Saturday night I attended the wedding of my child's teacher. The wedding was held in a small church and attended by many friends and family including several families of his students. This was the first wedding that my child ever attended and it was also the first wedding held at that church involving members of the same sex.
Sitting there watching the ceremony; listening to the Scripture readings and the vows proclaimed, I had a much more settled feeling than I did after a week of news broadcasts, opinion pieces and arguments concerning the two cases taken up by the Supreme Court this past week. It appears that once again Americans are being drawn into an unnecessary conflict by the same useless bureaucrats who seem to constantly draw us into all the useless wars we seem to be endlessly fighting.
While not friends, I have become very familiar with my child's teacher (J) and I can state without hesitation that he is a good man. He is a passionate teacher, a caring individual and I would not hesitate for a second to trust him with my child's care and education. However when it comes to the issue of his marriage, I do not agree with the premise that shapes his perceived solution to the problem. J wants the government to allow he and his partner to obtain a marriage license just like I did, those in opposition to J’s desire seek to have the government refuse his request and maintain a “legal” marriage as between a man and a woman.
In my opinion, this debate is nothing but a distraction from a more practical question which is (and pardon my language), who the f*$%k is any bureaucrat to tell me or anyone else that we need a license to get married? No matter what side of the argument you fall on, it is simply wrong-headed to bestow upon any bureaucrat the authority and control over something they should have nothing to do with.
The idea of marriage transcends the United States Government, it transcends all governments legitimate or otherwise, it transcends dictators and empires and has for thousands of years and will for thousand more. Marriage has historically been a religious institution and while it may be treated differently by different religions, the First Amendment ensures that so long as they are not infringing on the rights of others, any church or religious organization is free to define marriage as they see fit for the benefit of their constituents. It also ensures that we as Americans have the right to follow the religion of our choosing or to choose to not follow any religion at all, but ….. we do not have the right to dictate the principles that a church or religious institution must adhere to. In the case of the wedding Saturday night, the church and its ministry had decided that based on the intentions of the two individuals involved, they would sanctify the ceremony is a marriage between these two very, very fine people.
The only dominion any government in the United States has is the legal system, broadly characterized as either contract law or the criminal code. In that regard the only aspect of marriage that would fall under either of these categories is the civil union, that which is dissolved in court during divorce proceedings. Now in the spirit of equal protection under the law, a civil union is a civil union and should therefore be recognized uniformly across the country regardless of who it is entering into one. Any attempt to qualify, categorize or distinguish one type of civil union over another is discrimination pure and simple and violates the idea of equal protection. In fact to a great extent, the DOMA case is exactly about this kind of discrimination.
The DOMA case before SCOTUS concerns the IRS claim that a woman who had been married to another woman, owed back taxes on her partner's estate she was left everything in the estate after her partner’s passing. So to my point, while the argument before the Supreme Court is in regard to the “legal” recognition of a same-sex marriage, I believe the real issue is the legitimacy of the estate tax. The estate tax is an affront to everything that once made America great. At one time, the idea of America was that no matter what economic class you were born into or came from, if you worked hard, saved and invested wisely in a legal endeavor you could attain great financial success, and; eventually pass the reward of your life's work to whomever you saw fit giving you the opportunity to then carry on the legacy in which other people's lives.
Unfortunately today at the hour of your death the government rushes him like Pilate’s Roman soldiers, casting lots for your belongings and dividing them up among themselves. Oh sure, the government will let you keep some of what you made but we are constantly reminded that it is their decision as to what they will allow us to keep and that our property is not really our own.
Take away the abomination that is the Estate Tax, along with the ridiculous notion that any government has the right and authority to grant you a license to marry and neither Prop 8 nor the Defense of Marriage Act even happens, and; all American citizens are treated equally and fairly under civil law regardless of race, color, religious or sexual orientation. This is the battle I would like to see, not how a governing body decides to define marriage, but denial of their perceived authority to have anything to do with marriage at all.