Federal Marriage Amendment

Wall Street Journal writes today on the Federal Marriage Amendment that I found interesting. They basically oppose amending the Constitution to prohibit gay marriages… but they *are* in favor of an amendment that prohibits Federal courts from interpeting the Constitution that way. The entire article is here, but here are the key points that interested me:

For his part, Mr. Bush has been accused of using the issue for campaign purposes, and no doubt he is listening to his conservative base. But let’s remember who made this a national issue. That was done by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Massachusetts Supreme Court and others who put their own personal agendas above current laws. It is revealing that in no case has gay marriage been sanctioned by a legislature, and that the courts, both federal and state, are filled with similar activist litigation.

This path, moreover, has been marked by disingenuousness all the way through. In last year’s Lawrence sodomy case, U.S. Supreme Court Justices assured us that it had no implications for gay marriage. But scarcely had the ink dried than the Massachusetts high court was invoking Lawrence to mandate gay marriage. Only a few years back, John Kerry attacked the Defense of Marriage Act (which was signed by Bill Clinton and says states do not have to recognize other states’ gay marriages) as “unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and mean-spirited.” Now Mr. Kerry invokes that law to justify his opposition to a constitutional amendment.

Likewise we see a number of born-again federalists, telling us to “leave it to the states.” We’re all for leaving it to the states. But most of those pushing gay marriage have no intention of doing so, at least if that means the democratic process. What they really mean is let’s stop all activity on a Constitutional amendment until the Supreme Court declares gay marriage to be a Constitutional right, in another version of Roe v. Wade.

The litigation all points in this direction. Most telling is Nebraska. In 2000, 70% of its voters approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and prohibiting civil unions or domestic partnerships. If activists really believed in leaving this to the states, it’s pretty clear Nebraskans have spoken. But this state amendment is being challenged by the ACLU, which hopes to get a federal judge to throw it out. The state’s attorney general testified in Congress that he expects the state to lose.

That sums it up nicely, I think. The ones who usually cry that this is an issue for the states are the ones pushing hardest for a Constitutional Amendment. The ones that are usually accused of appointing activist judges are now crying this is a states right issue – but only because they believe eventually they’ll get a Federal Court to declare gay marriage to be a constitutional right. And even when the states make their wishes known as in Nebraska, the ACLU sues to overturn it.

Oy. The Constitutional solution is that this should have been a states rights question from the beginning. The US Constitution specifically says that any rights not espressly given to the US Government are reserved for the States. The decision on abortion shouldn’t have been a Federal decision, but it was. Now the genie is out of the bottle, and the US government has been happily trampling States Rights for years. And while the people, either through direct voting or through their legislatures has never permitted gay marriage, and in most cases specifically outlawed gay activity of any sort, the courts have been “discovering” these rights and overruling the people and the legislatures.

It should have never gotten this far – the opposition is correct, this should have been an issue left to the States. Sadly, it is the same opposition that has made that impossible. That genie is never going to go back in that bottle.

12 thoughts on “Federal Marriage Amendment

  1. Why do I feel the need to express my opinion?
    Isn’t “marriage” a biblical term? A union is between a man and women in the eyes of God. If so, gay marriages are wrong and I feel very strongly that it is wrong. I think it is sad when I hear of a gay church, gay marriages. I learned that these rules were written in stone.
    If gay people want the same rights and privileges of straight, normal ,sane hetero couples, Get your own term.
    Gays have the right (not that I like it) to do as they please as long as it doesn’t effect my house and my family. I work with openly gay people and I have no problem with it. In my house, they are not as tolerated.
    Separate Church and State? Keep the State out of the Church!


  2. If marriage is a biblical term, why do we have laws around it? You want separation of church and state, then the government should make no distinction between single and married people. You and your spouse will pay separte taxes. Your spouse will not be able to consent on your behalf to medical procedures. Your spouse will not automatically inherit any of your estate upon your death, nor receive any of your social security benefits. Are you as offended by these government intrusions into the sanctity of marriage as you are by the idea of legally sanctioned same-sex marriage?


  3. One of the most important human rights that our founding fathers made sure to guarantee in our constitution was freedom of religion. At the time, the overwhelming majority of Americans belonged to Christian denominations (and Christianity is still the main religion today). So at the time there really wasn’t any opposition to protecting marriage (between adult man and woman) with federal laws. However, over the past 200 years, there have been great migrations of people from all over the planet into America. Now we have large populations of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and various other religions and spiritualities, all with their own idea of marriage. Unfortunately, as these groups began to settle in America, they were often expected to conform to the norms of the majority Christian culture and society. The constitution should have protected all of these people’s rights. If we had such a diverse group of people in 1776, the constitution may have been worded a little differently (It would probably resemble the constitution of South Africa, a multicultural democracy). If you want federal law to protect marriage as a Christian institution, then federal law should give equal rights to married couples from any belief system. If you want it left up to the states to decide, then they are still required to respect the right to freedom of religion. Groups like the ACLU are fighting in the states because to deny people the right to marry, regardless of who they are, is discrimination and it goes against our constitution. Freedom of religion, a guaranteed national human right, supercedes the decision of states to ban gay marriage. There should be no vote allowed in any state to ban marriage between any two people. The only vote that should be allowed in a state is to extend marriage rights to all people (regardless of religion or culture) or to do away with marriage rights all together. For to give only Christians the right to marry is to deny the right of freedom of religion. Either gives equal rights and protection to everybody, or give them to no one. Favoring one group over another is discrimination.


  4. It’s funny that what I thought I typed and what people read is different. I have no problem with unions between two people or not allowing unions so all people benifit or, are screwed the same. My thought was that the term “married” was biblical. My wife and I signed a paper at the courthouse that ment we shared all properties equally between us. Then I went to the church and told God and everybody that would listen that she is the only one for me till death do we part. We got married. Married before God.
    Everybody can have the same tax benifits or take it away from everybody equally the same. I could care less one way or the other. My point was *looks back at the first post* Marriage is before God. Everyone else can get their own term. 🙂


  5. I didn’t read anything different than what you typed. I disagreed with what you typed. The term “marriage” is not in any way restricted to the religious aspect of union. Thus we have “common law marriage” not “common law legal union”. It’s even right there in the dictionary, under the very first definition for the word:
    1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law


  6. Marriage has it’s roots from several sources. The pagan Romans had marriage, the ancient Greeks had marriage, the Israelites had marriage. Marriage in the years before Christ were primarily business arrangements between families.

    In the next few hundred years after Christ, the Church took over most of the responsibilities of marriage in our culture. English churches and by extension, American marriages have deep roots in Christian faith. For the American Christian, it is absolutely a religious binding, a holy matrimony consecrated by God. The government paperwork is almost meaningless except for the ability to change names, reduce taxes, etc.

    My interpretation of my faith (and the interpetation of many Christians including Catholic Church doctrine) is that homosexual behavior is immoral. It’s a sin. Condoning sins is something Christians should fight hard against, and changing laws to permit homosexuals to marry is the same as condoning that sin. And yes, I said “changing laws” because no state or federal legislature has passed a law permitting homosexual marriage.


  7. Taken from http://www.iwgonline.org/marriage/

    “Marriage is not a monolithic, unchanging institution, even though many people define it that way (or believe that God has defined it that way). Civil marriage and religious marriage are different institutions, but are often confused with each other because states allow the religious ceremony to double as the state ceremony.

    There are different marriage laws in all the states and different definitions of marriage in every religious tradition. In addition to this diversity, civil marriage rights in the U.S. have been significantly broadened during the last fifty years.”


  8. While it is true that the Bible (largely the Old Testament) condemns homosexuality in a few places, it equally condemns eating shellfish. Jesus never mentions homosexuality. The bottom line is this: America is grappling with the discarding of old stereotypes about a group of people who have been part of our country since America has been a country. This is a painful process. Massachusetts hopefully will not have as hard a time as Vermont did, but the struggle is a real one, and will be painful for institutions as well as individuals. All Americans are diminished when we allow stereotyping to dismiss the worth of fellow Americans. All Americans are stronger, and the nation is stronger, when we judge people by who they are, not what they are


  9. I’m going to correct this from a biblical standpoint: The New Testament supercedes the Old Testament. Jesus says things that go in your mouth do not make you unclean, it’s what’s in your heart that makes you clean or unclean. Ergo, the sacrificial rules about shellfish and pigs and whatnot were superceded by the sacrificial blood of Jesus. Also, the New Testament specifically condemns sexual immorality and says, “Each man shall have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”


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