Response to Sunday Editorial: Anti-gay amendments violate constitutional rights
This past Sunday in the in the Charleston Gazette, there was an editorial published in the Perspective section by Rachel Dash titled “Anti-gay amendments violate constitutional rights.” The premise of Rachel’s piece is that Propositional 8 – and other State Constitutional Amendments defining marriage between one man and one woman – is unconstitutional. In the opening paragraph Rachel shared:
On Nov. 4, Americans in several states voted to change their state constitutions to legalize discrimination against citizens based on their sexual orientation
Same-sex couples in most states don’t have that choice because their right to marry has been violated by the unconstitutional blurring of church and state.
Rachel, and I presume countless others, are worried and frightened by these amendments because they are “patriotic Americans who cherish true democracy,” as if those who voted in favor of the constitutional amendments are not.
Continuing along in my unpatriotic and democratic diatribes, I do not agree with Rachel that discrimination was legally instituted based upon one’s sexual orientation, or better yet, their sexual behavior. A person’s behavior does not determine a person’s civil rights. Civil rights are rooted within our humanity as people; rather we are white, black, men, or women. Besides, the institution of marriage is not a civil right guaranteed in our Constitution and is an institution that is limited in other areas apart from a person’s sexual behavior, such as being unmarried, being of age, and marrying beyond the bounds of close kinship (see Settling the Issue: Same-Sex Marriage IS NOT a Civil Right).
The institution of marriage is like many other actions that should be limited by law, for it affects the lives of others and is not confined to the “privacy of a person’s life.” The wellbeing of marriage determines the wellbeing of families, neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, and countries (see Marriage is Foundational for the Well-Being of Society).
Since the institution of marriage is more than a private relationship between two people and positively or negatively impacts every sphere of public life and society, then governments should not attempt to redefine its historical and natural meaning, as established by God. Instead, the government should enact policies that endorse and support it. These policies are not to be determined by a majority vote alone, but are to be rooted in the external transcendent Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.
What concerns me most about people like Rachel who adhere to the false belief that political discourse can be completely neutral and secular is their unconstitutional position of limiting free speech, particularly among those of a religious persuasion.
The first amendment that Rachel loosely alludes to throughout her piece has nothing to do with excluding religion or God from political discourse. Our Democratic Republic is one that does not discriminate against anyone within political discourse. Our government has been formed in such a way that allows for secular humanists, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, etc…, to have equal access and participation throughout the process.
So why is it considered wrong for people to vote according to their religious beliefs that are not rooted in mans self autonomy, but are grounded in an external transcendent law?
How does anyone voting according to their religious beliefs breach the first amendment, while those who adhere to secular humanism do not?
How were the spheres of governmental and church authority blurred during this time? If anything, the federal government is moving closer to breaching the separation of church and state by acting apart from the authority of God and the Constitution.
How did people who practice another religion apart from secular humanism violate the constitution by voting their convictions on amending the institution of marriage? Did not those who opposed the amendments vote according to their convictions as well? Are their convictions sufficient since they are not rooted in an external transcendent law, but in their own personal morality?
In the end, people who do not adhere to secular humanism should not be silenced or forbidden from participating in our Democratic Republic according to the dictates of their conscious as informed by their religion. And those who do should respect the outcome of fair and open elections.