Marriage and the Courts: What Don’t I Understand?

I am confused, and perhaps some of you smart people out there can help me out. Why are the US Supreme Court justices tying themselves in knots over those same-sex marriage cases? It all seems so simple to me that I have to be missing something.

To me, marriage is a religious ceremony. The priest or parson or rabbi or whatever other cleric says something about being gathered in the sight of God to exchange vows, and the pledges are witnessed by friends and relatives. What on earth does the court have to do with that?

The “civil union” part of it is a different matter, of course. That’s definitely a legal thing. If you’ve ever been through a divorce, you know what I mean. So the courts have every right -make that an obligation – to define the terms of such a union as clearly as possible going in.

But it might be time to divorce marriage from civil unions. The Supreme Court should opt out of the marriage business entirely, leaving that up to the various religions to sort out.

Couples who want to “marry their fortunes together” should form a civil union – all couples, not just same-sex couples. Then, if they can find a church to get married in, they should be able to go ahead and – in the sight of God and their loved ones – exchange the appropriate vows.

Of course, the legal issues involved in the union must be regulated by law. And as every third grader knows, all American citizens have a Constitutional right to equal justice under the law. That makes it easy for even the most fuzzy headed judge – even Justice Scalia, for example – to figure out.

Under the Constitution, gay Americans cannot be denied the same legal protection as straight Americans, just as short Americans cannot be denied the same legal protection as tall Americans, or left-handed Americans the same legal protection as right-handed (or ambidextrous) Americans.

Accepting that self-evident truth would end the outrage of having the justices intrude in the nation’s bedrooms. They should do what makes them happy and let us do what makes us happy, as long as we’re consenting adults and we do it in private.

After all, church and state are supposed to be separate in America.

So, for example, the justices have absolutely no business trying to define “traditional” marriage. Their business is the law of the land, not the intricacies of love and religion. They should leave that to the churches – or TV gurus like Dr. Phil and Oprah – to figure out.

Click here to read about the same-sex marriage cases.

 

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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