Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Marriage Equality

For those of you who like numbers, my last post was the 250th of this blog.  Congrats to me??

After the historic Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, I sent letters to two local newspapers.  Neither was published so I thought I would include the longer version in this post.

To the Editor:

This past Sunday, I was fortunate enough to read a pro and con opinion article in regards to the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.  I generally attempt to read both sides of an issue, when possible, as I believe it is important to read (or listen to) those with a different perspective on an issue.  This is especially true when considering the proliferation of extreme positions that seems to pass for rational discussion in today's media. 

In this particular instance, the person representing the negative perception regarding the gay marriage decision, Mr John Yoo, makes a salient point about the give and take between our three branches of government.  He emphasizes the desirability that big changes be made law through the voting booth, either directly by state referendum or in Congress through direct representation.  He rightfully states that decisions made in our courts should have a legal basis, not be founded on popular opinion or religious background.  Yoo's disagreement seems based on the fact that not all states have legalized gay marriage and that the current GOP controlled House of Representatives, an elected body, does not support this change.  He calls it a short circuiting of the political process.  Oddly, he does not reference the religious background of the four dissenting Supreme Court justices, nor the religion based opposition to gay marriage in his article. 

Did our founders not wish a separation between church and state?  It seems to me that laws preventing gay marriage are not based on legal reasons, but on social mores and religious teachings.  In this case, I would argue that a decision concerning an issue such as this is precisely the type of debate that should occur at the highest levels of the judicial system, so that the law, period, is considered, not reasons based on emotion and prejudice.

Noah Feldman, the person agreeing with the decision, states it very clear.  There is a guarantee for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness imbedded in our system of laws, and denying an American the option to marry the person he/she loves, runs contrary to that great principle.  When Feldman compares this decision with the high court's decision to rule against laws that prevented interracial marriage, it becomes a slam dunk. 

Hopefully, just as the sentiment against marriage between the races has evolved, so to the discriminatory bias against marriage between genders will fade, and those who purport to be defenders of God's view of marriage, will eventually embrace the spirit of their religion that emphasizes love above all else.

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