Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SCOTUS Ruling and the Unsuitableness of Religiously Defined Marriage

The assault on same-sex marriage, based on the belief that marriage should be exclusively the union of one man and one woman, and whether its exclusiveness is constitutional, has been debated for decades. The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling making same-sex marriage legal across all 50 states will not change that. The assault and debate will continue. But at the heart of the marriage controversy are antiquated religious beliefs.

In the beginning, tribal communities believed they needed an environment conducive to safeguarding and perpetuating their lineage. Polygamy and incest were common in ancient societies. There were rules granting property rights (women were considered property, created to be subservient, not equal to men, and that a woman should look to a man for guidance in all things). At the time marriage had to do with ethnic identity, preserving social hierarchy, property rights, and inheritance. God and religion was not a consideration. Marriage predates recorded history. However, in the mid-17th century, in order for marriage to be legal, states began granting marriage licenses and authorized certain persons to solemnize marriages.

A marriage license, in effect, became a contract between a man and a woman and the state, wherein the state legally grants married couples various tax advantages, benefits, and privileges.

Of course, the SCOTUS ruling should make all of us proud to be American.

But that’s not to say we need to support the sexual aspects of a gay or lesbian lifestyle. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion says all that needs to be said regarding why we should support same sex marriage.

Religiously defined marriage is not suitable for an evolving society. The state needs to continue to pass laws that are more inclusive of all the ways men and woman choose to share their lives, regardless of sexual preferences, and provide the same rights, benefits, and protections to them. Marriage, as it always has been, should continue to fall within the purview of the state.

States, like Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama and others, who are proposing to eliminate state-sanctioned marriage, leaving marriage to the purview of religion, have it all wrong. What’s at stake is justice and preserving human dignity for all people. Something religion always has failed to do.

© Copyright 2015 Horatio Green