Chief Justice John Roberts was among the dissenting voices.
“This Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise ‘neither force nor will but merely judgment.’ ”
“Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening.”
“The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. … The Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?”
“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
Respectfully, Chief Justice Roberts, the Constitution had everything to do with it.
SECTION. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Where is the confusion? U.S. citizens — born or naturalized — have the same rights regardless of the State in which they live, and they have equal protection under the law.
Nowhere does it mention “unless you interpret scripture differently,” or “unless you are a man wanting to marry a man,” or “unless you are a woman wanting to marry a woman,” or anything else.
It’s a beautifully simple passage that gives everyone the right to live their lives, within the laws, as they see fit.
The 14th Amendment, for whatever reason, was necessary even after the Preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
To wit, we also needed to add several other amendments because, for whatever reason, the Preamble was not taken at face value. So it began with the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
So there’s the end-all on gay marriage infringing upon religion. It cannot happen. Period. You and I are free to believe in our God, His word without fear of tight-white-T-shirt-wearing rainbow warriors descending upon our churches with visions of pastels, umbrella drinks, or little dogs that fit into purses. (Apologies to my gay friends for not coming up with more offensive, over-the-top examples of the stereotype; I actually like umbrella drinks. That doesn’t make me … nah.)
However, it was necessary through the years that the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th amendments were put into law to further protect everyone’s civil rights, not just those with religion overtones.
• Abolished slavery — even after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
• Expanded protections under the Constitution, granting U.S. citizenship to former slaves and to people “subject to U.S. jurisdiction.” In addition, it says a State shall not violate a citizen’s privileges or immunities; shall not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and must guarantee everyone equal protection under the law.
• Guaranteed the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Basically, it gave former slaves the right to vote.
• Gave women the right to vote. … Really, blacks and former slaves were provided the right to vote (1870) 50 years before women (1920).
• Gave people in the District of Columbia the right to vote. … This did away with the whole “taxation without representation” thingy — you know, the same thing we’d gotten pissed off with Mother England about so many year earlier.
• Nixed the poll tax, which was a sneaky way to prohibit low-income people from voting.
• Changed the federal voting age from 21 to 18. … Thank you, Vietnam War protestors; if you can draft an 18-year-old to war, he should at least be able to vote for — or against — those who represent him.
Justice Anthony Kennedy was eloquent in his majority opinion:
“The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition, but rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.”
“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Now it is time to turn our attention to more pressing issues: protecting our children, adoption, sex slavery, global human rights, animal rights — just look around and there will be something for which you can champion a cause.
Friday was a memorable day for many. As Chief Justice Roberts said, celebrate. For the Constitution, which now further protects everyone, it was another day at the office.