Proposition 8 and the Constitution

The issue with Proposition 8 in California is a difficult one for me.  It is one of those rare times when I have to make sure my reason and emotions stay locked in separate cupboards and unable to communicate with one-another.  See, I fully support gay marriage AND proposition 8.  Confused, I sure am.  Let me explain.  While I deeply sympathize with the couples in this article, I have to say that their case is invalid.  They are arguing before the California Supreme Court that the Constitution of the United States does not allow for a state to bar marriage rights for a gay couple.

Well, I hate to burst the bubble, but the Constitution does do exactly that and it doesn’t take any fancy wording or legal-ese to understand that.  You see, article ten states that any power not dictated to the federal government within the Constitution’s confines automatically becomes an issue solely for the state governments to handle.  The founding fathers wanted to make the powers of the federal government very clearly defined so that they wouldn’t become too powerful (you know, like they are now).  Now, nowhere in the Constitution of the United States does it say ANTYHING about the institution of marriage.  According to our nation’s founding document, the issue of marriage is one that the federal government shouldn’t be able to touch at all.  It is a state issue alone and states are free to have different rules and regulations about it.

I’m sure some of you are crying foul on me right now because the Constitution DOES bar states from infringing on the rights of individuals.  While that’s true, there is one very important fact that you are forgetting.

There is no such thing as a marriage right.

No one has the “right” to marry in the United States; seriously, not a soul; not straight people, not gay people, not anyone.  Why—because marriage is a privilege, not a right.   The rights we have as citizens are clearly outlined in the Bill of Rights.  They include things like free speech, freedom to keep and bear arms and freedom from undo search and seizure among others.  There is nothing in our rights list about marriage.  Being able to have a union civilly recognized is a privilege the same as being a driver (anything that requires a license isn’t a right).  I always love seeing pro-gay banners that read “WHEN DO WE GET TO VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE?!”  You might be interested to learn that such a scenario is entirely possible.  If a state’s population wanted to they could actually vote away all marriage in their state!  Did you know that?!  If the idea is popular enough to get voted on it can pass and a state could actually ban straight marriage.  Again, it’s not a right and the federal government has no say in it so the final word goes to the group that the Constitution gives the most power to, the American people themselves.

Proposition 8 is perfectly legal and constitutionally sound.  As much as it pains me to say it, these couples should not have this case heard and any judge that sides with them should have his/her seat taken from them.  If you want to repeal Proposition 8 (and I’m all for that!) you MUST take it BACK to the voters!  That is the only fair way for this to happen.

Sonya Sotomayor received a great deal of backlash during her hearing process to become a Supreme Court judge by stating that she wished to bring empathy to the court room.  Well, such an emotion has no place in the world of law.  The law is written and no one is above it for any reason.  As much as I want to empathize with these couples (and believe me, I do!) I cannot back their case.  If they want to take Proposition 8 back to the people for another vote they have my full support, but these people need to learn what the Constitution actually says before they go whining to the courts.  I’m sorry, but that’s the reality.

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