Friday, July 16, 2004

Why Marriage?

I'm confused.
For years and years, we've been told that a certificate of marriage is optional, that the real issue is whether a couple truly loves each other, that folks should have the right to express their love without being bound by a state-sanctioned piece of paper.
Now the gay and lesbian communities are up in arms wanting the institution of marriage extended to their relationships. In England, they demand that civil unions aren't enough. Only full-fledged marriage certificates will do. What's going on?
Pretty simple to figure out. What will happen the first time a legally married male-male couple, both men in their 30s, applies to adopt a 6-year-old boy? The adoption agency will be forced to grant the adoption, providing all of their presently existing guidelines are met. Otherwise, they will be the target of a discrimination suit. As such, these two men will be in a position to teach this young, impressionable, boy the beauty of gay love, and introduce him to the pleasures of things sexual whenever they, as his parents, see fit.
I concede that a dangerous trend is to draft a constitutional amendment for current social issues, but I maintain that until there is a return to an honest interpretation of the United States Constitution by the Supreme Court (and the judicial branch in general), there may be no other viable resolution to such questions. I think this is one open-and-shut case of states rights (remember those?), and that the federal judiciary branch has no business ruling in this area.  If a state has particularly strong gay/lesbian demographics, let them decide by popular vote to allow such marriages, but at the same time, don't force other states to recognize those licenses, against their own laws.
Is this a personal issue? No, it's at the center of Constitutional law, and it must be addressed. I think the debate about the morality of homosexual relationships is a futile one, as most religions of the world flatly condemn those actions as immoral. At the same time, consider that while those who support these marriages scream that the government shouldn't dictate who someone loves, by insisting upon government licensing and sanctioning of these "loving relationships", they themselves have thrown the issue into the political arena. This is not the equivalent of sodomy laws, but rather a challenge to the rights of state governments.
The question of same-sex marriages is, in that light, much less complex than we're told in the media. The "sanctity of marriage" is only a secondary issue here. The real question lies in how much power the federal judiciary wields over states in issues not explicitly addressed in our constitution.

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