Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Legal Perspective on Prop 8?

In a previous blog post, I mentioned how I thought our attitudes, as Christians, should be oriented regarding the issue of gay marriage - through the perspective of the Bible.

The more I discussed this with other people though, and the more I thought about it, the more I began thinking that there is ground to stand on not only from a moral/Biblical perspective, but also from a legal perspective.  And here's why:

The biggest defense in favor of  eliminating Proposition 8 is based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which states that
"no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

But how, exactly, are homosexuals currently denied equal protection?  They have the exact same right as you and me - to marry someone of the same gender.  The laws of marriage as it is currently defined are not being applied differently to them because of their sexual orientation.  Instead, what they are really trying to change is not who the law applies to (or doesn't apply to), but how the law defines marriage.

So the issue is not whether they are being denied the same rights as others, but of wanting new rights to be added that pertain specifically to them.  So what gay people want is really equality based not on gender, or on race, but based on their sexual preferences.

I had to think for a while to come up with any similar moral/legal dilemmas that could parallel that of gay marriage.  Some that came to mind are prostitution, marrying within family (siblings, cousins, parents, etc).  But I think the best example to use is polygamy.  Because not only is it a moral uncertainty, but it would also require an effort to redefine marriage to suit a minority of people.  Even if all parties that wish to participate are adults and are in complete agreement, for some reason we choose to keep it illegal.  Is it only because advocates of this "lifestyle" aren't vocal enough, or because there aren't a large enough quantity of them to provide the political pressure?  Or because long-term menage-a-trois aren't ingrained enough in our culture to be considered "normal" yet?
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