Sunday, January 19, 2014

Redefining Equality

This is the fourth post in a series on marriage.

Here are some of the latest developments in the fight over marriage:
  • A judge put a halt on same-sex “marriages” in Utah, but the U.S. Attorney General has said that the federal government will recognize marriages that have already occurred during the brief time that they were allowed in the state.
  • Indiana legislators are pushing a state constitutional amendment to formally define marriage as between one man and one woman.
  • A Federal court has ruled Oklahoma’s state amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman as unconstitutional. But at least the judge had the sense to put a hold on gay “marriages” until the state has a chance to appeal.
The primary weapon the pro-gay alliance has been using to push their distorted version of “marriage” is the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection clause,” which states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

At first blush, it may look like “inequality” to allow only heterosexuals to marry. However, the word “equality” is pretty overloaded, and its meaning outside of mathematics is highly subjective.

Consider, for instance, the Declaration of Independence, which begins with the famous phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….” When Thomas Jefferson penned these words, the application of the word “equal” was quite different from ours. Slavery, for instance, was heavily practiced in the New World. If white people really thought that God created them "equal" with black Africans, then how could they live with a practice that left them with no rights and barely a shred of humanity?

Fast-forward a century. Slavery was finally illegal in the entire U.S., and the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution. The main purpose of the “equal protection clause” (found in Section 1) was to guarantee that all former slaves had “the same rights” as all free men. But in practice, it tolerated racial segregation in the South, and the use of the generic term "persons" did nothing for women’s right to vote.

So what about so-called “marriage equality”? Some will say that we already have that: everyone is free to marry whomever they like, as long as they are the opposite gender. But that's not the only typical exclusion. Most states impose restrictions based on age, familial relationship, current marital status, and even genetic incompatibility. The “gay rights movement” wants to expand the definition of marriage by removing only the gender requirement, but that will not result in true “marriage equality?”

Since gays cannot have their own children, for example, “incest” doesn’t really apply to them. Will states want to allow a gay man to “marry” his son, but not his daughter? Is that “more equality” or “less equality?” And what about the other restrictions? Is it not hypocritical for the gays to demand "equality," while leaving all the others in place? Unless all of those restrictions are lifted, rendering marriage virtually meaningless, certain people still will not be able to marry whomever they want.

The simple fact is that traditional marriage laws are already “equal,” because the same restrictions apply to everyone equally. The fact that a very small percentage of the population doesn’t like them the way they are is a totally separate issue. The use of the "equal protection clause" is merely legal wrangling to achieve an unrelated (and immoral) goal. I just hope there will be enough Supreme Court justices with enough sense to see it.

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