Gay Marriage: Is it a Privacy Right?

28 Mar

It is Holy Week, folks.  Maundy Thursday, to be exact.

Like many this week, I have been writing and reblogging posts on the Supreme Court cases that started Monday, both about Proposition 8 in California (anti-gay marriage measure that voters passed) and about DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 (Clinton administration). 

It is time to slow down, both for the sake of Holy Week and for the sake of pacing ourselves.  This court case is likely to run till June.

So for the next little while I will take one topic at a time on the gay marriage debate.  My younger friends are showing me in our conversations that, since they did not grow up before Roe v. Wade, they don’t always see the implications of having a sweeping social issue be decided by the Supreme Court.

So, first question:  “Isn’t the subject of gay marriage one of privacy rights?  I mean, if you don’t want gay marriage, don’t get one . . .  Otherwise, leave the gays who want to marry alone.  They aren’t doing anything that affects you.”

First answer:  Whenever the federal (or state) government gets involved and hands someone a piece of paper legitimizing their relationship, it affects us all.  What people do in their bedrooms is covered by privacy rights.  When they get official government approval of that via a marriage license, the issue ceases to be about privacy rights.  

A wider, more appropriate subject might be “What is the government doing in the business of deciding what is and is not an official marriage?  Isn’t that a religious question?”  And maybe that is the case.  I will talk about that later . . .



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