The Supreme Court ruled today that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional. My first reaction upon reading the news was a series of conflicting thoughts like, “that’s great! It’s nice to see that the 14th amendment is being upheld and all people are being treated equally”, and, “so much for state’s rights! I guess we aren’t free to choose our own laws after all”, and, “that’s great for gay people, but wouldn’t it be better for everyone if the federal government didn’t recognize anyone’s marriage instead of recognizing everyone’s marriage?”
I’m a live and let live kind of guy. If what you are doing does not have an effect on my life, I don’t feel the need to regulate what you do. I will be happy to offer my opinion, or give some sage advice, but that’s as far as I want to go. Gay marriage has no effect on my life. Most people seem to be against gay people getting married, both republicans and democrats. I think this is more about the word “marriage” than anything else. It’s a religious word, and I can’t think of a single religion that is friendly towards homosexuality. Getting married to a same sex partner, then, means to be recognized by the creator and thereby condoned. I guess that’s why when you frame the question in a different way, like “Do you support civil unions for gay people?” many more religious people would say yes.
The 14th amendment, in part, says “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This makes it pretty clear that a state can’t make laws taking rights away from some citizens that it grants to others. It might serve well to remind everyone in the purpose of the constitution itself, to protect the people by limiting the power of the government. Using the government to limit the freedom of the people do things like marry one another, or anything else that doesn’t harm 3rd parties, goes against the spirit of the constitution. The thing about freedom is that it’s hard. Everyone loves to tout freedom when they are doing things that they like, but when other people are doing things they don’t like it gets harder.
At least 30 states, including some liberal ones like California, and conservative ones have voted down by popular vote the legalization of gay marriage. Most of the time, even in liberal states, it was a lopsided vote against gay marriage. If the constitution does not speak of marriage specifically, does this not fall to the 10th amendment, which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.“? This amendment, which liberals can never seem to acknowledge and republicans never seem to forget, has become a catch-all for almost every action taken by the states. There is a good reason for this as most of the time the federal government works way too slow to be useful. In this case the will of the people were thwarted directly and the power of the federal state prevailed. Sure, I agree with the Supreme Court this time, but it’s still overturning the will of the people, not just a few crazies, millions of people who have voted on the subject. That’s not a good precedent. I would say to gay people and Christian conservatives alike, be careful what you wish for.
If I may speak directly to the gay people who are celebrating this Supreme Court decision, what exactly are you celebrating? You saw the state defining straight marriage so you said please state define marriage for me too! Don’t get me wrong, I completely support full rights for gay couples. I don’t think there should be any rights straight married couples have that gay couples should not have, period. Gay people are for the most part liberal. Confronted with alternative, very understandably so. The first instinct of any liberal movement is to use the government to get what you want. For the life of me I can’t figure out why any self-respecting gay person would be happy being, for political purposes, relegated to a simple letter in the LBGTAQ. Strength in numbers right? Is an average gay man’s experience no different than that of a transgendered person, or an asexual? How insulting is that? Can I offer a different solution? How about instead of having the government define your marriage, get the government out of your marriage, and straight marriage. Your benefits would be your benefits to do with what you please. If the federal government treated everyone as an individual and gave you ownership over those benefits. Marriage would stay a religious ceremony, nothing more. You would not need to get married for protection anymore. It could be done by contract. It wouldn’t even have to be couples. Any two people of legal age could be tied contractually, brother and sister, best friends, without regard to who has sex with whom. Let religion keep their traditions and you make your own.
If I may speak to the conservatives wringing their hands with worry over this decision. I thought you were for limited government? How exactly is trying to amend the constitution with an amendment or laws that limits the rights of people to choose who they spend their life with, limited government? How can you support any law that limits people when they aren’t hurting anyone? How about practicing what you preach? Just because you don’t like dude’s kissing dude’s doesn’t mean they are hurting you or killing the concept of marriage. Apply your limited government ideals and get the government out of marriage. You get to keep your religious traditions and gay people get to start their own. It’s a good starting point. Maybe, once you see that the world didn’t end, you will start applying the limited government concept to other areas of life. To be honest, this kind of thing is exactly why I no longer consider myself a conservative, or a republican. You can sleep easy in the knowledge that you will never be as bad as a liberal, but you are not far off at this point. I have faith that one day the party will come back to its ideals. The next time you consider a law, or amendment ask yourself if it limits the people’s freedom to choose or the government’s ability to control. Always vote to limit the government’s ability to control.
I will close by saying again, freedom is hard. You only know you are free when you protect choices that you disagree with. Speech that you disagree with. Pursuits that you disagree with. Remember that not everyone agrees with you, and when you start outlawing behaviors that you disagree with, eventually your behavior will be outlawed.