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Step Away from the Constitution
February 26, 2004
By Todd Boehm

Though I may disagree with you, you have a right to your feelings about homosexuality and marriage. But, with respect to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, our feelings are irrelevant. I may not be a constitutional scholar, but this is not a matter for constitutional consideration.

For more than 200 years, the Constitution has stood as the guiding doctrine assuring the rights of individual citizens - all individual citizens. It has in fact been amended to substantiate and clarify that fundamental imperative. The Thirteenth, Fifteenth and Nineteenth amendments are clear examples. So strong in our beliefs of the rights of individuals, we paid the price of a civil war to establish the Thirteenth.

Consider for a moment what a constitutional definition of marriage really does. It effectively establishes a new class of "individual" (forget about the arithmetic of creating one from two), conveying certain rights to this "individual" by denying rights to existing, real individual citizens. At no other time has this government or its citizens amended the Constitution to create such classes. In fact, the amendments have specifically sought to see through and strike down social constructs and institutions to get to the individual. Make no mistake - marriage is a social construct.

In my reading of the Constitution as it relates to rights, I see no references of rights conveyed to groups or classes of people (other than all the people), except for the First Amendment, which guarantees, among other things, the "right of people to peaceably assemble". Correct me if I am wrong, but marriage, almost by definition, is a peaceable assemblage, without regard to sex, gender, race or other classification of the individuals. Who is the victim of a gay marriage? Gay marriage does not deny life to anyone. Gay marriage does not deny liberty to anyone. Gay marriage does not deny the pursuit of happiness to anyone. Furthermore, to the extent that the First Amendment also forbids the government from establishing a religion, doesn't the incorporation of the socio-religious concept of marriage serve as a defacto religious establishment?

This is not a matter for Constitutional Amendment. The Constitution gives no right to the government to serve as the dictator of self-defined morality. By the Constitution (in tandem with the Declaration of Independence), the government is established to protect each citizen's right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". This is an ill-conceived, short-sighted, regressive concept born of ignorance and irrational fear (of what I am not sure). Ignorance and fear are not sufficient arguments for undoing 200 years of vision.

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