04 January 2008|
Why homosexuality may be unpopular but gay marriage is still a fundamental right
By M. Harrison
Many rational heterosexuals are repulsed by homosexuality. Often, this is not an artifact of their bigotry or hatred - it is a reflection of natural sexual preferences. Ask many gay men what they think of the sexual allure of the female and you'll observe a cognitive repulsion identical to the one previously mentioned.
But these realities only mean that homosexuality will not soon receive widespread acceptance as a legitimate sexual orientation in the minds of many. But fortunately for the humanists, the United States Constitution does not require a behavior to do so for it to be permissible under law. A free society is not only one that allows behavior that benefits everyone - it also allows behavior that benefits only the people engaging in it. This right to privacy is the essence of freedom as an American.
The latest fashion in American authoritarianism is to ban gay marriage, specifically through a Constitutional amendment preventing any interpretation of the Constitution to be applied to legalize gay marriage, either at the national or state level. This legislation is foolish and anti-American for several reasons.
First, a generally good barometer for the Constitutionality of a proposed amendment is whether or not existing amendments (specifically those in that group called the Bill of Rights) contradict the proposal. In the case of America's current lust for gay marriage bans, one only needs to travel down to the Tenth Amendment to find the best argument against the prospective amendment.
"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."
Neither the definition of marriage, nor any other concern of love, sex and relationships, are granted to the United States Congress by the Constitution. And the Tenth Amendment, despite the desire of putatively patriotic conservatives to ignore it, rather unequivocally reserves the decision-making to the states and the people.
The amendment not only assumes federal constitutional authority that doesn't exist (regulating who may and may not marry), but it also denies the states authority they actually have under the Constitution. In other words, this is a Constitutional amendment that blatantly violates Constitutional law - twice.
The conservative responds: OK, maybe you have a point about that pesky Constitution. But despite such high fallutin' talk of freedom and liberty, isn't the institution of marriage worth defending at all costs?
The answer is No. First, the duty of preserving social institutions falls to society - not the state. Second, the preservation thereof should begin with repairing the existing damage resulting fromalready legal activity - divorce, adultery, and weak relationships. The present-day institution of marriage is hardly a spotless specimen facing only one threat. It is in shambles - and it got there by the behavior of heterosexuals. Third, marriage was a spiritual covenant between two people far prior to its absorption into a societal more, thus leaving the ultimate authority of its definition to the couple, not the masses.
No one needs to like homosexuality to defend the rights of those who practice it. We ask for the full legality of any union in which two independent adults desire to manifest their relationship.
The above work is the opinion of The Prometheus Institute.