1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
2. The state of being married; wedlock.
3. A common-law marriage.
4. A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.
To turn BRD
's phrase on its head, these are "The things that make it easy to be socially liberal."
It always amazes me that elements on the "Right", which so often fears the intrusion of government into our lives, who mutter amongst themselves that the real reason we need the NRA is so we can rise up and overthrow the government with all those handguns if need be, who claim to be for "Small Government" and "States Rights", are so quick to not only support but insist
that the very government they so fear should legislate issues of morality and marriage!!
Wait a sec, if the government's so bad, why should we let it decide who should get married? Oh, I see, the government's just fine as long as its sticking its nose into our bedrooms and deciding who we can live with and what kind of sex we can have, but heaven forbid we fund public television, because that's
going to erode our rights and destroy the nation?
Well, let's examine the core issues of the whole gay marriage boondoggle, shall we?
To be nit-picky, Bush has the details wrong again. The "Full Faith and Credit Clause" in Article IV of the Constitution wouldn't force
states to suddenly start marrying gay couples in their states just because Massachusetts does.
Here's why: there's two hundred years of precedent that says a state does not have to honor a marriage that violates its own laws. The policy has generally been one based on residency at the time of the marriage. For example, Georgia allows first cousins to marry. Illinois only allows first cousins to marry if they are both older than 50. If a pair of 20 year old cousins from Illinois drove down to Atlanta to get married then returned to Illinois, Illinois could (and likely would) invalidate the marriage on the basis that it was clearly an attempt to avoid Illinois law. On the other hand, a couple 20 year old of cousins who live in Georgia, marry in Georgia, and then move to Illinois a few years later would remain married, even though their marriage was a technical violation of Illinois law, because their marriage was legal where they lived when they got married.
For that matter, states even have the right to invalidate marriages for people moving into the state that were legal where they occurred, as long as they view the marriages as "harmful" to community standards. The old polygamy marriages out of Utah were like that way back when. Leave Utah, and you only got to keep one wife.
So the argument that letting gay people marry in Massachusetts or 'Frisco will automatically impose that will on the rest of the USA is pretty much crap. In the looser version, the worst that would happen was that a few married gay people from other states would move into your state and remain married. In the tighter version, you wouldn't have to deal with it at all, since your state (especially ones with "Defense of Marriage" laws on the books) would just invalidate it, just as they would those of a Mormon polygamist.
But while the specific argument Bush is citing is full of legal holes, the core fact that he's stating is more or less right...without a constitutional amendment, there's little chance to prevent gay marriage from taking hold. Why? Not because of Article IV which Bush cites, but because of the 14th Amendment:
"Section 1. 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
Yes, its our good friend the "Equal Protection Clause". If a man and a woman can get married, with the legal and economic benefits that entails, and a pair of men or a pair of women cannot, how can there be equal protection? Aren't we then saying that a man and a woman have more rights than a man and a man or a woman and a woman? Its hard to argue that is not currently the case, so it seems fairly likely that one of the "activist judges" that Bush rails against will indeed make a correct and honest reading of the 14th Amendment and will kick the crap out of the Defense of Marriage Act.
So then we have to ask ourselves, why is this a big deal? Who cares if gay people get married? This doesn't invalidate all the existing non-gay marriages, does it? We aren't picturing a bunch of shotgun weddings where gay men round up straight men and force them to marry them, are we? Because that ain't what we're talking about, you know.
Why should the government care at all?
If your first answer is "marriage is sacred" or "marriage is sacrosanct" or "marriage is holy", then stop right now. Separation of church and state, remember? If you start making policy because it says homosexuality is a sin in the Old Testament, you're enforcing your religion on the rest of us. That's the point
of divorcing religion from lawmaking. Your religion is a private thing, just as mine is, just as that Wiccan girl you knew in college is, or that atheist activist you see on TV protesting nativity scenes on public property is. You wouldn't appreciate it if that guy became Dictator of the United States and declared that all religion in the USA was banned because he didn't believe in them, why should the rest of us feel thrilled that you want to ban certain relationships because of what your religion says?
If your answer after that is "Well, my
religion is right
", let's try to remember that the Taliban thought they
were right too...
Don't even try the "marriage is about reproduction" angle. First of all, its no hard thing for a lesbian couple to reproduce through artificial insemination. And unless you want to strip the marriages from infertile couples or the elderly, clearly reproduction is not really the issue.
If you're thinking, "Gay marriage will devalue/destroy the Institution of Marriage", then let me counter with the following example:
I know a gay couple. They've been living together for 15+ years, through hard times and good. They've bought a house together and consider themselves "married" over that time, despite their inability to make it formal in the laws where they live. They support one another, love each other, and show every sign of remaining together for the rest of their lives.
Now, and I want you to think really carefully before you answer this, do you really believe that their relationship is less valuable than Brittany Spears' 48 hours in Vegas?
Are the fleshy bits between our legs that important? Is that what this comes down to? This combination of parts is okay...those combinations? Banned!!!
I don't see it that way. I happen to think that a "family" has more to do with love and trust and relationship rather than the physical configurations of the people involved.
It isn't even about me personally. I lie awake some nights, hoping to find a cute redheaded girl who likes politics, military history, and science fiction. Regardless of how the politics of this issue turns out, I'm good to go if I ever find her. It ain't about me, its about the principle
of the thing.
This is why, at the end of the day, I end up voting Democrat more often than I do Republican. While the Democrats are more likely to tell me how to spend my money, the Republicans are more likely to tell me how to live my life...including and especially, who I'm allowed to love.
I'll take my chances with the guys who want my money.