The Supreme Court is set to make a ruling any time now, possibly even today, on gay marriage. One of the particular matters in question is whether it is constitutional for states that don’t recognize gay marriage not to recognize the unions of homosexual couples who were “married” in other, pro-gay-marriage states.
Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, is quoted in Friday’s Washington Post as saying, “Equal protection means that every family should have access to the same protections they need regardless of state borders.”
A liberal commenter on my site gave me the same argument: the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law, renders unconstitutional any ban on gay marriage.
The problem with this argument is that the Fourteenth Amendment was written with slavery in mind, not state-sanctioned sodomy. But let’s humor the argument; after all, the Equal Protection clause does not specify any law, but implies that it applies to all laws in general. Even still, the argument simply does not hold; every single person in America does have the right to get married regardless of gay-marriage laws.
The law is that men may only marry women, women may only marry men, and there may be only one of each per marriage. It does not matter if the man is straight or gay; he may only marry a woman. I, a straight man, am subject to the exact same restrictions on marriage, the exact same law, that gay men are: I may only marry a woman. This happens to work for me and happens to be unfortunate for gay men who choose not to exercise their legal right to marry a woman.
It’s like people who enjoy hallucinogenic drugs. Marijuana, for example, is a hallucinogen that’s legal in California, but psilocybin mushrooms are not. Is it then a “civil right” for the people who enjoy these mushrooms but have a strong distaste for marijuana to have their drug of choice be legalized? Are they being discriminated against? They may take hallucinogens, but it just so happens that they choose not to partake of the legal one.
Gays may get married, but it just so happens that they choose not to partake of the legal kind.
In other news, I am nominating myself to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy upon his retirement.