Understanding the current status of Gay Marriage in America

Since this is the first post of this blog I want to make something absolutely clear. Just because this blog is Christian does not mean we are going to spend most of our time speaking about Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Guns, which are all topics that most people assume is all Christians really talk about. But that doesn’t mean we are not going to talk about them. And we can not avoid the topic now that the Supreme Court is in the middle of making a huge decision concerning gay marriage, a decision that could be as determinitve as Roe vs. Wade was for abortion in defining the status of gay marriage and for that matter marriage in general, as our country continues to redefine reality so as to change the central institutions that humans have always held so dear.

This post will be done in Two Parts: The First Part, will explain what exactly the Supreme Court is trying to decide concerning gay marriage and the current legal status and place that gay marriage has already obtained. In the Second Part, I will to discuss the Christian perspective on not only the topic itself, but on how the culture has dealt with this topic.

As with abortion before Roe vs. Wade, the issue concerning gay marriage is also the age old issue in America concerning state rights vs. federal power. In 1996, under Bill Clinton, a law was passed by the Congress to establish the federal position on gay marriage. The law is known as DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the law addresses two issues concerning gay marriage: 1) It defined marriage as: “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife (Section III of DOMA).” 2) It also proclaimed that the states do not have to recognize a gay marriage that was allowed under the law of another state if their state does not allow gay marriage. In other words, if a homosexual couple is married legally in Massachusetts (where gay marriage is legal) and then they moved down to Texas (where gay marriage is not legal), Texas does not have to recognize the marriage as legitimate and does not have to give any benefits afforded a heterosexual married couple.

This decision in DOMA by the Federal Government effectively said this: The Federal Government recognizes that marriage is between a heterosexual couple, however , gay marriage is not outlawed, and so states may decide for themselves what particular laws they will have concerning Gay Marriage, but they do not have to recognize the laws of each state.

The current state of gay marriage in the 50 states is basically this:

9 states plus the District of Columbia allow Same-Sex Marriage as a legal status (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington).

6 states allow same sex unions but not marriage (Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island).

And the rest of the states have banned same sex marriage either in their state constitution or through state legislation.

Now it must be noted that this issue is very complicated. For example, some of the states that allow civil unions have banned gay marriage. So the data given above is the general facts concerning the states’ positions but if one is curious about a particular state he will have to look up the specific law in that state.

This brings us to today, where the Supreme Court considers the question of gay marriage. The Court is considering two different cases concerning gay marriage: First, it is considering the constitutionality of Proposition 8 in California; and second, it is considering the constitutionally of DOMA.

For those who do not know, Proposition 8 is a California law that bans same-sex marriage. The law was voted in by the people of Califorina who declared their position of wanting to ban gay marriage in their state. However, a United States District Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional. The case was then taken to the Supreme Court, and the Court will decide once and for all if Propositoin 8 is constitutional. Proposition 8 only seems to affirm what DOMA had already affirmed in 1996, and thus Califorina is basically saying it agrees with the federal law. The actual wording of Proposition 8 is: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The Supreme Court is basically deciding if California is discriminating against gay couples by impinging on their rights granted them by the Constitution, namely the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious then how Proposition 8 relates to DOMA, and why if the Supreme Court is going to consider Prop. 8 it must also consider DOMA. The two are basically saying the same thing, for they each are saying that only marriage between a heterosexual couple is legitimate marriage and thus gay marriage is not recognized as true marriage and therefore not entitled to the same benefits of heterosexual couples. So if the Supreme Court decides that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, it would only seem to follow that at least part of DOMA would be unconstituional as well. The Supreme Court would basically be saying that gay people are granted the right to marriage by our constitution because they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But if the Court affirms Proposition 8 and DOMA as being laws that do not contradict the constitution, then states would still be free to ban same sex marriage and the precedent would be established in the Courts. Essentially the Court would be saying that the U.S. Constitution does not grant gay people the right to marry, and thus any law whether federal or state, that would ban gay marriage would be constitutional and non-discriminatory. And so this is what the Court is currently deciding on, and the decision is expected to be made sometime within the next few months. For an up to date article concerning the proceedings in the past two days of the Supreme Court see:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/27/us-usa-court-gaymarriage-idUSBRE92P04820130327.

In Part 2 of this post, I will give an editorial on this particular situation; on the general topic of homosexuality and gay marriage; and on our nations continual trotting down the road of “progressivism” . I will also speak briefly about how Christians should respond and be prepared for the future as our nation continues to implement these progressive ideas as they reshape not only America but humanity to look completely different from the America and humanity that our father’s knew.

Advertisements

One comment on “Understanding the current status of Gay Marriage in America

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s