“Marriage Equality,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
One of the hot button topics of discussion was the issue of same sex marriage or marriage between homosexuals.
The United States Supreme Court has resolved the issue in favor of ruling on the legality of same sex marriage and I am fully prepared and do obey the law in this respect. Let me note that certain religious groups such as the Orthodox Jews, the Islamic community the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox church, and certain conservative Protestant Christian denominations, reject on a moral basis or religious/ethical basis, the concept of same sex marriage.
This essay does not touch upon this religious issue. The present issue is whether in the political/social system same sex marriage should have been made legal. For some hundreds of years, marriage has been seem as the union between men and women to establish homes and families, to provide an environment for bringing children into the world which will bring them into society equipped to function, and also to hand down property to the next generation. Marriage has also been seen as a method or means of protecting women and children from the possibility of abuse. When women were economically dependent, they were provided shelter and the means for survival by the breadwinner husband. The issue today was and has been defined as marriage equality. The meaning and implication in this terminology is that other forms of marriage other than heterosexual marriage involve some sort of constitutional entitlement or right. This, in my view, is a mistake, a misapprehension, and has the wrong meaning. I do not tackle here whether same sex marriage is a good thing, whether there should be laws against it, or whether the law should permit it and encourage it. In this essay, I do not touch upon those particular issues since the issue has been legally resolved and decided by the nation’s highest court.
Marriage in the United States and other countries has not been regulated by the national government and certainly has no connection with the United States Constitution or the Bill of Rights, or the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the United States Constitution. In the United States, marriage has been regulated and established by the state and local governments, whether cities or counties. Like education in the United States, marriage and education have been left to the individual states and localities to be established and regulated. Therefore, the idea behind the phrase ‘marriage equality’ is a misnomer.
In the United States, the word equality is constantly spoken of, bandied about, and made a societal goal in the social system. It is certainly a good thing that in the political system that in the one-man one-vote system, there is equality. It is also a good thing that there is a classless system or social equality in the United States. Most certainly, there is a spiritual equality attached to all men and women as individuals before god. Of course, people are not all equal in their talents and abilities.
The point I take here is that to use the term marriage equality with respect and to legally justify same sex marriage is an attempt to invest some sort of constitutional right or protection to same sex marriage. Since the constitution and the idea of equality have no connection with same sex marriage, the use of the term marriage equality is somewhat puzzling and misleading.
That group or those individuals who believe in same sex marriage in the civil society and political system certainly have the right to have and promote their views in this respect. However, the term ‘equality’ attached to the marriage relationship raises the idea that marriage involves some sort or form of constitutional protection or right in this particular situation.
In short, I do not believe that the United States Constitution or the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution have anything to do with marriage, same sex marriage, or so-called marriage equality. I disagree with those who use the term ‘equal’ with respect to every activity or relationship in our society, including marriage.
I end by saying, however, that marriage has been for a long time a matter of state and local regulation and, furthermore, the Constitution of this country with its goal of affording equal treatment under the law for all its citizens has nothing to do with this issue. It is not a matter of equality under our constitutional system but whether marriage in this form should be allowed and regulated by the states and localities as marriage always has been and presently is.