The onward march of same-sex marriage in the United States seems inevitable with the Supreme Court ducking the question so far because of a lack of disagreement among the lower courts. Now an opinion is handed down from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that says this:
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati ruled 2 to 1 that although same-sex marriage across the nation is practically inevitable, in the words of U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, it should be settled through the democratic process and not the judicial one.
Well, thatâ€™s interesting since more than one popular vote restricting the definition of marriage to one man married to one woman was overturned in the courts for being unconstitutional. Â Thereâ€™s nothing more Democratic than a straight up or down vote, and yet other judges have said that the people have no opinion in what defines marriage. Â What that translates to, though, is â€œdisagreementâ€ among the lower courts and the very real possibility of the Supreme Court needing to take up the question of how marriage is defined and who does the defining.
For people who believe that Natural Law as preordained by God (and/or Mother Nature) determines what defines marriage – that the union of husband and wife is the basic social building block in raising future generations in order to maintain civilization – this is a glimmer of hope that the light at the end of the tunnel may well be at least a few judges not legislating from the bench. Â However, to those who look on marriage at almost a strictly contractual level as opposed to a covenant, the dissenting judge’s opinion in the 6th Circuit case illustrates that that light in the dark distance may well be an oncoming train:
Daughtrey describes them as families â€œwho want to achieve equal statusâ€¦ with their married neighbors, friends, and coworkers, to be accepted as contributing members of their social and religious communities, and to be welcomed as fully legitimate parents at their childrenâ€™s schools. They seek to do this by virtue of exercising a civil right that most of us take for granted â€” the right to marry.â€
Since when is the right to marry a civil right? Â When the state required a license in order to be called married. Â In that way, marriage is reduced to a contract made and broken at will. Â If that is the case, anyone has the right to marry, just not the right to define marriage as one pleases, stating that any group that calls itself a family is one. Â Whether or not that should be accepted really should be left up to the democratic process as Judge Sutton describes regardless of the heartstrings tugged by homosexual couples who are in committed relationships. Â Social acceptance for the greater good can’t be ruled on or legislated. Â It just is or is not. Â Just because there is a contract in place does not mean that full legitimacy in the eyes of others will follow.
There is nothing preventing people who are attracted to members of the same sex from being full members of families, social and religious communities with enough love and charity. Â Some such people are even great parents and caregivers for others. Â But that does not change that the primary purpose for marriage now as it was before the 20th century when contraception made it purely optional is the birthing and raising of the next generation. Â That is why marriage – true marriage – is a union of man and woman, not just a bond. Â Anything else needs to be defined differently.
The ball is now in the Supreme Courtâ€™s court.