First, a few points:
- The Institution of Marriage as regulated by the many States is a Civil undertaking not religious. While a couple can decide to get married by a church, they are in no way under any obligation to do so. The state issues the marriage license not the church. True a member of the clergy is sanctioned by the state to sign a marriage certificate, but so is a Justice of The Peace. Bottom line: a marriage is not legal unless and until a State sanctioned marriage license is obtained.
- The religious issue is separate from the Civil issue. Churches are free to decide on religious grounds whether they will sanction Gay marriage or not, the State as a public entity cannot. For the state it is a matter of equal protection and due process before the law, religion plays no part; separation of church and state doctrine.
- Families formed by marriage are the backbone of any society. It is in the family unit that children are supposed to be protected, nurtured, educated, and made ready to enter society. Families provide stability form neighborhoods and communities in which schools and other civic activities are set. Families are more than tax breaks and contracts, they are the basic underpinnings of human existence, and have been since the beginning of recorded human history; the same history that shows that the breakdown of the family unit is a major contributing factor in societal disintegration.
- The Constitution of the United States is a blueprint for government, the main body (first seven articles) of which, does not address the rights of the people. The Bill of Rights was an afterthought. And I chafe to call it a contract. Contracts can be broken, contracts end; the Bll of Rights spells out our rights under law, rights that cannot be put away by law. But I agree that the constitution is no place to address the issue of Gay Marriage.
- There is no such thing as “Activist Judges,” only judges that are doing their jobs in our Republican form of government while following the doctrine of checks and balances. The religious right (Conservatives) brands anyone who does not agree with them anti-something; the truth is the judges are doing what they are supposed to do: interpret the law as written by legislators, and or as written in the state constitutions. The Massachusetts Court of Supreme Justice did what it was supposed to do: interpret Massachusetts law governing the Institution of marriage, held against the light of the Massachusetts constitution, which guarantees equal protection & due process before the law. If not judges to interpret law, then who?
- Both the state and federal governments have a stake in marriage; the state because it regulates the institution, and the federal government because certain entitlements—Social Security, Taxes, Medicare, and military survivors benefits—are based on marriage. So Civil Unions for Gays and lesbians will not fit the bill unless and until they are recognized by the federal government. Even then, we are back to the “Separate But Equal” doctrine the Supreme Court overturn in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education.
Conservatives assert that allowing Gay Marriage will hurt the Institution of Marriage; I ask how? and they have no answers. So I ask again, how will allowing Gay marriage hurt the Institution of Marriage? How are children harmed?
I think, no, I am certain, that families formed as a result of Gay marriage will only strengthen, not denigrate the Institution. How can children suffer under the mantle of love and caring intact gay headed households can provide?
Gay marriage as regulated and sanctioned by the many States is a Civil Institution not religious, period and should be approached as such. It is an Equal Protection and Due Process under Law issue. For the many States there is not other consideration.