What’s wrong with current marriage laws?
In a recent article (Marriage Equality, 12/21/2011) the following scenario was suggested: the person you love is injured in an auto accident and is barely clinging to life in the hospital, but you cannot visit him or her because you are not married. It is then suggested that the cure for this problem is to change the marriage laws. “In this moment of tragedy you cannot be with the person you love because of one simple reason: you are gay.”
But wait a minute! The problem is not the gayness of some couples, nor the institution of marriage. The problem is HIPAA.
The real problem is a health care issue rather than a gay or marriage issue. Why is the easiest solution to the problem not amending HIPAA? Isn’t it HIPAA that stops the visit? It is. Isn’t HIPAA a much more recent law? And shouldn’t the remedy use the least extensive means to remedy the problem? Why does HIPAA trump marriage? And since the entire structure of U.S. health care is in the midst of the most serious and extensive overhaul in history, why not amend HIPAA to include visiting rights for civil unions rather than change the oldest institution in history? No one would argue against amending HIPAA to include civil unions.
I agree with Nick Benson who wrote, “It is time to change the law in Ohio and uphold the rights of all of our people.” But it most certainly not necessary to change the definition of the most universal and longest standing social custom—marriage—simply to provide equal rights for civil unions. And since tax laws change every year anyway, why not amend the tax laws to provide the same benefits for civil unions that are provided for married couples. It is simply unnecessary to engage in the most divisive political fight in the history of the U. S. to solve this simple problem.
I also agree with Nick when he writes, “Our founders were wise in that they wanted limitations on government’s ability to infringe upon fundamental rights.” Our most fundamental rights are not given by civil government, they are given by God. The role of civil government is not to provide such rights, but to protect them. And marriage was established by God. Neither the U. S. Federal government nor the state of Ohio established the custom of marriage. Nor do they have the right, responsibility to change it. Civil government has no jurisdiction to amend or alter the definition of marriage, and any such effort constitutes the encroachment of civil government into religious affairs—beliefs, which is a violation of the separation of church and state.
Nick admits that same sex union or homosexuality is a function of religious belief when he wrote, “Just as the freedom of religion has been viewed as a protection against government sanctioning of religion, it is also a form of protection for those who wish to practice their own beliefs unobstructed.” And the beliefs that are here indicated are the beliefs that allow for same sex unions or homosexuality. Therefore, just as the civil government has no jurisdiction over religious beliefs, it has no jurisdiction over marriage beliefs.
For most people, marriage and religion go together. That’s why people get married in churches. So civil government should also protect those whose marriage beliefs are not religious by allowing civil unions as entirely equal to marriage in the eyes of the law. But for civil government to define marriage in any way exceeds its jurisdiction. For the Federal government or any state government to define marriage at all would constitute the establishment of a religious belief, even if that belief issues from atheism.
Because atheism is a particular belief about God it is religious in nature. “Belief in God” and “no belief in God” (or “belief in no God”) are both theological positions or beliefs and civil government has no business establishing any belief about God. And if your beliefs about gay marriage are religious, civil government still has no business establishing any belief about God—period.