Home > Social Issues > [Tru Blu Tuesday] Gay Marriage, the Constitution, and You

[Tru Blu Tuesday] Gay Marriage, the Constitution, and You


weddingrings

America, calm down! As much as I know you love to indulge in the ancient tradition of bickering amongst yourselves over controversial issues, it is time we sat down and spoke like adults. At the time of this writing, the federal Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) sits in front of the Supreme Court, bristling under the sharp threat of repeal. DOMA, signed into law in 1996 by then President Bill Clinton, is the official blanket law of the land on the subject of marriage in America. Recent high profile controversy from California’s Proposition 8, which sought to add the classification of marriage as being between one man and one woman to it’s state constitution, has brought this issue to a head once again. But does it have to be such an aggressive, passionate debate? Is there not a more peaceful, understanding method of resolving the issue without forcing one groups will on the other?

For a different perspective on the issue, I’d like to bring to you the words of former congressman, Dr. Ron Paul, from his book Liberty Defined. In the chapter entitled Marriage (pp 183-186) Dr. Paul addresses the issue from a neutral stance, and highlights the heart of the problem. Wouldn’t you know it, the real problem is government involvement! I humbly submit excerpts of this chapter, along with my own thoughts.

On the intrusion of government in marriage:

Most Americans do not question the requirement to obtain a license to get married. As in just about everything else, this requirement generates unnecessary problems and heated disagreements. If the government was not involved there would be no discussion or controversy over the definition of marriage. Why should the government give permission to two individuals for them to call themselves married? In a free society, something that we do not truly enjoy, all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized. If disputes arose, the courts could be involved as in any other civil dispute.

But look at where we are today, constantly fighting over the definition and legality of marriage. Under our system, the federal government was granted no authority over this issue. Many Americans would even amend the Constitution to deal with the argument by defining marriage. This attempt only exacerbates the emotionally charged debate on both sides. (p 183)

This brings up an important question for both sides. To those who value marriage as a religious entity and hold the position that homosexual marriage will violate the sanctity of the institution: Why do you demand a secular body of government to issue licenses and define it for you? If sanctity of marriage is your concern, you aught to first seek to rid yourself of its government regulation. Does government have a place in your personal lives and your faith? Does your faith require a license from the state for your marriage to be valid? If sanctity of marriage is truly valued, then its authority should come from the terms determined by your church body and not from congress or the Supreme Court. If that concept sounds radical to you, ask yourself this question: How would I feel if government also regulated baptisms and communion?

To those who support the marriage of homosexuals and hold that everyone should be given the choice to marry whom they please: If you are truly free, and marriage is truly a right, why do you ask for permission from an oppressive force? If you are honestly free, you would not have to ask. You would simply do as you see fit, as long as you did not deprive anyone of life or property.

On the virtues of free speech:

I’d like to settle the debate by turning it into a First Amendment issue: the right of free speech. Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it will qualify as a civil contract if desired. […]

I personally identify with the dictionary definition of marriage: “The social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live together as husband and wife by legal commitments or religious ceremony.” If others who choose a different definition do not impose their standards on anyone else, they have the First Amendment right to their own definition and access to the courts to arbitrate any civil disputes. (pp 183-184, 185)

As a citizen of these united States, you are granted all the privileges of the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech is still one of those privileges. If you so desire, you have the right to define marriage according to your own terms. Whether those terms are determined by your personal faith or your own opinion, no one has the ability to alter that definition. To the right of the issue is the claim that marriage is a product of religion, and there is significant evidence to support that argument. However, one of the beauties of this country is that its people can say and believe as they wish. If they feel differently about the subject, they have the right to say and act as such.

On the other side of free speech, is the liberty to oppose the views of others. This means that if you disagree with another person or group, you can voice your thoughts as long as they do not cause harm to someone else. It is important to note here, that disagreeing with someone, does not constitute as hate speech. The same right that enables you to say what you will, protects those who say what you wish they would not.

arguing

On the use of force through government:

The supercharged emotions are on both extremes of the issue, because neither extreme accepts the principles of a free society. One side is all too willing to have the state use the law to force a narrow definition of marriage on everyone without a hint of tolerance. The other side-a minority opinion-wants the law to help them gain social acceptance even though this is impossible for law to achieve. Those who seek social acceptance of gay marriage are also motivated by the desire to force government and private entities to provide spousal benefits. When dealing with government benefits, this becomes an economic redistribution issue- a problem that would not be found in a truly free society.

When it comes to forcing “equal” treatment in hiring or receiving insurance benefits, that problem should be solved by voluntary agreement-just as voluntary agreement provides the tolerance and understanding for those who chose lifestyles and alternative definitions of marriage. You can’t accept one without the other. […]

The definition of marriage is what divides so many. Why not tolerate everybody’s definition as long as neither side uses force to impose its views on the other? Problem solved! It doesn’t happen because of the lack of tolerance on both sides. One side wants a narrow definition for all, and the other side wants a broad definition that demands full acceptance by those who choose not to subsidize or socialize with people with whom they are uncomfortable. (pp 184, 185)

I could not have said it better myself, and that is why I let Dr. Paul explain it. You see, both sides hold their views so passionately that they would have them be forced by law onto the whole of the nation. If this were a democracy, (and it is not) then the flavor of the day would be determined by the majority rule. This has indeed been the case for this issue as the majority has, until now, been for the strictly heterosexual definition of marriage. Today, however, the tide has turned towards the other direction. If the issue had been determined by the principles of a constitutional republic (which we are), which protects minority opinion through law, all along, then this would likely have been resolved long ago. No force needed.

On the issue of marriage benefits:

Even without a truly free society….if what government provided had real Social Security accounts that could be passed on to family survivors, individuals could name whomever they wanted to be their beneficiary, just as with private insurance. It seems, though, that the Social Security system will never be a sound government-run insurance program, so choice in designating beneficiaries under today’s circumstances is nothing more than expanding a welfare program. (p 184)

The issue would be much simpler if money wasn’t involved, but alas, the current definition of marriage limits non-legally married couples from receiving the same benefits as others. This illustrates how broken the Social Security system really is. Just one more way the government manages to make your life a little more hectic.

Calm down.

We all have our opinions and differences. We all have our varied perspectives, beliefs and values. But at the end of the day we are all individuals trying to live our lives to our own contentment and happiness. For some reason, our happiness is often reliant upon our ability to limit and mold the actions of others to our own standards. If we can shrug off that perpetual human desire to force our will on others, we might actually discover more happiness for ourselves. In the end, you see, regardless of faith and fortune, we are all Americans.

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  1. April 15, 2013 at 12:26 am

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    • April 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

      Thank you very much. Happy to have you back anytime!

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