published Thursday, June 27th, 2013

A victory for marriage equality; battle for liberty continues

Plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California Proposition 8 case, celebrate on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.
Plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California Proposition 8 case, celebrate on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

June 26, 2013, will be recalled as a monumental turning point for equal liberty and dignity for some, and as a date which will live in infamy for others.

The pair of controversial decisions regarding same-sex marriage issued by the Supreme Court of the United States marked a final victory in the battle for equality for same-sex couples, but signified only a modest triumph in the war for universal freedom.

For many opponents of same-sex marriage, however, the decisions were perceived as devastating rulings that are both morally offensive and historically unsubstantiated. What those in opposition to same-sex marriage apparently fail to appreciate is the undeniable fact that federal laws were treating one set of American citizens as inferior humans -- and something simply had to be done to remedy that injustice.

By addressing and correcting those issues of basic fairness and civil rights, the Supreme Court in no way impacted or harmed foes of same-sex marriage. Even after these decisions, it is important to remember that those who oppose marriage equality still have a right to marry someone of the opposite sex -- and to oppose same-sex marriage for themselves and their families, fight to ensure their houses of worship don't perform same-sex marriages, and encourage others to also decline same-sex marriages.

In United States v. Windsor, the Court held that a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act "violates basic due process and equal protection principles," according to Justice Anthony Kennedy. Writing for the majority, Kennedy declared that DOMA's "principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal" and the law's "principal purpose is to impose inequality."

The Court's DOMA decision has far-reaching consequences. Beyond the estate tax fairness issues at the heart of the Windsor case, the verdict will ensure that 1,100 federal provisions available to married opposite-sex couples are applied equally to lawfully married same-sex couples. That includes Social Security benefits, tax returns, veterans' benefits, health coverage and housing rights.

In a more limited decision, the Court struck down Proposition 8, the California voter initiative banning gay marriage. As a result, same-sex marriage is again legal in California.

The restrained Prop. 8 verdict means that same-sex marriage isn't the law of the land, and won't be any time soon. Marriage equality will be won over time on a state-by-state basis.

That fight for same-sex marriage rights is actually a fight for liberty; a fight for the principle that if a right guaranteed by the government is accessible to certain consenting adults, that right should be available to all consenting adults.

Despite the opposition from those who believe their own morals should trump the rights and liberties desired by others, marriage equality will one day be the law of the land in every state. Why? Because when Americans hunger for the right to live the life they choose, and if doing so will do nothing to prevent others from living their lives as they wish, liberty will win. It always has.

And if liberty continues to win, government will increasingly have less and less to do with marriage until, one day, such discussions about marriage will be eliminated from court houses and capitol buildings and occur, instead, where they belong: over dinner tables and at water coolors; in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples; and, most importantly, between couples who love one another.

May there one day be so much freedom that we each can choose to engage in marriage, not as a government contract, but as a solemn promise of love and devotion guided by whatever religious convictions or moral beliefs we each have in our own hearts.

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AndrewLohr said...

So when a couple from Westboro Baptist "Church" wants to get married, and they ask Robert Mapplethorpe to do the photography and his sister Michelle to make the cake, and the Mapplethorpes refuse, do the Mapplethorpes get arrested and fined and sent to sensitivity training?

(Fact check: Robert, famous "gay" photographer, died A.D. 1989, and I have no idea of his sisters' names or occupations or predilections.)

Freedom means (in part) letting other people do things of which one disapproves. Does it have to mean applauding or subsidizing it, or allowing it within zones that prefer it not?

Since "gays" can't breed--breeding involves the opposite sex--Darwin might disapprove of it without reference to the Holy Holy Holy One. Let there be no claim that the only opposition is religious. (If science develops artificial wombs and/or artificial sperm, that's artificial opposite sex; still not "gay" breeding.)

If Muslim Sharia law executes "gays," and our President subsidizes Sharia regimes, is our President forcing U.S. taxpayers to subsidize the execution of "gays"? Since "gay" behavior spreads the AIDS virus (formerly "GRID," gay related immune deficiency; and of course other fornication also spreads it), are "gays" murdering each other? (Points from Douglas Wilson.)

God now orders all sinners--not just the "gay" minority--to repent: Acts 17. Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose up alive on the third day. Mr Mapplethorpe simply died (from sins, not for them), and stayed dead, awaiting the Judgment Day. Let us repent, considering the love, power, and judgment of Jesus.

June 27, 2013 at 8:24 a.m.
marmadukegarcia said...

"A date that will live in infamy"? Right. What over-the-top imagery from Big Events In History will you use next? Evidently since gay marriage is a Just Cause, any means to accomplish it is good. This has long been the Progressive way, but it is disappointing to see it coming from you. Anyway, it's interesting that neither you, Gaia Pam, or Cold Metal Joan bothered to seek out the opinion of local Muslims. Since much of the Islamic world still punishes homosexuality with death, one would think their opinion of these rulings would be informative. Why not cut to the chase and openly advocate what you allude to in your final paragraphs - the complete disengagement of government from marriage? The sooner it could be accomplished, the sooner we would be spared the holier-than-thou moralizing of both sides.

June 27, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.

JonRoss- I rarely respond to comments posted on the website, but I wrote the piece and I want to understand why the editorial leads you to believe that "there is no right side of the TFP."

After all, the editorial clearly states that marriage equality is an issue of individual liberty and the ultimate goal of any marriage discussions should be to get the government out of the business of marriage, returning marriage to churches, families and individuals.

The piece supports individual liberty and limited government -- as well as empowering families and religion. It seems to me that nothing could be more "right side" than that. Do you disagree?

-Drew Johnson

June 27, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.

While I'm at it: marmadukegarcia- This is my 5th editorial/column that advocates getting government out of marriage and returning it to what it should be: A personal decision between two (or more) consenting adults -- and, if they're so inclined, their families and/or the god of their choice -- with no state involvement whatsoever.

June 27, 2013 at 10:36 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

And the bigots squirm.

June 27, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.
gjuster said...

I have no problem with two people of the same sex that want to be together. I have no problem with equal treatment under the law. I do have a problem with making the term marriage the same for hetero and homosexual people that want to be together. My biggest concern is the same as Drew's - individual liberty. Will privately owned companies that have a religious issue against same sex marriage be forced to take their business. In particular, I'm talking about wedding photographers and bakeries. Me personally, I would take the business - but I don't believe that a company should be forced to, it should be their choice

June 27, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.

“Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State” by Jennifer Roback Morse , April 3rd, 2012

Libertarians are being taken in by rhetoric that sounds libertarian but, in fact, will lead to a dramatic shift in the balance of power between the state and civil society, indeed between the state and the natural order itself.

”Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children” by Jennifer Roback Morse, April 4th, 2012

Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. They are entitled to know who they are and where they came from. Therefore children have a legitimate interest in the stability of their parents’ union, since that is ordinarily how kids have relationships with both parents. If Mom and Dad are quarreling, or if they live on opposite sides of the country, the child’s connection with one or both of them is seriously impaired.

But children cannot defend their rights themselves. Nor is it adequate to intervene after the fact, after harm already has been done. Children’s relational and identity rights must be protected proactively.

Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.

This is not only a humane answer, it is also the proper libertarian answer, indeed the only possible truly libertarian answer. For only this answer allows the possibility of a society in which every individual person is recognized as valuable, as bearing intrinsic human dignity, of holding rights against other people and against the state …

This is why I do not believe it is possible or desirable to “get the state out of the marriage business.” The primary business of the state should be providing justice. Children are the most vulnerable parties in any society. But children are particularly vulnerable in a society like ours that values autonomy and independence so highly. Children cannot be autonomous and independent. Adult society owes children an obligation in justice to provide institutional structures that protect their most basic interests. This is why it would be unjust to children for the government to attempt to “get out of the marriage business.” Providing justice to the vulnerable is precisely the business of the government. If it doesn’t perform that function, it has failed.

See also:

“The Same-Sex “Marriage” Proposal is Unjust Discrimination” by Patrick Lee

June 29, 2013 at 1:01 a.m.
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