North Texas Daily

Marriage equality arrives before the Supreme Court

Marriage equality arrives before the Supreme Court

April 28
00:00 2015

The Editorial Board

Individual states should no longer govern marriage. All Americans should be given the right to marry whomever they please, as long as they are consenting and of age. All states must recognize each of those marriages. Geography does not determine the validity of marriage.

Today at 10 a.m., the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that will resolve whether or not each state must recognize same-sex marriages. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled the federal government regards same-sex marriage as constitutional and official.

Because states like Texas have deep-rooted, religious objections to same-sex marriage, the issue has been debated over and over without any resolution. Now, all could come to an end with this highly anticipated case.

The plaintiff, Jim Obergefell, and his late husband, John, lived in Ohio, where same-sex marriage is illegal. When they were to wed, the couple flew to Maryland, where it is legal. John died from Lou Gehrig’s disease and Jim sued to have his name listed as the surviving spouse.

The argumentation hinges on the 14th Amendment, particularly on the issue of due process (do the states have to recognize same-sex marriage?); and equal protection of the law (do nonabiding states have to honor other states’ same-sex marriages?).

Right now, both religious and nonreligious people get married. Religion does not dictate who gets married to whom. Therefore, the religious freedom argument is not valid and does not play a role in deciding the constitutionality of marriage.

For marriage equality in particular, religion goes further to actually discriminate against a particular group. In all instances, church should be separate from state. This is logic as old as the country: a person’s religious preference should not affect another’s life or preference.

What is more, the variations on “marriage” — meaning, “same-sex” or “traditional” — are outdated. In 2015, gay couples are equal in all ways to straight couples. If we abolished from our vocabularies “traditional” and “same-sex” marriages, the major disconnect on the definition of marriage will no longer be relevant, something the nation, on either side, seems to be stuck on. Marriage is marriage. Simple.

This editorial board stands affirmed — and unanimous — that, because some states have failed to fully protect the human right to marry, the federal government should have the ultimate say on marriage.

Think back to the days leading up to disunion. Fugitive slave laws fought over the right for some states to own slaves. Some states found it just and moral to own other people as property. Others didn’t. Slave owners — think Dred Scott in 1857 — faced conflict when they traveled to free states with their slaves.

With marriage equality, geography should not determine who is and who is not married. There needs to be a uniform directive that edicts the states act in accordance with the federal government. Marriage equality does not need to be left to a state’s majority opinion; this is an American issue, one fought by people from all states, counties and municipalities.

Marriage equality is a matter of human rights. Human rights dilemmas must be handled by the federal government. The Supreme Court should vote to support marriage equality throughout the country, rather than on a state-by-state basis.

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