February 24, 2004
marriage licenses should be outlawed
is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Fort
gay marriage debate is the result of a failure to understand
the Constitution. Now, I know what you think I am going
to say. Homosexuals deserve the right to marry under the
equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Well, my
presumptuous friend, you are wrong. According to the equal
protection clause of the 14th Amendment, no one should
be allowed to marry.
I dont mean that marriage should be abolished. I
do mean, however, that government licensing of marriage
is against the Constitution. As the conservatives against
gay marriage point out ad nauseum, religion has traditionally
defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Based
on that statement alone, this debate is over. If religion
defines marriage, and we believe in the freedom to choose
what religious belief we ascribe to, then the government
should not have a say in what marriage is.
The First Amendment protects our right to choose our own
religious beliefs, so a religion against gay marriage
has every right to ban it. It is also true that if even
one persons religious convictions deems gay marriage
OK, and wishes to enter into that type of union with someone,
then that person is just as entitled to marry as the other
religion is allowed to ban the marriage. If someone doesnt
approve of the differing opinion, then that person can
do what the Catholic Church has done with marriages outside
of the church for centuries: Ignore them.
The legal institution of marriage is in itself unconstitutional.
It creates a legal distinction based on marital status.
This is a clear violation of equal protection since more
rights are given to one group and not to another.
The solution is to eliminate joint tax returns and marriage
licenses. If everyone filed their return separately, there
would be no single or marriage penalty for taxes. Rules
surrounding the child tax credit and claiming dependents
would have to be altered, but it would amount to a minor
change in tax code. Marriage licenses could be replaced
by marital agreements written by individuals. These agreements
would merely have to be notarized. Religious groups, conservative
and liberal, can create their own versions of the contracts.
If a religious group wants to put eternal damnation as
penalty for breach of contract, then it is more than welcome
to. This also allows individuals to make clear, at the
inception of marriage, what the terms involve and could
be expanded to include division of property if the marriage
The interesting part is that this idea is more consistent
with Bush administration policy than an amendment banning
gay marriage. Bushs faith based initiatives were
created on the presumption that religious groups could
provide guidance, basic health care and adult education
better than the government. If religion is more effective
than government in handling these issues, why not marriage?
Religions handled marriage long before the good old U.S.
of A. stepped in. The president should put his money where
his mouth is and let an individuals religious beliefs
resolve the current marriage debate.