Federalism, states’ rights, and gay marriage
Gay marriage. It’s been in the news a lot lately. Who’s for it and who’s against. Politicians taking sides. Vice President Biden saying a few days ago that he’s “comfortable” with it and reporting that Pres. Obama’s view was “evolving.” North Carolina passing Amendment One banning gay marriage and any civil union other than a marriage between one man and one woman. Gov. Mitt Romney stating he’s against it and supporting a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. (Hmm, amend the Constitution to take away someone’s equal rights? How does that work?)
With the North Carolina vote looming, and in the wake of the anti-gay rant by Pastor Sean Harris, there was this from another NC pastor:
He’s got a point; it is a matter of equal rights, isn’t it?
Then today Pres. Obama suddenly announced he supports same-sex marriage. We may never know if, barring Biden’s comments, he would have made such an announcement. It’s a political gamble in this election year, with polls saying the American public is just about equally divided on the issue but state laws weighing heavily against it.
It’s enough to make one think again about federalism and states’ rights and whether the states should continue to have the right to legislate against gay marriage. Watching the video of Rev. Barber, one has to think that if banning gay marriage is indeed a denial of equal rights per the Constitution, then federal law should overrule state law, much as Roe v. Wade overruled state prohibitions on abortion, and enforce the constitutional equal rights of all U.S. citizens.
It could be argued that one’s personal feelings on this issue probably determine one’s opinion about federal vs. state authority in this matter. If you’re opposed to same-sex marriage, you probably want your state to legislate against it. Perhaps the most neutral position would be to make it a matter of personal choice, with no one having the right to block, ban, or declare illegal someone else’s personal choice in the matter. Like abortion, make it legal and let people choose for themselves.
Laws like the one passed in North Carolina are hateful and vindictive. Gay marriage does not in any way affect, diminish, or interfere with the marriage of heterosexual couples in NC; passing a law against it is an expression of hate, intolerance, and vindictiveness — a way to deny something to someone else for no better reason than that you don’t like it. Like abortion, the same-sex marriage issue is simple: if you don’t like it, don’t have one.
- Obama ‘disappointed’ with NC ban on gay marriage (kansascity.com)
- North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approve ban on gay marriage… (catholicculture.org)
- North Carolina Moves Backward With Gay Marriage Ban (sfist.com)
- 5/8 – Biden ‘comfortable’ with gay marriage rights (boston.com)
- President Barack Obama voices his support for gay marriage (newsok.com)
- By Doing Squat, Obama Helped NC Gay-Marriage Ban (newser.com)
- Poll: Americans Split on Gay Marriage (myfoxdc.com)