Let’s start with the bottom line…the ‘social issues’ belong to the states…period. And anyone who says otherwise does NOT know the Constitution…you know…that pesky little document Obama so loves to trample on.
The Constitution…the very document that defines our freedom and protects us from a tyrannical government (that is until Obama came along)…clearly and unequivocally states which powers will be delegated by law to each branch of government. And while amendments to the Constitution have been added that deal with specific ‘human rights’ (rights believed to belong equally to every person) those amendments still rightfully place limits on government powers in regards to those rights. And the ubber-religious far right, and even some centrist conservatives, do not understand that when ‘social issues’ cross the line into political fodder they themselves become what’s legally referred to as ‘constitutionally improper.’ And neither the federal government nor Obama himself…even when yielding his trusty pen and his phone… can legally choose which Constitutionally given ‘human rights’ to focus on…to fixate on…over the others. But the delegation of the so-called ‘social issues’ still must adhere with the Constitution not with Obama or with the socially conscious and many times judgmental ubber-religious far right.
And as we all know…or should know…the Constitution limits the government’s power by dividing the government into three separate branches…the legislative branch which makes the law; the executive branch which enforces the law, and the judicial branch which interprets the law. But most importantly, the Constitution, along with Supreme Court rulings, limits the power of the federal government by its deliberate delegation of certain key powers to the individual states, meaning each state is given the right and the ability to make most of its own laws and set most of its own policy…as it should be.
In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that laws affecting the social issues regarding what’s called ‘family relations’ (marriage, divorce, and adoption), commerce occurring within a state’s borders, and local law enforcement activities, are among those specifically delegated powers given to the states or to the people via the ballot box…the individual state’s ballot box that is.
Yet the so-called ‘socially-conscious’ ubber-religious far right…the very ones who scream they adhere to the Constitution but actually do not… sadly ignore that issues of marriage…traditional or otherwise…legally belong to the states. Too busy making wedding cakes and pizza parlors ground zero for their hate…hate based solely upon words they claim are in the Bible..these people refuse to accept the fact that many mistakes were made in the translating of the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts into the more modern texts (https://www.facebook.com/notes/james-dav… or read the complete unabridged version at https://www.facebook.com/notes/james-dav…). Saying that since government did not create marriage…that God alone created marriage…they then argue why should government have a right to define marriage.
And they are right up to a point, however, these same people forget that it works both ways…both ways as in why then should they be allowed to demand that the government define marriage as to their beliefs, in this case being strictly between one man and one women. These are the very people…the very vocal people…who want government completely out of their religion yet they have no problem whatsoever in inserting their religion into government…in fact they relish in it.
Also, what these people refuse to accept is that the entire concept of same-sex marriage is simply based upon legalities as per the Constitution not on religion. And the fact is that the Constitution does not forbid same-sex marriage nor does it condone same-sex marriage as the Constitution does not mention marriage at all nor does the Constitution address what we call issues of ‘morality’ more commonly known as the social issues. Therefore, logic would dictate that the federal government..that the Supreme Court…should not be adjudicating any decisions whatsoever on the issue of same-sex marriage…that this is an issue that must go back to the individual states to decide even though each state has its own individual requirements concerning people who marry. In fact, after the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ became law in 1996, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that, “By history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.
But, unfortunately, thanks to some it seems not to work that way no matter that Thomas Jefferson’s basic founding principal of ‘separation of church and state’ is now colliding with the mindset of the ubber-religious far right who place the religious words of the Bible above the secular rule of law that is the Constitution. And these people forget that while most Americans take marriage to both legally and religiously mean the union of one man and one woman, the fact is that no actual legal definition of the word ‘marriage’ itself is to be found in any of our founding documents nor is it specifically addressed by any statute. And that is the crux of the ongoing battle currently facing the Supreme Court and very well may be the determining factor in how they rule next month on same-sex marriage.
The issue of same-sex marriage is not new as it has been an ongoing battle of the ubber-religious far right vs. the liberal left ever since a 1993 decision in Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44, 74 Haw. 530. In tackling the possibility of same-sex marriage in Hawaii, the court decided that the state law restricting legal marriage to individuals of the opposite sex established a sex-based classification, which then would became subject to constitutional scrutiny when challenged on equal protection grounds. And though the court did not recognize a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, it did suggest that the state would have a difficult time proving that same-sex couples were not being denied equal protection under the law.
Jumping ahead to 2000, Vermont became the first state to ‘legalize’ same-sex civil unions…what many refer to as domestic partnerships. In their trying to afford committed same-sex couples some of the legal protections given straight spouses without actually calling it marriage, Vermont took a giant step towards adhering to these all-important words, “All men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”…words laid down in our Declaration of Independence…words that translate into meaning that equal protection under the law is just that…equal for everyone for nowhere in any of our founding documents does it say equal for everyone except gay people.
And legal protections and economic benefits is truly what same-sex marriage is all about…as in the 1400 legal rights afforded to so-called ‘traditional’ married couples…with the ceremony and marriage certificate being but nice icing on the same-sex wedding cake. Legal protections and economic benefits that cannot be privately arranged or contracted for within the legal system…protections and benefits that include all-important tax benefits (the ability to file joint tax returns, etc.); estate planning benefits (involving inheritances, estate and gift taxes, and medical decisions); government benefits (including social security, Medicare, disability, veterans’ benefits, and public assistance if need be); employment benefits (receiving insurance through a spouse’s employer, deceased and bereavement benefits); medical benefits (hospital visitation rights and medical decision rights); death benefits; family benefits (concerning adoption and divorce); housing and consumer benefits; and other legal benefits dealing with wrongful death, confidential communications, crime victim’s recovery benefits, and others.
Now, note that not one of these protections and benefits that legally should, in our opinion, be afforded to committed same-sex couples has anything to do with religious aspects or rites nor do these protections and rights in any way infringe upon the same protections and rights of those who adhere strictly to the Biblical beliefs as to what constitutes a marriage.
And as it stands now even before the upcoming June decision, if a ‘married’ same-sex couple currently resides in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage…and 26 states already do by court decision, 8 by state legislature, and 3 by popular vote…that couple is entitled to federal benefits under the recent U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Windsor, with the sole caveat being that certain rules for eligibility will vary by federal agency. And with many agencies looking to the place where the marriage was performed to determine whether same-sex married couples are eligible for said benefits, you can see that same-sex marriage is to some degree already being adjudicated at the state level as per the Constitution
So when one looks at same-sex marriage as strictly an issue concerning legal rights and NOT an issue concerning or infringing upon religious rites…when one sees same-sex marriage as just another government sanctioned contract of sorts… the legal vs. the Biblical concept of marriage can then clearly be seen as two completely different and separate issues which in turn brings us back full circle to the all-important premise that if you want government out of your religion then you need to keep your religion and your religious beliefs out of government.
Tomorrow, in Part 2 of our series ‘God v.The Constitution’ the religious angle against same-sex marriage will be discussed and we will point out why the ubber-religious far right is so wrong in their opposition of same-sex marriage.