I generally try to stay away from politically charged articles on my website, but given today’s ruling by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, I thought I would add my two cents to the pot.
First, I would like to say, if someone is Christian and disagrees with gay marriage, then that does not make them a homophobic, hate-filled bigot. They believe as they do because of their faith in God. To generalize and label these people in a negative fashion, because of ignorant stereotypes, ends up becoming its own brand of hate. Unfortunately, there are those who fuel this stereotype more than others. Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind, but they are nothing more than a family of lawyers masquerading as Christians for the sake of poking a big ugly stick and hoping someone bites when they provoke them. They make their living off of filing 1st Amendment lawsuits.
Reversely, it is also important to remember that the laws of man are not always the laws of God. As long as Christians live their lives by His word, it won’t matter if a man passes one or 1,000 laws defining who you can or cannot marry. In the end, it is your choices that matter and no one else’s. No one is forcing you to marry someone of the same sex, and no one is asking you to. Some LGBT group isn’t going to show up on your doorstep and force you to be gay or to marry your same-sex friend. It doesn’t work that way.
While the debate continues, how we treat one another as basic human beings will define the moral fiber of who we are as people in the end. Everyone is screaming for acceptance, but at what cost? It is not acceptance if it is forced. It would be like holding a gun to someone’s head. Forcing acceptance is to make someone embrace your views and adopt them as their own. Diversity is part of what makes us human. We are the sum of our views and opinions as well as the choices we make in the end. If we all believed the same, how we would ever challenge ourselves to be better and to find the truth?
It is also important to note that tolerance is not the same as acceptance, but many equate one with the other. Everyone loves to label someone else as an intolerance hate-monger when they disagree with them, but if you are speaking to me and I you, doesn’t that make me more tolerant than you realize? Tolerance should be a two-way street, but often it is not. When one group is preaching at the top of his lungs as loudly as the other, the situation quickly dissolves when one starts pushing their brand of hate on the other. This is when tolerance dies a quick and ugly death.
While I have said this, I am not afraid to say that I do not agree with being gay, but that is my choice based upon my beliefs and no one else’s. I’m stating this for clarification before I go any further so you know where I stand.
(If you stopped reading right there, then I implore you to read on.)
Whatever my beliefs, I am no more affected by the SCOTUS ruling now than I was two days ago when it was in question. In fact, I applaud the decision that was made, but not for the reasons you may think. Simply put, I believe that marriage is defined as a union between man and woman [in the eyes of God]. However, I will quickly point out that I am a firm believer in the separation of Church and State. This is why I support rulings like Roe vs. Wade and the Freedom of Choice Act even though I am personally against abortion. Marriage, to me, cannot be defined by any governmental law. It is determined by God. And with that, I believe the SCOTUS was correct in its ruling on DOMA by saying it was unconstitutional. I believe in the right for everyone to choose for themselves equally, even if I believe their choice to be wrong.
(We could debate the finer points of dogmatic theology and the history of marriage all day, but that is an article saved for another time… if at all.)
Despite my support of the decision, I won’t be brandishing any equal signs on my Facebook profile in support of it. The driving reasons for the symbol I do not agree with. I do support equal rights, but not at the expense of one group’s right over another. You will not see me post any pictures in support of any Christian movements for this reason, either. At large, I think both sides of the debate are blinded by their own purpose that they fail to see the bigger picture. If everyone is to have the right to be joined in some form of domestic union to whomever they want and recognized at all levels of government, then we should write laws for civil unions — for everyone. Anyone can get married, as it were, but not everyone enjoys the civil perks that come from being recognized on paper. And in theory, that’s what we’re really talking about, isn’t it? This is precisely what DOMA was trying to prohibit at a federal level which prompted the ruling that Section III was unconstitutional.
As we look at the history of DOMA and how this relates to the decision of today, we learn a few things. Unlike what most people think, DOMA was not about Proposition 8 and its subsequent movement out of California. In the United States vs. Windsor, the plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of Section III of the Defense of Marriage Act after having to pay $363,000 in estate taxes when her same-sex spouse died. The IRS did not recognize her same-sex marriage which required her to pay more taxes. I don’t know about you, but same sex-marriage or no, I think having to pay over $300,000 in estate taxes is a crime in of itself for anyone. Nevertheless, this is the basis of the challenge to DOMA, not Proposition 8. For some reason, people seem to be confused on the matter. The issue of Proposition 8 is another ruling entirely, and at this time, SCOTUS has refused to rule on it, so the Ninth Circuit’s decision still stands. Same-sex marriage is still legal in California.
After today, we’ve come to learn a few things today:
- The United States cannot define marriage as strictly a union between man and woman, even though many Christians believe this to be true. Section III was a violation of Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The rest of DOMA still stands.
- Under Section II of DOMA, States still have the right to declares that states and territories of the United States have the right to deny recognition of same-sex marriages that originated in other states or territories. This means if you are married in California to your same-sex partner and move to Indiana, your marriage would no longer be valid. This, my friends, is State sovereignty in action and is very much supported by the U.S. Constitution. SCOTUS wouldn’t have touched this section with a 10ft pole had it been included in the original lawsuit. There have been other suits filed challenging this section, and they have fallen flat for this very reason.
- Edith Windsor, the Plaintiff, should have sued the pants off the IRS for running an extortion ring. (See my earlier comments.)
- …and Rodney King had it right when he asked: Can’t we all just get along?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion; it’s what you do with it that matters.