Virginia Gay Marriage Ban On Wrong Side of History
The Fourteenth Amendment does not guarantee gays the right to marry. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the equal protection clause does not mean that governments must treat its citizens blindly. For instance, the Fourteenth Amendment does not guarantee that children, as United States citizens, can drive, vote, smoke, and marry as they please. Age, like race or sexual preference, is no more a choice than one’s height, yet discrimination is allowed. In Craig v Boren, the Supreme Court made it clear that gender discrimination cases
“[M]ust substantially further important governmental objectives.” Some may argue that marriage as a government objective beyond procreation remains ambiguous.
But they’re wrong.
In Virginia, marriage is about consenting adults intertwining their lives. Property and pensions acquired during the marriage are considered equally owned by both parties unless otherwise defined. Spouses can be called upon for debts that their partner incurred. Spouses receive power of attorney. They get joint tax incomes. All of these benefits, provided by Virginia, have nothing to do with children, but with freedom of contract.
If Virginia recognizes these benefits associated with marriage – a right as defined in Meyer v. Nebraska – then let these consenting adults marry for love. I agree with Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael: Upholding the gay marriage ban would force the state to stand on the wrong side of history. I hope to be a member of the first Southern state to legalize gay marriage in the coming weeks.
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