It's been a few weeks since the Supreme Court ruled for legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. This is not a 'done and move on' deal. The repercussions from this decision will continue to be felt in America's future in ways most of us haven't considered.
This has nothing to do with not wanting equality for people, but everything to do with one group of people wanting something and violating the moral, just and lawful way of achieving it.
Unfortunately, many people seem to be ignoring the fact that the Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling violated the principles of America's judicial system, our religious liberties, our social structures, and our legal system.
Here are 3 important reasons why I think the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling hurts America's integrity and deteriorates our freedoms.
1. It violated the Constitution.
"Five unelected black robe judges have taken over the government, have rewritten an institution that is 4,000 years old, an institution that relies on popular consensus and ancient tradition, and there is no authority whatsoever in the Constitution for them to do so." - Judge Andrew Napolitano
What a blessing for us that America regards the written Constitution itself as sovereign. No political power can supersede it, and the independent judiciary serves as its interpreter. We are fortunate to have this miraculous document created by the brilliance of our Founding Fathers as the law of our land. It offers the greatest protections of individual liberties that has ever existed in the world. If only our government would adhere to it.
The motto of the U.S. Supreme Court - "Equal Justice Under Law." - embodies the objectives of our judicial branch of government.
Since "the law" in America is the Constitution above all else, the judiciary is responsible for upholding the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. To resolve conflicts, judges are to use the Constitution as their measuring stick in deciding the "Constitutionality" of every case. We trust judges to adhere to this.
No matter how you feel about this case, the fact is, the Constitution was not upheld in this ruling.
The Supreme Court judges who voted in support of gay marriage violated their role in the judicial system by disregarding the Constitution.
If you comb through the U.S. Constitution from start to end, you will find it mentions nothing about marriage. But you will find that the 10th Amendment clearly states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Which means marriage is within the States' and the People's jurisdiction, not the Federal government's.
But these judges decided to allow their personal views about public policy to make federal laws from the bench. They engaged in "judicial activism".
"Judicial activists are biased judges who intentionally disregard the true meaning of the law to further their own policy agendas, and essentially legislate from the bench." (1)
"Judges are to interpret the laws [to decide the Constitutionality of a case], not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people." (2)
In this case, five judges' personal preferences trumped 50 states' rights and the hundreds of millions of citizens who live in them.
President Ronald Reagan said that unless judges accept their role to interpret laws, not MAKE them, “the words of the documents that we think govern us will be just masks for the personal and capricious rule of a small elite.” (3) In other words? If judges don't do their job and just interpret the Constitution, they become a ruling elite class imposing their views as law over all of us under the guise of "justice."
"It is dangerous for judges actively to make policy, and there are structural constraints in place to prevent them from doing so."(4) They are not Congress. They are not elected by the people to represent them. They have no business creating laws based on their personal opinions. This goes for all cases, not just this one.
We need our judges to follow the letter of the law in order for citizens to have faith and confidence in our court system. "A decision that wrongly upholds an unjust law sets a precedent that legislatures can use to go further down the wrong road, and gives a stamp of approval to an injustice that makes it more difficult to repeal." (5)
Too many judges are engaging in judicial activism and Americans' confidence in our Supreme Court is eroding. It is at an all-time low right now: "a drop of 32 points among conservatives and 21 points among moderates in recent years. And 41% find the Court increasingly hostile toward religion." (6)
This federal gay marriage law was passed unconstitutionally. Marriage issues and social change are best left to the people, the States and their elected officials. Each state should have had the authority to decide this for themselves. Not a handful of judges who make sweeping decisions for hundreds of millions of people based on their personal preferences.
No matter how much you agree with the ruling, just because you want a law to pass does not mean you violate the law of the land to ram it through. You have to do it through our legal processes, which were set up for good reasons to protect our liberties. Do it either through your state or through Congress, NOT THE JUDICIARY. This case was more about constitutional power than it was about marriage.
2. It is important to call things by their proper names. You should never change the definitions of words to fit your will or agenda. No one has the right to redefine "marriage" for everyone else. Come up with a new word.
Naming things matters. No one understood this better than Chinese philosopher and politician, Confucius. He "believed that social disorder often stemmed from failure to perceive, understand, and deal with reality. Fundamentally, then, social disorder can stem from the failure to call things by their proper names."(7)
Well we are definitely faced with a lot of social disorder from the gay marriage debate.
In the Analects, a collection of sayings attributed to Confucius, he stated, "If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success."
Our government and politicians know all too well the importance of names and have been known to falsely name things to mask their true nature and make them sound nice. The "Patriot" Act, The "Affordable Care" Act, the USA "Freedom" Act all come to mind.
In the debates regarding "gay marriage" there has been real misunderstanding between parties simply because people are using different definitions for the word "marriage".
If you're having a conversation with someone, commonly accepted terms are essential for effective communication. There has to be a universal standard for our language. But when people don't call things by their proper names and attempt to redefine an established word or institution to suit their purposes, it confuses people and common conversations.
This debate is a clear example where a seemingly simple word has different meanings between parties, causing tension and anger.
MARRIAGE (original definition) ~ The legal status, condition, or relationship that results from a contract by which one man and one woman, who have the capacity to enter into such an agreement, mutually promise to live together in the relationship of Husband and Wife in law, or by religious ceremony, for life, or until the legal termination of the relationship.
The institution of marriage has existed for thousands of years, before governments existed or America was even a thought. Variations of the definition, of course, exist but every original definition always has marriage between one man and one woman.
The definition of marriage is not the 'union of two people in love', or 'recognition of the bonds of attraction', or even 'commitment based on emotional companionship'.
I looked up the word marriage in dictionary.com, and the 'easy to change' website has already altered its definition to a politically correct version that includes every party under the sun. But when I looked up the definition in my old printed dictionary that can't be changed by a web developer in 2 seconds, the definition specifically states husband and wife. When I look it up in the oldest book that I own, the bible, it describes husband and wife.
To many people the term 'gay marriage' is like saying 'gay heterosexual'. They are two contradictory words being forced together. It doesn't make sense. In addition, because of the original meaning of marriage many believers of God view this statement as sacrilegious.
So gays and lesbians want to force a vast majority of people who have been using the established definition of the word "marriage" their whole lives to now redefine so it suits how they want it perceived.
You may think that the people who want to keep the original definition of 'marriage' are just being over-sensitive about the word and they should 'get over it.' I don't think so. Words are crucial in society.
Confucius said, "Social harmony is of utmost importance, without the proper rectification of names, society would essentially crumble and "undertakings [would] not [be] completed."
Even modern day author, Robert Kiyosaki, smartly said, "knowledge begins with words...words form our attitudes, and attitudes form our reality."
Words and their proper definitions matter.
Love has no gender differentiation. Commitment has no gender distinction. But marriage does have gender distinction in its definition.
When it comes to "marriage", everyone in America is free to "marry". If you're a man, you can marry a woman. If you're a woman, you can marry a man. Marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a long time institution and that's its definition.
If you're a man and you want to contractually commit to a man, that's great, but you need to come up with a word that defines that. "Marriage" is not that word. You can't take a word that already exists, that already has a meaning to it, and change it to your will.
If we don't respect a universal language and can redefine words at will, then we lose a fundamental ability to communicate with each other effectively. We lose the integrity of our language. What happens if we just decide to call "peace" war or "light" dark?
A new word should have been established to define the contractual union of two people of the same sex. I'm surprised gays and lesbians didn't want to come up with an original name to begin with. Perhaps a word like "dualimony" (two of the same sex in matrimony)? No disrespect, I've just made up a word for the purpose of this post. I, in no way, mean to degrade or make fun of anyone with my made up word.
Once a word that rightly defines the contractual union between same-sex relationships is established, and doesn't step on the toes of a word that already has an established meaning with people's sacred beliefs behind it, then appropriate conversation can be had for it.
For example, if it is dualimony, and you want the government to give people in dualimony state benefits, then fine. Fight for legislation for dualimony. But no one has the right to redefine "marriage" for everyone else.
Until we all accept what something really is, rather than what we want it to be, we will not have social harmony.
3. This was not a case about inequality. Gay people were not arbitrarily left out.
Equality before the law protects citizens from laws that treat them differently for no good reason. However, there was a real public purpose for the government's support of marriage (original marriage).
I generally believe that government has its hands in too many issues in Americans' lives. But it turns out there was a non-arbitrary reason for government's recognition of "marriage" and offering married people certain benefits. Gay people were not arbitrarily left out.
Government recognized "marriage" (man & woman) as an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Not even a man/man or woman/woman relationship. I'll get to it in a minute.
I'm told that this case was about gay people just wanting their love to be recognized. The Human Rights website states, "Many same-sex couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love—many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person—and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings."
Huh? So what. They could have done that without the federal government. The federal government doesn't recognize anyone's contractual unions because of their love. Not gay people. Not straight people.
"Government is not in the business of affirming our love. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Contrary to what some say, there [was] no ban on same-sex marriage. Nothing about it [was] illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex [could] choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits. There [was] nothing illegal about this."(8) Their love was recognized.
Love had nothing to do with this case. For thousands of years, people have been getting married with no marriage license or government recognition. Their love didn't go "unrecognized." You didn't have to 'register' as married or have a ceremony performed. You just made a promise to each other and God (if you wanted Him in it). It was then recognized.
Obergefell vs. Hodges was about same-sex couples wanting benefits that "married" couples have.
The argument is that it's only fair for them to have those benefits too, right? Maybe, but not when you realize why the government even gave a rat's ass about marriage in the first place and offered subsidies.
"Government recognizes marriage..[as] an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does."(9)
The benefit to society that "marriage" offers that no other relationship does is that it produces new human beings.
"Virtually every political community has regulated male–female sexual relationships. This is not because government cares about romance as such. Government recognizes male–female sexual relationships because these alone PRODUCE NEW HUMAN BEINGS. For highly dependent infants, there is no path to physical, moral, and cultural maturity—no path to personal responsibility—without a long and delicate process of ongoing care and supervision to which mothers and fathers bring unique gifts. Unless children mature, they never will become healthy, upright, productive members of society. Marriage exists to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children that they might have." (10)
The government does not care about our companionship, romances, love or anything to do with adult relationships. This is about children. This is about procreation and children being healthily raised in our society to become productive members.
All governments recognize the importance of a stable or growing birth rate. Europe, Singapore, Japan, and so many other countries who have had decades of declining birth rates are in real trouble. How does a country take care of their aging population when its birth rates are facing a dwindling workforce in the future decades?
Falling birth rates lowers an economy's capacity to grow which lowers living standards.
Government recognizes the need for children in society. On top of that, it knows the strengths and benefits of children being reared by both the mother and father whose union gave life to them. Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children, and that is why principle-based policy has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Even President Obama has said that "We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it."
Heritage.org says, "All human beings are equal in dignity and should be equal before the law. But equality only forbids arbitrary distinctions. And there is nothing arbitrary about maximizing the chances that children will know the love of their biological parents in a committed and exclusive bond. A strong marriage culture serves children, families and society by encouraging the ideal of giving kids both a mom and a dad."
If you want to make marriage just about honoring love, and not procreation, then there is no good reason for government to be in the business of marriage anymore. Government should stop giving entitlements and subsidies to people just because they are "in love."
If we want to make marriage not about children, but just the recognition of a loving commitment and nothing else, then there is no reason for government to be in the business of marriage.
Government recognized marriage to incentivize a growing birth rate, not to incentivize falling in love.
If marriage no longer leads to a benefit for society - children and mothers and fathers staying together for them, then "entitlements" and "subsidies" for marriage should be abolished altogether. The whole point of incentivizing mothers and fathers to commit to each other to procreate and raise children healthily into productive members of society is gone.
We don't need to incentivize people to fall in love. That doesn't economically help our society. Government has no business creating subsidies and entitlements to "recognize our love".
In 2009, author and journalist Naomi Wolf wrote about getting the state out of marriage in The Times:
Let's also get the state out of the marriage union. In spite of the dress and the flowers, marriage is a business contract. Women, generally, don't understand this, until it hits them over the head upon divorce. Let's take a lead from our gay and lesbian friends, who, without state marriage, often create domestic partnerships with financial autonomy and unity spelt out. A heterosexual parallel: celebrate marriage with a religious or emotional ceremony — leave the state out of it — and create a business- or domestic-partner contract aligning the couple legally.
If we took government out of the business of marriage at least "that would bring liberty to ALL parties, and bring us closer to the ideals of freedom envisioned in the Constitution. It certainly beats having the imperious hand of government forcing religious communities and individuals to participate in government-defined celebrations of love under threat of official punitive sanctions for resisting." (11)
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- Napolitano, Andrew P. "Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2010) p.35
- Napolitano, Andrew P. "Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2010) p.36
- Napolitano, Andrew P. "Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2010) p.37