Gay Marriage and Constitutional Amendments: Why Fred(!)’s Right and the Religious Right Isn’t

James Dobson, many others within the Conservative Christian movement, and several blogtrolls I know have bemoaned Fred(!) Thompson’s stated unwillingness to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  Though Thompson has said he would quickly veto any attempt to legislate a pro-gay-marriage bill (a bill such as what any member of the Democratic panel would happily introduce and/or sign), he is hesitant to wrest government authority over marriage away from the states. 

Though Fred(!) is committed to the strengthening of families, he recognizes that such strength can be neither found in nor dependent upon the hands of federal government.  As his website states, Thompson is committed to “Returning authority to the levels of government closest to families and communities—the states—and then protecting states from further intrusion by the federal government, the judiciary, and other states.”

Though Thompson’s reasoning here is fairly self-explanatory, I’ll expound a little here.  Marriage, strictly and traditionally speaking, doesn’t belong with government.  Steve Mount at USConstitution.net points out that the reason marriage came under government purview at all was as a way to keep order over the benefits of the civil union.  In the US, however, marriage is regulated state-by-state, in order to allow for greater individual liberty. 

The Federal government does not exist to regulate marriage — nor should it.  In fact, it boggles my mind that the Religious Right would even want it to!  Marriage belongs rightly in the hands of God — on earth, that means the hands of the Church (or, for my pluralist friends, the hands of religion in general).  By leaving the issue with the State, Fred Thompson, and those of his mindset, are leaving it closer to the individuals — where it belongs.  Marriage is an individual choice, and an individual issue.  As the church, I say we stand strong.  In the state level, absolutely fight for your beliefs.  But the State level is where the issue belongs, if it must remain with government at all.

Thompson’s plan — the one that has the Dobson’s of the world all hot and bothered — is to not only leave it in the hands of individual states, but also to keep those states, and federal judges and other government figures, from imposing their wills on other sovereign states.  In other words, though the people of Massechussetts support gay marriage, such a union could not be imposed or enforced on Michigan, say, who may not.  Is it as good as removing the issue from government entirely?  I don’t think so.  But it will do for now.

Remember, bigger government = less freedom.  Smaller government = more freedom.  A constitutional amendment is both a rash and unnecessary move — and it grows the power of federal government well beyond what was ever intended.

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2 Responses to “Gay Marriage and Constitutional Amendments: Why Fred(!)’s Right and the Religious Right Isn’t”

  1. Well how does it feel to be right 90% of the time. The problem with leaving a conterversial issue like this up to the states is a couple states that would pass Gay marrage with open Arms (Can we say Calafornia, America’s very own Sodem) For us to be a truly unified country and not just a loose confederation of states we need to live under some basic guidlines one being we need to accept the Marrages from other states. If you put it 100 % in the hands of the states, the States would decide 46 or 47 states would ban Gay marrage. Those that didnt would be ok for a while but how long before they stop acknowlodging maggages from other states. WHat next Driver Liscense or any other number of other things one state would not have to legally accept. People are Small, People are Petty. This would be a mess

    Saying this however I fully support Fred Thompson. As hes 90+ % right on the issues. We do need to decrease federal government we do need to return power to the States. This just inst an issue we can do that with

  2. Respectfuly, I disagree. Other than the possibility that some states wouldn’t “acknowledge” a marriage from another (which, A, is unlikely, and B, I don’t see as a problem worthy of any attention), I fail to see any issues with this.

    By ignoring the States’ rights to deal with this issue as they see fit, you further limit personal liberty. In order for me to see maintaining a federalist stance on this issue as a bad thing, you’d first have to convince me that the above is necessary, that a constitutional amendment is warrented, and that gay marriage in some way threatens the life, liberty or property of others.

    Good luck with that. 😉

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