1. .Defining marriage does not help the family. Rather, it may harm families.
The argument is commonly made that defining marriage between one man and one woman will keep families intact. “One man and one woman raising children together is fundamental to the American way of life. The family unit, a basic social institution, must function this way to properly rear the next generation of citizens.” I do not seek to prove or disprove this claim. I must wonder, though, the proposed amendment before us relates to the claim. How does defining marriage promote healthy relationships between heterosexuals? How does it promote safe, responsible child-rearing practices? Defining marriage is not an incentive to heterosexual couples to provide stable, loving homes for children. Rather, it seems to prevent some from providing such homes who may otherwise do so. This reminds me of an old Virginia marriage law that prevented White people from marrying any other race. Virginia claimed this preserved racial integrity. However, the law only restricted White marriage. It did not say that marriage between a Black person and an Asian person was restricted. In effect, the law was about preserving White racial integrity rather than racial integrity in general. The plain language of the law was betrayed by it’s agenda.
Existing same-sex couples with children will be unable to unify their families under the term marriage. This will prevent couples from accessing the 1,000+ benefits of a federally recognized marriage. For example, if two unmarried women raise a child together and one of those women should pass away unexpectedly, the other has no legal right to the custody of the child. Read about other benefits here or here. I also imagine some harm would come when children must learn the reason that their parents are unable to become married, that their relationship is not recognized nor offered the same validity as opposite-sex couples.
2. Tradition is never eternal and should always be questioned.
To some, I believe it seems logical to legislate this type of marriage definition. After all, we’ve been doing it this way for an awful long time, right? I do not believe that tradition deserves the status of law. History does not always point us in the proper direction nor give us the best advice, but since tradition is grounded in history, it makes sense to take a look at the history of marriage. Marriage began as a power relationship, as a way to unite kingdoms. It had little to do with attraction or love. Rather, marriage was a tool of elites that forced their children to come together. Long story short: princess marries prince, daddy gets a bigger kingdom, more laborers, more taxes, etc. Parents decided and agreed on their children’s spouses. The lower classes were often prevented from marrying. Then, a few centuries ago, people began marrying for that mystical enchantment known as love. Even then, though, marriage was structured a certain way. The husband has duties that involve A, B, and C. The wife was expected to do X, Y, and Z. Anything the wife owned became property of her husband. Wives relinquished legal standing as well. Husbands could not be charged with rape. Marriage was 100% patriarchal More recently, marriage has become a partnership of two free individuals who can organize their relationship as they choose. We’ve got joint checking accounts, husband and wife can vote (differently, if they choose), and women are legally recognized and thereby protected. My point here is that the tradition behind marriage has spent its existence slowly shifting forms. To write into law one particular form seems quite temporary and, today, discriminatory.
3. Marriage is a right and excluding some from that right is illegal without due process.
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that marriage is a legal right. To deny some that right without due process of law violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The 14th Amendment reads, “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.” In my view, defining marriage as between one man and one woman is a neutral way to define marriage in a way that excludes same-sex couples. Those couples, being entitled to the right of marriage in the same way all Americans are, have been stripped of their right without any legal process or review. I believe this to be illegal.
Frederick Douglass makes another point quite clear” ”This struggle may be a moral one, it may be a physical one, or it may be both, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.”
VOTE NO NOVEMBER 6TH.