By Teresa Welsh |
The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn Proposition 8. In addition to being a matter of fairness for all Americans, access to civil marriage rights, protections, and responsibilities are a right to which same-sex couples should have access under the Constitution of the United States of America.
Excluding same sex couples from being able to enter into civil marriage partnerships goes against the core constitutional rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness that are the very promise of America. Starting in 1888 with its Maynard v. Hill decision and 13 times since, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that marriage is a "fundamental right" that should be accessible to all.
Preventing committed same sex couples from entering into civil marriage partnerships is a violation of the rights guaranteed to all under the constitution, and allowing same sex civil marriage in no way encroaches upon the constitutional rights of others. Same sex civil marriage is no threat to religious liberty, and no religious institution in California would be forced to perform the sacrament of holy matrimony should they not wish to do so. It has been nearly a decade since the state of Massachusetts allowed same sex civil marriage, and in the time since eight states and the District of Columbia have allowed gay citizens to marry. In all of that time, no church has been compelled to perform a same sex marriage. Not one.
Some may proffer that there is no mention of same sex marriage in the Constitution, and there is therefore no constitutional basis for same sex marriage. This thinking is wrong. There is no mention of interracial marriage in the U.S. Constitution, either. There is indeed no mention of marriage in the constitution at all. But there is a 14th Amendment that guarantees equal treatment for all in the eyes of the government, and denying committed same sex couples access to civil marriage is a violation of that amendment and a betrayal of the guarantee of liberty that makes the United States the greatest nation in the world.
Others will state that a ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8 would, by extension, overturn the will of the people of California who voted in favor of Proposition 8 in 2008. But civil rights should never be left to the proclivities of popular sentiment; indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court exists to ensure that the rights of the few are protected from the whims of the many.
This is not a matter of procreation. This is not a matter of sex. This is a matter of freedom. Overturning Proposition 8 would be an affirmation of individual liberty that underscores the freedom of association that is the right of every American.
About Gregory T. Angelo Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans
Evan Wolfson Founder and President of Freedom to Marry
Adam Umhoefer Executive Director at the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
Stacey Long Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Ilya Shapiro Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute
John C. Eastman Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage