What the Mormons (and others) don’t understand about freedom

It’s not religious. It’s not moral. It’s not even about family values. Gay marriage is a constitutional issue, but not in the same way that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormon Church) views it. It wants an amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman based on their beliefs. Not only is this an encroachment of religion into state matters, the entire idea of creating any law or amendment to deny a right or privilege to a group of people is unconstitutional!

Marriage is the acknowledgement of the state of the permanent relationship between two people. As I see it, this acknowledgement is base on contract law. Marriage is not seen as “sacred” in the eyes of the law. It’s a legal partnership, and is accompanied by the paperwork one would expect of any kind of contractual agreement. How can people readily understand that denying a driver’s license to a woman based on the fact that she is a woman is a violation of her rights, and yet not see that in the eyes of justice, which is blind to a persons ethnicity, gender, etc., that the denial of a marriage license to a couple based of their gender is not the very same violation of rights!

The fight to adopt an amendment in any state or for the United States as a whole is a losing battle. The matter has already been dealt with in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which informs us that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” There will come a day when this amendment is applied by the US Supreme Court, opening the way for gay marriage in much the same manner as they did for school desegregation.

There is not much room for argument against the unconstitutionality of any law or amendment that would deprive homosexuals for gaining marriage licenses.

The weakness of the religious position is that marriage is not a matter of religion, but of the state. A church may perform marriage ceremonies for thousand if they wish, but if those people fail to apply for and be granted a license from the state, their marriage means little outside of their faith. For taxation, insurance, probate matters, and others, their marriage means nothing. The beliefs and practices of any religion are totally independent from state matters.

Mormons, other conservative Christian sects, and the politicians fueled by them all clamor to define marriage according to their beliefs. But what’s next? Should they then propose amendments to define what a church is and what it is not? How about baptism? How about salvation itself!

Living in a society where one is free to practice their faith to the fullest, with the only restriction being that the practice of that religion does not encroach upon the freedom of another, requires the sacrifice of any attempt to constrain the practices of others based on one’s beliefs. Allowing homosexuals to marry in no way reduces the value of any heterosexual marriage, just as a Catholic baptism does not reduce the value of a Mormon baptism. This is how a free society functions and we must work to protect those freedoms, and not try to restrict the freedoms of others.

Joel McDonald

Converted to Mormonism at 17. Served a mission at 19. Disaffected at 21. Found the Post-Mormon Community at 22. Chapter Network Manager for Hampton Roads Post-Mormons. Host of Post-Mormon Voices, the official podcast of the Post-Mormon Community.

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13 Responses

  1. Kullervo says:

    While I agree with you in substance, I don’t think you’re dmeonstrating a very clear understanding of what “unconstitutional” means. A constitutional amendment would not be unconstitutional, even if it encroached on or conflicted with another constitutinal principle. The act of amending the Constitution essentially re-defines “constitutionality.”

  2. Kullervo says:

    Also, marriage isn’t necessarily based on contract law.

  3. Radioactive Wrath says:

    So I live in California, I will be voting against the amendment (prop 8 I believe) because of this reasoning: I don’t care what it is, restricting only certain people’s actions while letting other’s do the same thing and amending the constitution to do it is wrong.

  4. profxm says:

    I agree with Kullervo. Technically, discriminating against people IS constitutional. The US Constitution is where the 3/5ths rule on slaves was formalized. If you want to discriminate against a group of people, a constitution is the place to do it. It doesn’t make it right or moral, but it is certainly possible. In fact, this is precisely why religious groups want to pass a constitutional amendment, both in California and nationally: then the courts would have to rule based on that amendment. There are dozens of states that have already amended their constitutions to disallow same-sex marriages:

    Like Kullervo, I agree with you in principle, but the details of your argument don’t make sense.

  5. Joel McDonald says:

    An amendment to a state constitution defining marriage is unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Such an amendment to the US Constitution would be a conflict between it and the 14th.

    Constitutional contradictions do happen, generally as the offspring of a compromise between embattled parties…thus the 3/5ths rule.

    The only hope the theocrats have of protecting marriage according to their definition is a national amendment. State amendments will be trumped by a future Supreme Court ruling. A national amendment doesn’t seem very likely.

  6. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    rant ON: Mormons views on just about everything are skewed. To make it worse, they tweak the ‘facts’ to make it seem as though their distorted views make sense.
    Mormonism SUCKS, it poisons just about Everything it touches.

  7. Seth R. says:

    Guy, when are you ever NOT on a “rant?”

  8. Kullervo says:

    An amendment to a state constitution defining marriage is unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Such an amendment to the US Constitution would be a conflict between it and the 14th.

    Well, it would be a conflict between the state constitution and your interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

  9. Joel McDonald says:

    Based on previous SCOTUS interpretations of the 14th, I have full confidence in my own.

  10. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    Seth R. Says:
    “Guy, when are you ever NOT on a “rant?””

    why Seth… what about all those ‘special times’ we’ve been together?
    Was I ‘on a rant’ while we were in Rosario?
    Was there a bit of bitterness when we bicycled in Berlin?
    Was there disputation in Duluth?
    I’m disappointed, lover.

  11. Seth R. says:

    Well, I guess we’ll always have Paris…

  12. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    whatever you say Sweetie….

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