Marriage is Not a Right
by Derryck Green (bio)
May was a game-changer for the national conversation on homosexual marriage.
On May 8, North Carolinans overwhelmingly voted in favor of Amendment 1. The ballot measure changed the state's constitution to define marriage as a union existing solely between a man and a woman. The approximately 61 percent to 39 percent vote in favor of the Amendment 1 makes North Carolina the 30th state to vote against homosexual marriage.
The very next day, to the surprise of exactly no one, President Barack Obama finally stated this belief: "At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me — personally — it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Of course, both of these incidents revved up the debate over the legalization of homosexual marriage and its consequences. But there are several issues regarding homosexual marriage that have yet to be given the proper discussion they deserve.
The first is the notion of "rights." Homosexual marriage advocates argue that marriage is a basic right. Denying this right to homosexuals would therefore be illegal. That's not true. There's no right to marry contained in the U.S. Constitution.
Every person who claims that the denial of the ability to marry is unconstitutional is misguided.
Getting married isn't a right. Marriage is a civil institution that all societies in history have recognized and used as the best way to legitimize, protect and raise children as well as to solidify familial and political connections.
Second, the North Carolina law doesn't unfairly deny anyone of the ability to marry. The law — and others like it — defines and recognizes marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It doesn't exclude anyone from marrying. The law treats a heterosexual person the exact same way it treats a homosexual person, with both prohibited from marrying a person of the same sex.
Traditional marriage laws simply define what constitutes a married couple. The laws are extended equally — regardless of sexual preference.
So the right that homosexual marriage proponents claim exists really does not. There is no right to marry someone of the same sex. The ability for a person to marry someone of the same sex is equally denied to everyone.
Another claim that is offered in defense of homosexual marriage is that consenting adults should be allowed to marry whomever they love. But at what point is it alright to arbitrarily move the discriminatory lines of demarcation, and how is it justified?
If it's acceptable for homosexuals to marry each other because of love and consent, then why is polygamy illegal when the parties involved are similarly in love and consenting? What about aunts and nephews or uncles and nieces when the same standards are present? If it is discrimination against homosexuals, why would it not be discrimination against these other parties?
Lastly, homosexual marriage advocates claim that legalizing homosexual marriage is a civil rights issue — equating it with the struggle to legalize interracial marriages of the past. The attempt to correlate race with sexual preferences doesn't hold up when properly scrutinized.
Legalizing interracial marriages fulfilled the legal requirement of marriage between a man and a woman because there's no difference between a white man and a black man or a white woman and a black woman. But there are enormous differences between a man and a woman, which is why there are separate bathrooms for men and women.
It's why there is an NBA and an WNBA and an PGA and an LPGA. In all the aforementioned sporting leagues, there is a logical separation by gender while races and ethnicities are not classified.
Race doesn't matter. Gender does.
The emotional desire to legalize homosexual marriage is understandable, but to do so would be to change the law for a specific group of people. That's really discrimination.
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Derryck Green, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, received a M.A. in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his doctorate in ministry at Azusa Pacific University. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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