Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Victory for Equality

Yesterday the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, providing another victory for marriage equality in a unbroken string of triumphs since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA in 2013. The opinion included no stay, meaning that gay couples can start marrying immediately (at least until the appeal presumably hits the Supreme Court).

While many continue to argue against “gay marriage,” it is an untenable and absurd a position as those who argue that children must be taught “intelligent design.” The reality is that the 14th amendment to the constitution is quite clear on the point, in section 1, stating: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

It is the last part of the last sentence that essentially seals the case, unless we are going to start arguing that gays are not citizens of the United States. Sure a church, temple or mosque can refuse to marry them within their confines, that is fine – just as some Catholic priests won’t marry a parishioner to a non-believer. But marriage is a legal pact outside religion that confers certain rights and privileges to its participants. To argue that some should be excluded because of the normative is both unconstitutional and morally indefensible. It is good to see the courts, some politicians and a growing proportion of the public recognizing this simple truth!

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