Marriage Equality has finally become the law of the land in the United States, as constitutional rights have finally been established, and yet many have continued to put forth the idea that this is a negative ruling from the Supreme Court. Debates have been ongoing for years over this issue and marriage itself has been hotly contested since the first states began granting this right. Sadly, what many seem to forget is that while they argue about how in the eyes of God marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman, this ideal has no legal standing.
The founding fathers of the United States were very clear in their words and in the laws of the country. One of the most important aspects when discussing why the Bible has no place in making legal decisions for America comes from Thomas Jefferson himself. That idea is that there must be separation between church and state. This is one of the founding principles of the Constitution and the reason the United States exists to begin with.
People left their native lands to find a place where they could worship freely without fear of persecution and reprisal. The Americas was a chance at a fresh start, where individuals had a chance at “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This brings about the idea of the Constitution meeting marriage equality, as one delves a bit deeper into what the laws actually allow.
The very first amendment of the Constitution is where the idea of separation of church and state comes into play. This is the amendment that prevents the U.S. Congress from obstructing an individuals basic freedoms. These freedoms are freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the right to petition and freedom of religion. As part of this amendment are two clauses, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause.
The Free Exercise Clause is what grant’s the citizens of the U.S. the ability to practice and believe in whatever religion they choose. The Establishment Clause is what prevents the government from attempting to establish a national religion, or even trying to favor a specific religion and their beliefs over any other.
These clauses and this amendment, therefore grant people the right to believe whatever they choose and express it however they choose, but that does not mean they can then turn those beliefs around to deny someone a right. Marriage equality is now the right of the land. It is a right that should never have been debated or argued for, just based on the founding father’s own ideal of separating the church from the law.
Marriage equality has now met the constitution and become more than an idea, it has become the law of the land. What was once a line down the sand in which people delineated a marriage as a same-sex wedding versus a wedding is no more. The idea that because someone of one gender chose to marry someone of the same gender, meant their marriage had to be defined as being a “same-sex” marriage, is no longer up for discussion. Now no matter who is participating in the wedding, the country should be using simply the word marriage. The Supreme Court has spoken and all they did was confirm the basic principles that found this country.
Opinion by Kimberley Spinney
The National Constitution Center – Amendment 1
American Treasures of the Library of Congress – To Bigotry No Sanction
Photo Courtesy of Mark Fowlers’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License