California’s Proposition 8 has once again brought the issue of gay marriage onto the national stage. It is likely headed to the Supreme Court, which, to me, seems crazy. After all, why should it take the High Court to decide an issue that the government should not be concerned with in the first place?
Intolerance is often on display on both sides of the ideological spectrum — intolerance to pursue one’s own happiness, free from the constraints of the state, continues to plague America. A vision and desire of some individuals to peaceably live their lives as they see fit is dismissed out of hand by those who are intolerant or fearful of that which they do not understand.
The justification for the inequities gays and lesbians experience is primarily based on religion and tradition. Given modern societies’ enlightened views, it seems only rational to question what seems to be a Dark Ages mentality with respect to the issue of gay marriage.
Once religious considerations and societal biases are put aside, it becomes possible to look at the gay marriage issue in a clearer, less unemotional way. When one applies reason — rather than bias, religious beliefs, or fear — to this issue, one begins to realize that gay marriage will not doom the United States. In truth, “straight” individuals aren’t affected by the sexual orientation gay people.
Some opponents of gay marriage argue that gay and lesbian couples should not be able to call their unions “marriage.” This is a legitimate argument in that words have meaning, and the accepted meaning of marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman. Arguments that conceptual meanings should not change to accommodate the desires of a small group are valid.
This point however is ancillary, and I digress.
Proponents of gay marriage have two very strong supporting actors: The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A minority has the same inalienable rights as a majority. And the individual is the smallest minority known to humankind.
Our Declaration of Independence, in its opening words proclaims that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
No one questions gay people’s right to life. But what about their right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Are they free to enter into loving relationships and receive the same benefits that opposite-sex couples receive?
No, gay people are not free to enjoy the same benefits individuals in opposite-sex unions enjoy. Yes, their happiness is affected by this reality. Anyone who holds up the Declaration of Independence as a guiding document of our Republic must stand behind its words.
The Constitution is a contract between the people and their government. One of its primary aims is to protect vulnerable minorities from the tyranny of the majority. This is of particular note in California, where voters rejected gay marriage at the ballot box. Can a majority deny an individual the right to peaceably live his life as he sees fit?
My simple answer is no. If your answer is yes, then who is to say that your lifestyle, religion, or ethos will not be next?
Les Carpenter III has spent thirty-one years in manufacturing management. He has held positions from front line supervision to executive management and is currently employed with an East Coast manufacture of games. In addition to his management responsibilities he is Editor-in-Chief of Rational Nation USA, an East Coast Conservative/Libertarian political blog.