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Communities Define Marriage - Tyranny Cannot Successfully Impose a Definition
Chief Justice Roberts dissents
Dissent: "Has nothing to do with Constitution"
"This court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in dissent. Roberts read a summary of his dissent from the bench, the first time he has done so in nearly 10 years as chief justice, reports the Associated Press.
"If you are among the many Americans - of whatever sexual orientation - who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision," Roberts said. "But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
Marriage and Community
What is Marriage? What role does community & State play?
Marriage has had a long history of being man and woman. Recognized by communities of people around the globe, whether governmental licenses were used or not. According to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute:
"In the English common law tradition from which our legal doctrines and concepts have developed, a marriage was a contract based upon a voluntary private agreement by a man and a woman to become husband and wife."
If a marriage exists as the agreement between two people, one might think these could be of opposite or the same sex. Not necessarily. In addition to marriage contracts is the community recognizing it as legitimate.
Standards of acceptance can appear in law or not. The community's actual standards for acceptance may be tyrannically abolished by legislative, executive or judicial decree. But the community validation still comes, or does not, from the people of that community.
That is, the communities still determine whether the private agreement is in fact an acceptable marriage or not. And communities' standards are their own, regardless of what outsiders, or other authorities outside that community may think.
This can be illustrated by citing the answer to a question directed to an ancient community that likely pre-dates English Common Law and still exists today... the Roman Catholic Church. It once existed as the sole arbitrator in communities in Europe and elsewhere on the issue. The question:
"Can we get married by a justice of the peace in a civil ceremony and then have a Catholic wedding?"
"The Church does not recognize a civil wedding ceremony as valid when one or both people are Catholic. If a couple are married in a civil ceremony, the Catholic person(s) are asked to refrain from receiving the Eucharist until the marriage is recognized as valid by the Church. The reason for this, in a nutshell, is that the Church recognizes marriage as a spiritual reality, not just a piece of paper or a legal formality." See more
So even in this situation of one Catholic marrying another or a non-Catholic, the Church community does not recognize civil marriage as marriagethe couple is expelled from communion, considered in a sinful fornication/cohabitation - until married in the church.
Not to say that marriage is always religious
Many societies guided the institution of marriage to suit other views not religious. The traditions of the society may put no religious attachment on marriage. As shown here:
"Buddhist Views on Marriage
"In Buddhism, marriage is regarded as entirely a personal, individual concern and not as a religious duty.
"Marriage is a social convention, an institution created by man for the well-being and happiness of man, to differentiate human society from animal life and to maintain order and harmony in the process of procreation. Even though the Buddhist texts are silent on the subject of monogamy or polygamy, the Buddhist laity is advised to limit themselves to one wife. The Buddha did not lay rules on married life but gave necessary advice on how to live a happy married life. There are ample inferences in His sermons that it is wise and advisable to be faithful to one wife and not to be sensual and to run after other women." See More
That was the Buddhist view of marriage, but also the truth behind many of its observations on how it affects the community, is made clear when you consider the attempt in the now defunct Soviet Union to abolish marriage:
"When the Bolsheviki came into power in 1917 they regarded the family, like every other 'bourgeois' institution, with fierce hatred, and set out with a will to destroy it. 'To clear the family out of the accumulated dust of the ages we had to give it a good shakeup, and we did,' declared Madame Smidovich, a leading Communist and active participant in the recent discussion. So one of the first decrees of the Soviet Government abolished the term 'illegitimate children.' This was done simply by equalizing the legal status of all children, whether born in wedlock or out of it, and now the Soviet Government boasts that Russia is the only country where there are no illegitimate children. The father of a child is forced to contribute to its support, usually paying the mother a third of his salary in the event of a separation, provided she has no other means of livelihood.
"At the same time a law was passed which made divorce a matter of a few minutes, to be obtained at the request of either partner in a marriage. Chaos was the result. Men took to changing wives with the same zest which they displayed in the consumption of the recently restored forty-per-cent vodka." The Atlantic, July 1926. See article
It goes on to note the tremendous growth of street kids, their development into various undesirable elements that harmed the community.
When the majority of a community no longer defines its laws, and minorities do - and forbid certain religious views - is this not tyranny? Remember, diverse communities, Buddhist to Christian, Islam, as well as other faiths and billions of people count heterosexual marriage as the only "marriage".
When advantages in taxes, etc., were added to that designation, it set marriage up as a target. When the government gets out of an essentially religious function of defining marriage and other sacraments of religions - ending such benefits or granting them to all associations - perhaps we can have some social and political peace on this issue.