This week the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether or not marriage equality is a right under the Constitution.
We have witnessed in the last decade a sea change in public opinion on whether gays should have the right to be married. It has been an amazing journey where public opinion has changed so quickly and is in fact far ahead of the politicians on this issue. It is a generational change. Young people on the whole have no problem with gays getting married. They have much more social interaction with homosexuals in the workplace and in other social settings. And in the process they see gays as being human beings with feelings and the shared emotions that we have towards people we care about. Older people, on the other hand still have a problem with gays being married. After all it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. It is hard for older citizens to accept change, change of any type. Around 60% of the public now recognize that gay couples have the right to marry.
The change in our collective view of how we view marriage shows the resilience of the American people, and it shows an unwillingness to allow discrimination against any class of people. As we march towards a decision it is my hope that whatever the decision may be, we rise above any personal acrimony and recognize the decision of the court as being the law of the land.
From certain quarters you already hear the rumblings of discord of some who claim that the court has no right to dictate to the states what the court determines is constitutional or not constitutional. It was our founders who in their infinite wisdom decided to have a separation of powers whereby three branches of government were created so as to be a check and a balance on the other. We are not a country of 50 separate and sovereign states but in fact we are a nation. The court since Marbury V Madison, determined that the Supreme Court was the institution that was the final arbiter and was the final authority on what was constitutional. We should be thankful that we have our system of government where there is an entity who makes the final decision on what the law is. It would be wise to admit that if we did not as a society accept what the law is, chaos would reign and no law would have the adequate acceptance of the people to have the sufficient respect necessary for our laws to be faithfully executed.
The people are still left a remedy if there are a sufficient number of citizens who disagree with a decision of the court to overturn such a decision by going to the people to seek redress by passing a Constitutional Amendment.
It is interesting to note that those who argue to maintain states rights are often the loser in court and they are often the ones who seek to discriminate against a segment of our population and who are intolerant of others.
The institution of marriage is not a right specifically enumerated in the Constitution but under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution no class of people may be discriminated against. One could also argue that under the Declaration of Independence, that when Jefferson mentioned that “AMONG these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marriage is in fact an institution through which our citizens seek to pursue their own individual happiness through marriage.
In history, over three thousand years ago, the Greeks had three classes of marriage, including marriages of homosexuals. It would be incorrect to say that we have not witnessed such marriages before in history.
If a religion is allegedly offended by the marriage of gay persons, they need to accept the fact that our country is ruled by the Constitution and not one religion’s view of the Bible. No one is hopefully being forced to marry someone that they do not want to marry. Hopefully we will never get to the point where we are force to stay married when we are unhappy either. It should not be anyone’s business who marries who.
Republican candidates and the Republican Party are going to have a hard time with the issue of marriage equality because they are on the wrong side of history on this issue. Their political party has a large portion of it’s party who are evangelical Christians. Evangelicals for the most part are diametrically opposed to marriage equality.
Will the Republican Party platform have a section devoted to a Constitutional Amendment on marriage only being okay between a man and a woman? Will questions be asked of the Presidential candidates whether or not it is okay to attend a wedding of two people of the same sex?
I would hope that we could as a society just accept the court’s decision and just let it go. Live and let live, allow people to live freely without hate and discrimination.
Sexual orientation is not something that one chooses, science indicates that you are born with a sexual predisposition. There will always be some who deny science and who believe that it is a choice that individuals make, but then some people still believe that the sun revolves around the earth and that we never did land on the Moon. Some people just never change.
It is likely that when the Supreme Court makes its decision known probably in June, marriage equality will be another civil rights victory. Let us hope that if in fact that decision is made acceptance will win the day, and the respect for the ideal that everyone deserves to be equally happy or unhappy will win the day. Let us hope that acrimony and hate will take a back seat.