Love. It’s one of life’s most difficult endeavors. To find love with someone who loves you back in a healthy and committed manner is one of life’s cruel pursuits. But it’s February, so we are all obsessed with participating in or ignoring Valentine’s Day. As heterosexual couples get married on February 14th, we should remember that a segment of our society can’t enjoy the same rights. This discussion isn’t about religion or romantic sentiment. Instead, we’ll examine this unfocused subject through a different lens—the law. It could be that the law is a high resolution mirror that clarifies the issues. What’s often too easily dismissed in the gay marriage debate is that marriage is a secular legal contract. It’s all of the religious and romantic stuff also, but every marriage is, at its core and from its inception, a legal construct.
There are a host of legal reasons why gay marriage should be included in the law of the land. The Declaration of Independence talks about “inalienable rights” and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But since the Declaration of Independence isn’t a binding document, we’ll look further. How about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution? Government must treat us all equally under the law. I won’t spend many words on a Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage, such an amendment does us all a disservice. Even the Supreme Court has evolved away from its previous bigoted, intrusive perspectives on the legal rights of gays in America.
we are all obsessed with participating in or ignoring Valentine’s Day
American history is filled with times when we begin to change society’s reflection—how we look at ourselves—with the law. The law led the way for it to be less acceptable to discriminate against African-Americans, women and the disabled, among others.
But marriage is a lagging indicator of social progress in America. Just 42 years ago, the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in the United States in the Loving v. Virginia decision. If we continue to deny any citizen the right to civil marriage, then we’ll shatter justice in America. We must examine ourselves in the mirror we hold up to our society. Let’s make sure that our treatment of gay marriage reflects the ideal America.