Tuesday, November 18, 2003

And on and on with marriage 

Massachusetts' high court has ruled unconstitutional the refusal to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples. The decision granted the legisture 180 days to rectify the situation. Governor Mitt Romney has responded by calling for a change to the state's consitution that would define marriage as a union exlusively between a man and a woman. Senator Bill Frist, of earlier comment on this issue, said, according to the New York Times, the following: "It is the law of the land passed by this body, and if the courts begin to tear that down, we have a responsibility to address it. And all options are indeed on the table."

It is rare, perhaps, when supporters of an unjust and unconstitutional position feel emboldened enough to try to change the constitution. Doing so will require resorting to explicit claims from a religious morality inconsistent with the foundation of a state capable of protecting the rights of minorities. As I've argued before, the best we can do is a secular state that can exercise equal protection. Now it may be that some people do not think themselves equal to others. And they may have religious or cultural basis for such an opinion. One may even believe that the world would be better if we were treated unequally with respect to their own valuations. But none of that matters. The claim for equal protection of same-sex unions is no different in its time, truly, than the claim for equal protection of interracial unions. That we have no constitutional amendment restricting the latter right should chasten those who would push for one restricting the former.

-- Geoffrey

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