Saturday, April 4, 2009
Marriage: A Union Between a Woman and a Man
The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday ruled in a unanimous decision that the
statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. This would not have come as a surprise to me if it were Iowa California we were talking about, as Califor nia is a very liberal state, but ? Come on! The GOP needs to take a strong stance on the position that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The Iowa Supreme Court and other courts across the country have used the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to find statutes that limit civil unions to male/female couples unconstitutional. Republican leaders must argue that this is a flawed assessment of the statute. Laws that outlaw homosexual couples from entering a civil union do not deny any individual the right to marry. If Steve wants to marry Mark, the state can deny him, but he can always go marry Jane. He is not being denied the right to marry; he is being denied the right to marry Steve just as the state may deny the marriage between brothers and sisters, and marriage to more than one spouse, a.k.a polygamy. The GOP needs to stand up for initiatives like the Proposition 8 bill that made gay marriage illegal in Iowa . The issue of gay marriage will not go away any time soon, and the GOP cannot hide from it anymore. During the 2008 campaign McCain did not take a strong position on gay marriage but President Obama did, stating in a response to the Human Rights Campaign Presidential Questionnaire: "I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman." It’s time for Republicans to hold President Obama accountable for that statement and push for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. Now, I’m not so naïve as to believe that a Constitutional ban on marriage is going to happen anytime soon, it didn’t happen with a Republican in office, but the fact that Obama will not act on the issue despite the pressure will give Republicans an issue to get voters passionate about in 2012. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and President Clinton signed it into law. DOMA defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law. In addition, although it leaves each state free to define marriage however it likes, DOMA also affirms that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. The California has recognized that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but the states still have discretion on the matter. A Constitutional ban, although a drastic move, would eliminate the ability of a state to allow gay marriage. A Constitutional ban might be drastic, but it might be the only way to preserve the “sanctity” of marriage and the religious and social connotations that goes with it.