Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gay Marriage: Civil Rights Issue?

This past Sunday on Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden stated, "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I  don't see much of a distinction beyond that." The statement lead to a series of walk backs by the White House and a few steps forward by other's in the administration over the past few days. Monday morning on Morning Joe, Education Secretary Arne Duncan in response to a question of supporting gay marriage said, "Yes, I do."

Today, North Carolina will be voting to define marriage as being between a man and a woman while later this year Minnesota will be doing the same. Many argue that creating this definition violates the GLBT communities civil rights. Civil Rights, as I understand it, pertains to the fact that no one may be discriminated based on race,creed or gender. That being said, being gay is a lifestyle and doesn't fall under that protection. Some will argue that the advent of Hate Crime legislation has added lifestyle to the Civil Rights list of protective areas.

What is being missed here is a larger argument and one I am a bit shocked that our Constitutional scholars have not explored further. Our Constitution is pretty clear on the separation of Church and State and Congress shall not pass any laws abridging the freedom to worship at the altar of any God. Those that seek to define marriage as being between one man and one woman do so under the shroud of religion.

If marriage is steeped in religious inception then to define it violates the separation of Church and State clause of the United States Constitution does it not? Instead of trying to use government to force a belief onto others why are we not working to strip away the layers of marriage embedded in our laws, regulations and all aspects of government intervention? Marriage is a choice that people make in the privacy of their dogma and that is where it should remain. I don't need an amendment to believe what marriage is nor do I need my public schools telling my children what marriage is.

Why is there not more discussion surrounding the removal of government from the equation of marriage and leaving marriage to the dogma's of the world?