In his “Don’t Tread On Us” contribution, BJ says SCOTUS erred in not treating gay marriage as a states’ rights matter. The states agreed, in 1868, via the 14th Amendment, that they would provide equal privilege, immunity, and protection of the laws to all citizens. The 14th Amendment reads, in part: “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.” Plainly stated, government can’t provide benefits and privileges of marriage to some people, and deny them to others.
In a society truly committed to liberty, a voluntary relationship between two consenting adults, where neither violates the rights of others, is simply not the business of government. Unfortunately, the government plays all kinds of “carrot and stick” games with the concept of marriage, which takes us into the legal arena. An objection based on faith, traditional views, or any other subjective measurement of what marriage is or isn’t, does not weigh on this as a legal matter. I would encourage people to continue to treat marriage as their faith and beliefs dictate. If two homosexuals choose to marry (in the eyes of government), you don’t have to view that marriage as sacred. View it however your beliefs dictate. Looking to government for guidance on this matter is foolhardy. It says nothing about what marriage is to you. That’s between you and your creator.
One hundred sixty years ago, many U.S. state governments wouldn’t allow marriage between different races. There were many people who thought it was a profound offense to the creator, against the natural order of things. While there may be some holdouts, few think that way anymore, and most couldn’t imagine our government interfering in such a choice.
Don’t force your beliefs on others with the help of government. That’s a double edge sword you don’t want swinging back in your direction. Instead, work to minimize government intrusion into every citizen’s life, and limit the amount of power and coercion government can apply to anyone. We’re all better off for it. – R.S.
HJL Responds: This issue is much more difficult than just minimizing government intrusion into our lives. The SCOTUS is attempting to redefine something that they did not define in the first place and that they actually have no right or even ability to define at all. By applying the 14th Amendment to marriage, the SCOTUS is attempting to usurp the authority of God Himself. Long before the SCOTUS existed, and even long before governments defined by man existed, God defined the boundaries of marriage as a covenantal relationship between one man, one woman, and God Himself. As part of the definition of that covenant, there exists the ability to build a home, raise a family, designate property sharing, educate your children, and generally conduct business to the benefit of the family unit within an ethical structure. Along with those abilities comes the responsibility to administer justice in a just and righteous manner as well ensure the safety and security of that family.
Since God is the architect of marriage, it follows that He is the one that gets to define what the boundaries and rules are surrounding it. Part of those rules are about how other people (fellow believers, the church) are given the authority to administer correction in a just and righteous manner over that same marriage and individuals within that marriage when the leader of the home is not administering it as he should. The government stepped in a long time ago under the guise of administering the property sharing rights and has continued to enlarge its claim over marriage as they claim social safety of children, et cetera. Most of this intrusion has not been met with the resistance it should have received until now. While the government should have the right to set rules and boundaries for contractual agreements between people, marriage should be off limits to them because they have no authority in a covenant that they did not take part in. If the SCOTUS had chosen some other vehicle to define what they wanted, such as “civil unions”, I doubt there would have been as much backlash as what you see today.
It is clear, in light of the ruling by the SCOTUS only a few years ago, that DOMA was unconstitutional and that marriage was a “states right” and now the ruling that effectively reverses that ruling, claiming that it is not a “states right” but a federal issue, that they are simply playing political games, exceeding their authority, and furthering a progressive agenda. The truth of the matter is that not even states have the right to meddle in the definition of marriage. If they want to create a civil union that grants privileges similar to marriage, that is their right to do so, but they cannot usurp God in redefining what marriage is. Truth is truth whether they like it or not and it does not matter what they call it. Any law that is unconstitutional is wrong and is in effect self-nullified, and thus we have an obligation not to obey it. But further than that, any law that is contrary to God is wrong, and we have an obligation to not follow it either.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15