View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gay marriage vote correct

The failure by the U.S. Senate to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was expected.

It was a cheap political ploy anyway.

Now, I oppose gay marriage on moral grounds.

But as a student and teacher of history, and a respecter of the U.S. Constitution (a strict constructionist?), I think they made the right legal decision.

The Constitution clearly spells out that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" (10th Amendment).

One of those powers is the regulation of marriage.

Thus the issue of gay marriage is a state issue, not a federal one.

The only ways the feds should intervene in a state matter is when the courts (and ultimately, the Supreme Court) decide that a particular state's marriage regulations violate the Constitution in some way, such as old laws prohibiting interracial marriage, or if they determine that a particular practice is a threat to the nation in some way.

To be realistic, given it's track record of two centuries, rather than supporting prohibitions on gay marriage, it is more plausible that the Court could someday determine that prohibiting gay marriage is unconstitutional.

As for being a threat to the nation, we are already pretty morally corrupt when it comes to issues of sexuality and marriage, so I think it's difficult make the argument that banning gay marriage is vital to our wellbeing at this point. Indeed, I wonder how many of our good senators would pass the morality sniff test when it comes to their own sexual activites and respect for marriage vows.

So I think that based on the Constitution and two centuries of practice, the Senate was right to vote as it did.

This particular part of the cultural war needs to be fought on the state level.

Unless they want to change the Constitution to remove the power to regulate marriage from the states.

That would be an interesting fight.


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