The Supreme Court just released its opinion on DOMA, and Prop 8. The justices showed some rare wisdom here, and even applied the Constitution in ways I never expected them to. I suppose, just when you are certain of the utter uselessness of an organization, they can perform one righteous act to make a liar out of you.
First let me explain what the Constitutional position of the federal government should be on marriage.
It’s that simple. Marriage is not mentioned once in the Constitution. It is not related to an enumerated power, and as a religious institution, it is arguably forbidden for the feds to pass laws concerning it under the First Amendment.
But, I will allow one disclaimer to this position: the full faith and credit clause in Article4:
“Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”
Both gay rights activists and traditional marriage protectionists rely upon this clause to make the claim that America must either embrace or ban the practice of gay marriage across the nation. This fight comes down to contract rights. Gay marriage proponents ask: if marriage is a contract drawn up in one state, why is another state not bound to enforce it? This is the same argument slave owners used to force the northern states to return runaway slaves during the ante-bellum American period.
The fact is, states are allowed to decide what laws they will allow to exist within their borders. This is simply a feature of a federated republic such as ours. If you want to marry somebody of the same sex, and your state does not recognize such a contract, go to a state that does. If you want to get married to a person of the same gender, and your church refuses, go to a church that won’t refuse. No person, or government or institution, should be forced to perform, recognize, or enter a marriage that violates their faith. This is both the legal, and the moral position.
With all that said (and SCOTUS recognized these facts), social conservatives need to view this ruling as the victory it is for them. They won the right to maintain the sanctity of marriage within the confines they control politically (their state). If you don’t like gay marriage, join a church that will not perform them, or move to a state that won’t recognize them. If your church does not recognize gay marriage none need be performed by your church. This ruling does not legalize marrying donkeys, or other fauna, it simply recognizes that if the government of your state chooses to allow gay marriage, then those gay marriages have to be given the same legal status (within that state) as heterosexual marriages within that state, and the federal government must recognize them as well.
This much should really be bipartisan. Think about it. What business is it of mine in Oregon that New Hampshire allows gay people the right to marry? Same argument applies to me, in Oregon when it comes to my view of weed next door in Washington. What business is it of mine? Or that Montana allows people to own firearms free of federal licensing, and taxation if built kept and sold within state boundaries. This is the consistent and Constitutional answer to the gay marriage issue.
Not a federal ban, or a federal mandate, rather recognition of self-rule in all things local. SCOTUS truly gave us the Constitutional ruling. We are free to work within our own respective state governments to ensure our preferences on the issue are protected. Yet people in one state are not allowed to force their preference upon another state through the federal government.
The Bottom line is that this issue is unresolvable at the federal level and illegal for the feds to intervene. That is the Constitutional answer. That is the humane and legal answer. And now it is the answer from the most recent appeal to authority.
Let it rest.
I am under no illusions that this is the end. But maybe now some of the people who have been working on this mostly irrelevant (although very emotionally charged) local issue will find the time to work towards some more important issues of liberty, including dealing with the police state created by the “War on Drugs in America, indefinite detention at the discretion of the president, the uncontrolled money printing leading us to a monetary collapse, the trillion plus dollar deficits for several years running, the continued bailouts and crony capitalism, there are literally dozens of HUGE unresolved issues we need to address before the fabric of traditional marriage will be in true danger (beyond the peril we voluntarily place it in as individuals).
Work towards liberty. Keep the feds confined to the small role that is appropriate and enumerated in the Constitution!