Friday, May 11, 2012

MARRIAGE, CIVIL UNIONS AND THE CONSTITUTION

This is a volatile subject that this country needs to address.  I am not going to hide where I stand on the issue, rather I want to be up front about where I stand before diving into the subject.  I stand for the right of any two people to be joined in a partnership that gives everyone equal access to the law no matter what the sexual preference of the couple may be.  I do not go as far as approving of plural partnerships or partnerships with other species.  That opens up a whole new can of worms, so to speak.  Okay, needed to get that set out front so that the reader can read my blog from their own perspective knowing where I am coming from.

The way that I understand it,  my LGBT friends desire the approval of lawful same sex marriages, which give them all of the rights that a straight couple being married has.  I, personally, can understand that argument and I think it is the way that this country should hold to from a governmental stand point.  It is not my business who is in love with who and who one wants to marry.  I don't want to be told what I can or can not do in my own house and who I can live with and share my life with as well as my assets.  I don't want to have my wife barred from my hospital room because we are not blood relatives nor do I want my parents to be able to demand that my wife be barred from my hospital room for the same reason.

The problem as I see it is one of semantics.  There are two different words that can state a couple's state of partnership.  One is for the straights and one seems to be for the gays.  Right there you have a problem.  Marriage vs Civil Unions.  Straights get married while gays, in very few states, can get a civil union.  If this country were to do as it says it is set up to do, there would not be two words for the same act.  Everyone should be married or have a civil union.

I have given this a lot of thought, and I know that a lot of my friends both in and outside the church will disagree with me on this.  I think "marriage" is unconstitutional based on the first amendment.  The first amendment to our constitution reads as such :

 "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Okay the first thing that stands out is the fact that "separation of Church and State is not mentioned in either of the clauses in the amendment.  I have studied cases from the Supreme Court  of this country and listened to a lot of arguments concerning the different amendments.   The one thing that all of the amendments have in common is that they are very broad and do not have a limiting scope.  I feel that the amendments were structured loosely so that each state can mold the law into how a particular states requirements are.  In this case, the amendment prohibits the government from making a law that establishes a religion that is seen as the official religion of the government.  It also bars the government from allowing people to practice their own chosen religion."  In other words, the state can not force a religion on us and the state can not keep us from practicing the religion we choose to.

So why do I bring up the first amendment?  I bring it up because of the standard definition of what marriage is understood to be.  I used several references for a definition and they all pretty much said the same thing giving Marriage a definition as such:


"the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision  to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage )" 

The way I see it is that anytime a member of the clergy is permitted to sign his name to a government issued license or document in the course of being a member of the clergy and the government accepts the signature of the clergy as a lawful representative of the government, then it violates the first amendment.  While the government is not saying that the religion that the member of the clergy is a national religion, the government by accepting the clergy's signature puts it's stamp of acknowledgement that the particular religion is recognized by the state.  That is my own personal take on it.  To clarify, I simply believe that no member of the clergy should be allowed to sign a state document while acting as a clergy because that makes the clergy a Representative of the state.  Ergo, any marriage whose Marriage license has a member of the clergy's signature attached to it is un-constitutional per the first amendment. 

Meanwhile the definition of a Civil Union is just as discriminatory: 

"a relationship between a same-sex couple that is legally recognized by a state authority and has the rights and responsibilities of marriage." ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/civil+union?s=t ) 

A civil union is a new concept that started making it's way around the LGBT community in the early nineties.  What this definition means is that a civil union is the same thing as a marriage except not between a man and a woman.   This is pretty self explanatory I think.  Simply put, any relationship that does not fit the legal definition of marriage should receive a Civil union which carries all of the same legal rights as a marriage but just using a different word.  Also, notice the lack of "religious ceremony" in the definition and yet it is not recognized by law in the vast majority of states. 

Okay, so here is my point.  The LGBT community wants to legalize same sex marriages.  Why?  Because everyone else in the country can be married with all the lawful rights that go along with it.  If everyone else can have a marriage, then they should be as well to keep things equal.  The definition of marriage, however, states that it is between a man and a woman and can be performed by a religion representing the state.   In my thinking, and I am not a lawyer by a long shot, neither am I close to being a member of the clergy, we have got it backwards.  Marriage should be written off the books because, in essence, it violates the first amendment.  

In place of "marriage" the law should be changed to allow Civil Unions instead.  Civil unions for EVERYONE.  Everyone should get a civil union certificate from the state that is signed by official representatives of the state.  All civil unions should carry the same benefits of the law no matter who is getting a civil union.

There is a place for traditional marriage though.  There is still the religious ceremony that can be carried out to publicly display the act of entering into a lawful relationship.  A minister can perform the ceremony and the couple can be recognized within their religious community as being married.  The state, however, will recognize the couple as having a civil union.

If this country does believe in the fact that all are created equal and all of it's citizens are afforded the same protection of the law, then there should not be two different words or definitions for the same action based on what a couple believes in.  We should all be allowed to the same rights as a legally sanctioned couple under the same basic law and that law, as I see it is that of Civil Unions.

So there it is.  A lot of people will not agree with me.  I may even be shunned by some people.  Barred from a church?  It is possible.  I have seen that happen before.  But you know what?  That's okay.  Like I said, I am not a lawyer or a member of the clergy.  I am a Christian though and have been practically my whole life and yes there are many in my Christian family who don't agree with me on this topic.  I respect their viewpoints, but I don't have to agree that their viewpoint is correct.

I am just writing what I think is right.

2 comments:

  1. I know you wrote this last May and shame on me for just now reading. I TOTALLY agree with your "way of thinking". I enjoyed this read very much, Bill.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know you wrote this last May and shame on me for just now reading. I TOTALLY agree with your "way of thinking". I enjoyed this read very much, Bill.

    ReplyDelete