constitutional amendment

published

Robert Daeley has proposed a Constitutional Amendment that strikes me as pretty darned reasonable:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to marry shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex or sexual orientation. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
There has been a ton of discussion on the issue of same-sex marriages, and it shows no sign of easing up. The usual religious arguments are being made, and are being blasted. The President’s mouth piece keeps reiterating the President’s belief “that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman”. Regular human beings point out that same-sex marriages haven’t jeopardized “regular” marriages in any way shape or form. I myself have commented on the fallacy of threats to traditional marriage.

I’m not opposed to our elected officials telling us what their religious beliefs are. I’m not even opposed to our elected officials encouraging us to share their beliefs. I am vehemently opposed to our elected officials legislating their religious beliefs into the laws of this country. Elected officials are free to have whatever religious beliefs they want, so long as they don’t codify those beliefs to restrict the liberties of other people.

Slippery-slope alert! If we deny same sex couples the right to marry based on nothing more than religious predilection, why not deny them the right to vote, since they’re obviously sinners and can’t be trusted to make sound moral, social, or fiscal decisions. If it’s a conservative Christian motivation based on the teachings of the Bible, what’s stopping anyone from legislating Judaism into oblivion? Oh, that’s right! There’s this thing called separation of Church and State. (See here for a dissenting opinion.)

What would happen if a progressive religious institution, say the Episcopal Church, were to officiate a same-sex wedding? Would their right to practice religion trump a State’s abolition of same-sex marriage? Or would the State merely say “Okay, you’re married in the Episcopal Church, but we don’t recognize it as a legal marriage”?

It’s not enough just to have a personal or religious opinion about the interpretation of the word “marriage” in order to craft laws outlawing same-sex marriages. What, exactly, is the non-religious argument against same sex marriage? If it were the case that personal or religious interpretation were sufficient, then many things would be legislated into illegality based on the personal interpretations of our elected representatives. I’ve surmised that many people would simply argue that the non-religious argument against same-sex marriage is that historically marriage has been restricted to men and women. But that can’t be sufficient, can it? Because historically black human beings were seen as property. Historically women were seen as unqualified to cast a vote. Historically only people who owned land were qualified to cast a vote.

Elfboy brings up a very important – yet oft overlooked – point: marriage law is a reserved power under the The Constitution of the United States. This means that because marriage laws are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, each State has the authority to make its own marriage laws.

Why is President Bush trying to federalize marriage? Why, in fact, is President Bush trying to federalize so many issues? I thought the Republican Party was supposed to be in favor of small government?


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