Marriage Equality has Nothing to do with God.

What follows is an article written by guest columnist and contributor, JustJage.  If YOU have anything to say, remember “The Team Needs You!”

The fight for marriage equality has nothing to do with God. It is not a religious battle. It is a fight for equality in the eyes of the law, not God. davis buildingThe reason everyone focuses on the religious aspect is because if you ask someone if same sex marriage should be legal, and they don’t believe so, 9 out of 10 of them will say, “I don’t believe in it. Same sex marriage is not biblical.” I am not going to argue this point because there is no sense. Unfortunately, I sold back my Greek dictionary after Sophomore year, and I don’t have the time to do an exegetical paper on the biblical passages concerning homosexuality. Regardless, it would be a waste of time because the Bible is not an appropriate, adequate answer to any question regarding the Constitutionality of US law. As we support and exercise our right to the Freedom of Speech (one of my favorites), too many of us forget the first two provisions of the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This two part set of guidelines for the law makers of this great nation hold the key to the marriage quality debate. If the use of man and wife in the legal definition of “marriage” holds its basis on biblical principals, it is unconstitutional. And incase you wondered, something deemed “unconstitutional” is from that point on illegal. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” This phrase is where the Supreme Court pulls the concept of the “separation of church and state.” The United States was never meant to function on the principals of one religion. The framers wanted the citizens of the United States to enjoy the freedom to exercise religion as they saw fit. In recent history, we have seen the Supreme Court rule in ways that seem to “attack” Christianity. However, the adaptation of outdated laws to suit the new make up of the American people is not an “attack,” but a progression that the Constitution was written to encourage. Until recently, the political leaders of this nation were old, white, Christian men and the laws reflected those values. As you gained an influx of politicians and advocates that did not fit into that box, the validity of long standing laws and traditions were questioned in light of the Constitution. It is not an attack because we still have the freedom to exercise our beliefs while recognizing that not every other American citizen believes that same way and should not be forced to conform their behavior. For example, students are not allowed to pray in public school… most people consider this an attack on Christianity, but it is not when Islamic, Pagan or Jewish students are not allowed to conduct their religious rites in public schools either. It is simply an adjustment to level the playing field. In the case of Texas law, the Texas Family Code Section 2.001 states: (a) A man and woman desiring to enter into a ceremonial marriage must obtain a marriage license from the county clerk of any county of this state. (b) A license may not be issued for the marriage of persons of the same sex. I find it amusing that the drafters of this article were so fearful of same sex marriages they felt the need to emphasize that “man and woman” could not be “of the same sex.” It is a shame this discriminatory clause was even used to restrict a basic civil right as stated in Supreme Court Justice Warren’s opinion of the landmark 1967 case Loving v Virginia that,

“Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”

If marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” it should not be regulated by someone else’s religious convictions. “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race (or the same sex) resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.” Many argue that same sex marriage “cheapens” their own “traditional” marriage, but this is a misconception. Same sex couples can already be joined in a commitment ceremony whether or not the state recognizes their union. The goal of marriage equality is a social contract, not a spiritual one. When the country clerk issues a marriage license, the marriage is recognized in the eyes of the law… once again, having nothing to do with God. That is where your freedom of expression takes over. Marriage is a two step process. 1. The couple must be issued a marriage license by the country clerk, and 2. In order to be married, must take part in a marriage ceremony conducted before the 31st day after the license is issued. This ceremony does not have to be religious in nature, once again showing that the law does not put emphasis on the spiritual aspect of marriage… why deny someone the right based on spiritual principles? Step 2 is where marriage is made into a spiritual bond… where it is made traditional or contemporary… You can have a marriage ceremony that costs $30 bucks and 30 minutes in front of the JP and lasts 70 years or a marriage that costs a few million and 8 hours in front of a 400 person congregation and lasts 3 weeks. In fact, speaking of cheapening, Subchapter E of the Texas Family Code says that if you’re over 18 and live together long enough that you hold yourself out to be married, you’re married! No ceremony required. Marriage equality is not threatening your traditional. The change in law is not forcing your church or your pastor to conduct same-sex ceremonies. The change in law is granting your fellow Americans the opportunity to exercise one of their “basic civil rights.” “Traditional” has changed… the definition of family has expanded, how we communicate has mutated, we wear black in weddings and white after Labor Day! But that does not threaten your tradition. You are in control of that, but please allow others the opportunity to create their own tradition. You can be steadfast in your beliefs and still allow others the liberty to be human. Next time someone asks why you don’t support marriage equality, think of an answer that does not involve religion or your own personal distaste. “The toughest test of our commitment to political liberties is our willingness to tolerate the activities of groups that we find repellent.“ To fully realize your own liberty, you must respect the liberty of others. Just remember, marriage equality has nothing to do with God and everything to do with humanity. ~JustJage

To see more on Gay, click here.  To see more on America, click here.

901354_10151568652396233_1019321352_oJustJage is a Social Activist and contributing writer. She is on the forefront of issues that affect our ever-expanding world.  She is aware, passionate, and most importantly expressive when it comes to the issues that have the biggest and most profound effects on our lives. To see more of her writing, click here

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