There has been much said this past week about the rise in American acceptance of the right for two non-heterosexual people to marry. Polls, my friends, never determines what is right. It should never determine what we value as a society. At one time in our history, it was accepted that we could enslaved Africans. Likewise, it was accepted that women need not vote, own property, and if you were from North Carolina, publicly embarrass her husband. Polls were high for the Iraq War, and ten years later, we see the result of that. Polls are notoriously fickle. So why do we decide anything in our Republic by polls?
Our Republic. It is not a democracy. A democracy decides issues — any issue — by a majority vote. We are a Republic, one founded on laws. It is on the rule of law we have based many of our decisions. Indeed, when the support of slavery was starting to wain, the Supreme Court decided the Dred Scott case. We don’t agree with it, but it was decided on the basis of law. The recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Health Care Act was decided on law, and not on what polls where. Our Republic must decide issues based not on polls, emotions, or such subjective things; it must decide certain questions based on law. Laws, as even Lincoln discovered, mean something and should not be circumvented so easily.
One of the hopes we see in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is equal rights. This is our moral charter. This charter supports the notion that one day all people will be equal under the law. This has not always been the case and in several ways now, it still is not the case. But, this is our hope. It is our hope that one day, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, or religion, all people shall be treated fairly under the law. What does this mean? Not that all people are given everything, but that everyone regardless of difference — pronounced, chosen, or hidden — have the same access to rights shared by all — that whatever minority we may create can have the same freedoms the majority enjoys. This view is enshrined in us as a people.
When we examine the issue of gay marriage, we interject into it the matter of religion. I view marriage as a sacrament — it communicates God to us and something of ourselves to God. I do not view it as a political union, although at times it is little more than a contract for property transfer. Religious marriage, then, is one I would rather enjoy seeing abandoned by the State. We do not ask the State to validate our baptisms or to decide who can and who cannot partake at our communion table. Yet, we have allowed for the State to decide marriages between two consenting adults. First, it was between two people of different races. There are two marriages, Herr Luther. The first is civil in which we have some sort of legal contract. The second is the religious sacrament.
There is no Government created under God that can force the change of the religious sacrament. Yet, in the United States — a Republic based on the rule of law — we can define and redefine marriage of the civil variety. To this, then, I must concur with legal authorities, that two consenting homosexual adults regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or sexual orientation must enjoy the same civil rights as two heterosexual adults. If marriage between two consenting adults is extended to one group, it must be extended to another. If we deny rights to one, it must be denied to all. The tyranny of the majority is one democracies love, but Republics eschew. It is time, then, to eschew this discriminatory practice and allow for civil unions to take place between any two consenting adults. While I advocate for protections for religious groups who do not condone homosexuals to marry, just as I would for those who do not support marriages between Catholics and Protestants or the like, I would rather the end of Government sanctioned marriage altogether. This, however, is not likely to happen.
This must not be a religious issue, but one decided by civil rights — by laws. While we can speculate in fear about polygamy, beastiality, and pedophilia, these are little more than strawman arguments. I hope that others will see the Republican virtue of this position, even if they disagree with the divine validity of so-called gay marriage.
- Domestic Partnershippal Bliss (separatestateandtheeconomy.com)
- NC church halts marriages until gay couples can wed (foxnews.com)
- Dramatic Rise In Support for Gay Marriage (abcnews.go.com)
- Activists hopeful of civil marriage law amendment (dailystar.com.lb)