Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some thoughts on DOMA

Pres. Obama's recent decision to cease defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act has opened the door for some interesting conversations.

So, in the words of out fearless leader, "let me be clear."

I've mentioned on two TAC website posts that I agree with Obama's decision. And I do. Although for completely different reasons. I hold DOMA unconstitutional because there exists no enumerated power giving Congress the authority to regulate marriage. Therefore, under the 10th Amendment, those decisions should remain at the state level.

But the DOJ uses different reasoning, arguing same-sex marriage should receive the same rights and protections as traditional marriages across the U.S.under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This simply represents another shade of federal regulations and stretches the amendment far beyond its intent. The feds have no more authority to require same-sex marriage than they do forbid it. Again, each state should resolve the matter as it sees fit and determine for itself how it defines and handles the institution of marriage.

I don't think the government has any business involved with marriage at any level. Marriage primarily exists as a religious institution. I am married to my wife before God and I don't really need the state's permission, thank you very much. And quite frankly, I don't think it's any of the state's business if my next door neighbor wants to marry a man. The moral issue remains between that couple and God.

Problems arise because state and federal governments bestow benefits on married people.

At the federal level, married couples enjoy a tax advantage. Create a simplified tax system that treats everybody the same and that problem goes away.

But at the state level, a myriad of issues exist around marriage, including inheritance, child rearing, health care decision making and other benefits. In my opinion, same-sex couples should enjoy these benefits if they enter into a domestic partnership - in essence a civil contract.

So from a political standpoint, I would advocate for a domestic partnership policy that grants the same rights to any domestic partnership...whether it be traditional or same-sex. My wife and I would continue to benefit from our partnership and same-sex couples would also enjoy the same civil treatment.

Keep in mind, this happens at the state level, with each state deciding if it does or doesn't want to create such a policy. Sorry Fed, you have no invitation to this party.

The state doesn't need to "define" marriage at all. It simply needs to protect property and contractual rights.

Let the Church go about doing its job in defining what marriage really is. It seems to me that Christian people spend way too much time trying to get the government do what the Church should be doing. After all, Christ commanded believers to go make disciples, not go out and create a government to force people into conformity.

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