Same-sex marriage has come up again and again over the past few years. Earlier this month, a Federal judge denied California’s right to ban gay marriage in their state. Across the nation every referendum that opposes gay marriage has passed, none have failed, including one in Missouri in 2004. The only states that have legal gay marriage have had it judicially imposed.
This is a topic that lends itself to sound byte answers and diametric choices. But I think, from a conservative perspective, we must look at the real and complex issues this topic engenders.
Marriage is at its core a religious institution. It is the joining of two into one. While the rate of divorce in this country is alarming, there still remains a semblance of honor and respect for this intimate institution. That being said, the decision to marry two men or women must be decided in the particular church, not by any higher governmental authority.
The government’s role in marriage is largely symbolic. It grants two the right to own a home, car, and bank account jointly. The day-to-day affairs of the personal lives of the couple are private.
The definition of marriage in a religious, societal, moral, and governmental context has always been a one man, one woman relationship. It has been that way for all of recorded history. The marriage institution predates the government’s institution. With that in mind, my opinion is that the definition of marriage should remain one man and one woman. I would choose my wedding to be in a church where this is the position.
But that’s me. My beliefs may not be those of others and I have no right to take my view and impose it on them, no matter my position in government. In a narrow sense, I oppose the effort by some to change the definition of marriage to two men or two women. In that context, I support the 2004 ban in Missouri. I see the term to have already been defined.
However in a governmental context, I see no issue with two men or two women jointly owning a home, or car, or holding a joint bank account. To deny them that right isn’t treating them fairly. Therefore I hold the position that if a state chooses, they should be allowed to create a process of civil unions for those same-sex couples.
Let me be clear, this should be done on a state-by-state level, unless and until a Constitutional amendment is ratified for either position. Furthermore, each church holds the right to accept or deny wedding a couple based on their values.