking to force state marriage, performed by a representative of the state, not the Church.  There is a big difference there.  I was married in a Catholic church by a Catholic priest.  I had the option of getting married by a justice of the peace.  This would have given me the legal rights and benefits of being married, but not the religious rights and benefits (which are mostly intangible).  The rights that gays want are those legal rights from the state and federal government.

Currently, because this issue is left up to the states to decide (as I do feel marriage should be), same sex couples married in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or California are only given the rights in their respective state.  They do not get the same rights from the federal government that heterosexual couples receive.  In my opinion, this is unconstitutional.

I have heard some crazy reasons for being against same sex marriage.  The problem with all of these reasons is that they are either based on religion or based on some crazy idea that giving a subset of the population more rights will take away rights of other members of the same population.  The latter is simply not true.  You are still within your freedom of speech to say that same sex couples are immoral.  You are within your freedom of religion to not allow same sex marriages to take place in your church.  You are well within your rights to hold your own personal beliefs on what is and what is not marriage.  However, these beliefs should not be present in law in this country.  Offering equal rights to all citizens is part of the reason this country was created.  Denying rights to a subset of the population is simply unconstitutional.

If you live in California, vote no on Proposition 8.  If you live in any other state, vote against any efforts to define marriage as that between a man and a woman.  In a country that touts freedom as our biggest reason for being, it is sad to see that such a large population of people wish to remove freedoms from others.

For more pathetically ridiculous reason why same sex marriage should be banned, you need not look any further than the wonderful people of California (at least those in favor of Prop 8).

I leave you with this quote.  You’ve probably seen it before.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Reflect on that for a while before commenting.

10 thoughts on “Same Sex Marriage”

  1. At the time the Declaration of Independence was written, almost all Americans, including the Declaration’s authors, believed that marriage is between one man and one woman.

    If the authors of the document found no inconsistency between the Declaration and the concept that marriage is between one man and one woman, who are we to question that?

  2. Michael, that is a ludicrous argument. The writers of the Declaration also found no inconsistency between the Declaration and a belief in the tooth fairy. Therefore, all people must believe in the tooth fairy. Who are we to question that?

  3. However, they DID see fit to actually write in the Declaration that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” To me, that sounds more applicable to this issue than some unwritten and totally unknown belief about marriage that you impute to them.

  4. The real problem is that far too many people in this country honestly believe that this is a christian nation, and that only their christian rules apply.

  5. Jim, this may be tangiential, but I wonder if calling gay marriage immoral would be considered hateful speech. I also wonder if the USA will go the route of Canada in criminalizing speech against behavior that a person’s religion defines as immoral. More direct to the issue of legalizing gay marriage, since “marriage” has a religious meaning already attached to it, and it has historical meaning of refering to the union of a man and a woman. Instead of redefining the word “marriage”, it would be better to call a same-sex union of 2 people by another name, such as “civil union”. And if the government or any corporation wanted to grant the same rights to civil union partners that they do to marriage partners, they could.

  6. @Christine
    Does the USA currently ban hate speech? Watching videos of McCain/Palin rallies, it would seem like the answer is “no”. There are 2 types of marriage ceremonies in the USA – civil ceremonies and religious ceremonies. If a man and a woman are not religious, do they join in a civil union being married by a justice of the peace? Are they not married but civilly united as you would suggest?

    Many things have a historical meaning and a modern meaning. Historically and religiously, divorce did not happen. If you look today, a majority of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. Being that marriage is a function of the state as well as the church, there’s no reason why it should be called anything different for a same sex couple than a heterosexual couple so long as they are married by the state. Calling it anything else for a subset of the population equates to nothing but discrimination. “You’re gay. You can’t have a marriage like us special straight people. You can only have a civil union.” I believe that civil unions are a step in the right direction, but ultimately, same sex couples need to have marriage to truly be equal. It need not be recognized by religions, as long as it’s recognized by the government, including the federal government.

  7. Jim,

    Male/Female unions and Male/Male and Female/Female unions are not equal. They are different. In fact, there are some unique characteristics about Male/Female unions that ought to be preserved in the name that we use to refer to that type of union. Where equality comes in to play is in benefits and policies of the government, healthcare providers and employers. Those can be equal. Different unions, different names. Diversity.

  8. Other than the ability (key word is ability) to have children, they are no different. Heterosexual love is equal to homosexual love. Marriage is based upon love and love alone. Procreation is not part of marriage when viewed by the state. That is only a religious aspect which must be kept separate from the state.

    Unless I’m missing something, the union is the same. Many heterosexual couples get married with no intention of having children. In fact, many are fixed so that they cannot physically have children. Are you saying those unions are different than other heterosexual unions? If so, you’re alienating yet another subset of the population.

  9. First let me respond to the comment “marriage” has in its very definition religious meaning. That is false. In fact, it was not until the Council of Trent that the Catholic church even involved itself to make marriage a sacrament. It was not until Pope Nicolas I and his declaration that mandated a marriage to be consentual by all parties. Marriage had been taking place way before the founding of Christianity… and those ceremonies were all performed by the state not the church. The word Marriage comes from the latin mare’ which simply means to join or form a union. It was not until the French coined the phrase Marriage’ that the word became what we know it as today.
    For those who think Civil Unions are equal to Marriage, consider this… In Brown v Board of Education, the Supreme court deemed seperate could never be equal even if all things involved were equal. In otherwords, seperating blacks from whites could not be considered equal under the law even if the education given was the same. Now, take that and consider this: Civil Unions granted in most states do not confere most of the state benefits given to heterosexual married couples. Also, because of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) no federal benefits are given to same sex unions. How is this equal protection under the law? It isnt.
    In Response to Michael Ejercito: The founders of our Constitution believed in a number of things that we today would scoff at. 1) Women were less than men hence they could not vote. 2) Blacks were less than whites, hence they were 3/5ths of a person. 3)They believed mental illness was the Devil’s work. And I could go on.
    The laws and regulations of society much change as society changes. What was once acceptable law in the 1800s would be considered foolish law today… what was once the accepted way is no longer. If the laws do not change to meet an ever changing society, the society collapses in on itself, rendering itself powerless. No one today would think of pressing charges on a person for suspected witch craft.. and yet, there are laws on the books prohibiting that very thing. No one would think to have a lantern bearer walking in front of their car today… yet the law once stated you must have a lantern bearer walking in front of a motorized carriage at night. The law was needed then… cars didnt have head lights… but is defunct today.
    Truthfully, people need to understand Marriage has undergone huge changes even in this century. Once it was traditional to have arranged marriages. We would scoff at that notion today. Once it was acceptable for a man to choose his bride and she to have no say… again, try that with a woman these days. If she doesnt castrate you, feel lucky. Marriage is an institution that needs to evolve and change. If not, there would be no inter faith marriages (churches dont condone them), there would be no inter racial marriages (the last anti inter racial marriage law was removed from Alabama books in 2000).

Leave a Reply