Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Institution of Marriage

Stepping up onto My Soapbox. Offering a warning that you may not agree with what I say here, and so this is your chance to simply go away. If not, don't whine later about being offended by what you chose to read. Thank you, kindly. I promise to return to your regularly-scheduled D-Blogging soon enough - with a fun D-Feast Friday post on the way tomorrow!


The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

“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.”

Passed in 1868, this constitutional amendment came on the heels of the Civil War. But it echoes sentiments that were debated and discussed back by the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson. He saw slavery and equal rights an issue that he wasn't ever personally able to eliminate by the time he died in 1826. But decades later, it was one of his greatest followers named Abe Lincoln who put into place what Jefferson hadn't achieved. The 14th Amendment includes the Citizenship Clause, which provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling in 1857 that held blacks couldn't be U.S. citizens. It also includes the Equal Protection Clause, requiring each state to provide that equal legal protection to all people within its jurisdiction - the basis for the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 that began the dismantling of racial segregation in this country.

However, the 14th Amendment's second section used the word "male" in regard to voting and so that constitutional right didn't open the door for women voting and protections; it took a new amendment (the 19th) for that to happen. But eventually, women too achieved some sense of being seen as equals in the eyes of the law.

Now, the battle emerges on gay marriage rights. Men want to be able to express their love, but those who don't believe in homosexuality argue that this somehow endangers the "institution of marriage." As if this Holy Bond is pure now, with a 50% divorce rate that continues rising. Rather than citing Constitutional law, gay marriage opponents cite the Bible and Christian beliefs - despite a little thing called the First Amendment, which specifically puts religious freedom ahead of gun ownership rights. States have moved during the past decade to strengthen their stances on marriage, and some have even tried to amend their state constitutions on this point even when they already have laws prohibiting same sex marriages. California is one of those, after voters in 2008 passed Proposition 8 that banned same sex marriage. But a judge on Aug. 4 struck down this ban based on the 14th Amendment, and now that's being appealed to the Higher Courts.

Conservatives are opposed, saying that this jeopardizes the institution of marriage.

Maybe someone can help explain this to me: When half of our married men and women can't keep the sacred vows they took, how can we as a society say we're trying to protect the concept of marriage by refusing to recognize people who actually do love each other and have the ability to stay married? How does their love endanger you, or call into question your own beliefs or ability to maintain your own marriage vows?

Why in the hell is a bitter divorce and subsequent ugly custody dispute better than two people loving each other and sharing that love and respect with future generations?

With the above-mentioned 14 Amendment, why can't people just get the chance to be happy as the Constitution says they have the right to? Why do segments of society insist on restricting what they don't agree with, contrary to the very fundamentals they cite in trying to get their way on other topics? If we all could somehow just get over ourselves, and stop trying to control every little aspect of life as we see it should be, this world would be so incredibly better. We might actually more closely resemble some place worthy of God's Love. But instead, we bring false religion, politics and selfishness into everything and make life more complicated than it should be, then bicker about why we're not able to just be left alone to live our lives in peace.

Point: Get over yourself. No one is stopping you from disagreeing and living your life as you see fit. So, go ahead and do that. And leave others in peace to do the same. No one is attacking your marriage or trying to change how you live. Return to the favor. How two men or women in California, or down the street from me in Indianapolis, express their love doesn't change how I live my life. I love my wife. My marriage vows are sacred and I honor them. I'm not dictating who you marry, so don't presume you have the legal right to interfere in someone else's decision on that. I pray, but don't ask that you pray to My God or any God if you don't want to. We have that right because some guys in the 1700s and 1800s said so, and they wrote it down. Have the decency to offer the same respect as you receive. Please, and Thank You.

Now stepping down from My Soapbox...

7 comments:

Brenda W said...

I agree Michael!

Penny said...

Great post Michael. I truly believe that equal rights means just that - that we are free in this country to love whom we please and then marry that someone. Whatever rights I have, I would like extended to everyone. No exclusions.

Anonymous said...

A friend recently opined on this topic, saying: "Maybe we should make it more difficult for people to get married in the first place. That way, it would maybe cut down on divorces." just a thought

Shannon said...

I could not agree more. I do want to clarify one point, though. All conservatives are not opposed to gay marriage. There are many conservatives(like me) who believe in the philosophy of "live and let live; just keep your hands off my money."

Karen said...

Well stated! The entire world would be a better place if everyone followed the "Do unto others" philosophy - if you wouldn't want someone restricting your ability to marry, you shouldn't try to restrict someone else's. This applies to interactions between people in so many ways...

Scott said...

I think Wanda Sykes said it best: "It's very simple: if you don't believe in same-sex marriage, don't marry somebody of the same sex! I don't understand people who are all up in arms about shit that don't affect them ..." See the clip at http://tinyurl.com/wandaonmarriage

shannon said...

*applause*