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Jun 26, 2015

The Riteful Owner

There sure have been a lot of polarized issues lately. Today, the US Supreme Court ruled that Same-Sex Marriages are a Civil Right and must be permitted in every State. Obviously, social media lit up with opinions -- and surprise, surprise, not very many people played nice.
Before I continue, I'd like to note that I disagree with the ruling today, but probably not for the reason you might think. It would be easy to assume that my Christian creed would dictate me to cry out against sodomy. However, that is not the position from which I object. God's judgment on that is not in my authority. What anyone's eternal punishment or earthly trials due to such a lifestyle is something God will handle, and He doesn't need my help.
Further, I have found myself politically more libertarian than I used to be. So, from a secular and political standpoint, what two consenting adults do in their own privacy is not really my affair -- so long as it doesn't lead to other crimes or conspiracies.
My objection to today's ruling comes based on the ceremony of matrimony itself. It comes from the simple question, why does anyone need permission from the state to marry? Why must it be regulated at all? And if it is not under the authority of the State, can it be a Civil Right? Much of this is difficult to post in short response in Facebook debates. When challenged to ask how to reconcile the Tenth Amendment with the Fourteenth in this ruling is not something that can be completed in a 160-character twitter post. Therefore, I chose to write this explanation of my position. Perhaps I can send the link for future debates.
The history of marriage goes back prior to established Christianity. I could start with Chalcolithic ceremonies; however, once we jump to Western Civilization where the Catholic Church sanctioned marriage, there are few changes. For nearly sixteen centuries, the Catholic Church based the validity of marriage on a couple's testimony. If the man and woman exchanged vows alone in a field then professed it, the Church accepted them as married. The common theme here being man and woman.
Now in the early thirteen century, the Catholic Church defined a "licit" marriage as one that took place on Holy Ground and the ceremony officiated by man of the cloth. However, the Church held the same rights and standards for inheritance and legitimacy even by those who married illicitly. Also the same prohibitions against divorce existed in either circumstance.
Not until the sixteenth century did any governing state require marriage to be performed with legal requirement. There are several explanation, but the most notable reason for this new practice was paternal control over young adults and requiring an "approved" match before wedlock. Here is where "power" corrupts the tradition of marriage. And those corruptions continue to become more and more regulated from this point on.
Let's stop here and assume we have a fairly pure definition of marriage just prior to this point. What is the commonly agreed terms and definition of marriage. There is roughly a 3000-year tradition of it being limited between a man and a woman. There is an equal duration where the religious authority dictates the legitimacy of matrimony. Also, ceremonially conducted wedding have existed as long, but they are more formalized in the past few hundred years. Those traditions and definitions continue in general for the next few hundred years as well; however, the governmental intrusions start adding up.
Since this is about an American legal circumstance, I will limit the rest of the history lesson to American events. Some states began requiring marriage licenses, but many did not. However, by the 1920s, nearly 40 states had written marital requirements, mainly used to prohibit interracial marriages. Do you see how government is being used to corrupt and control? Even still, most licenses were legal witnessing and certification that the Rite of Matrimony had been performed.
As the typical response, the Federal government responded adding more regulation, thinking this will fix the problem. But in truth, the Federal government soon realized that tracking marriages under the establishment of the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act was a great way to audit tax dollars and collect money. The New Deal under FDR in response to the Great Depression gave the Feds all the control they needed to rob matrimony from its religious and rightful (or riteful) original.
Next comes the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This primarily deals with housing, voting rights and becomes an issue of State marital laws. Remember, many of those states had written laws prohibiting marriage between a man of one race to a woman of another race. This is the first secular victory against religious ceremony and marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment, under the concept of Civil Rights, trumped the Tenth Amendment of State Powers under the Constitution.
This was not a mistake because interracial marriage is wrong. It is a mistake because marriage is not a Civil Right. Marriage by 3000-years of definition and tradition does not belong to the State or Federal government. The State laws prohibiting marriage between a black man and white woman should have been struck down under the First Amendment, not the Fourteenth.
Today, 2015, the same misapplication of the law, the same use of the improper Amendment was applied. And by default, the First Amendment (or at least the part where we have Freedom of Religion) has lost a little more authority in our secular government. I can argue several slippery slopes, but I won't. They will happen, not because of this ruling - but because they've been happening and worsening since the sixteenth century when secular power usurps religious authority.
That is why I am saddened and am opposed to today's decision. 

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