The House of Representatives yesterday struck down a proposed Constitutional amendment that implied certain people do not have the right to be happy. The gay marriage ban amendment was struck down 227-186, closing the door on the petty amendment proposed by social conservatives and backed by President Bush.
The revision, which would have stated that a marriage “shall consist only of a man and a woman,” is trivial at best. Amendments to the United States Constitution should be aimed at direct governance of the country, not toward the personal lives of the country’s citizens.
The Constitution is a document that is celebrated for its protection of individual rights. Its words set precedent for social mores and act as a guide for judicial rulings. One thing it should never include is a blatant infringement on the lives of a minority population.
The 14th amendment, with its broad wording and overarching protection, gave rights to freed slaves after reconstruction. A portion of the amendment reads, “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.”
That novel idea was instituted in 1868.
Republican Roscoe Bartlett, representing neighboring Maryland and a supporter of the proposal, said on its behalf, “God created Adam and Eve, he didn’t create Adam and Steve.”
That novel idea was spoken yesterday.
Though supporters of the ban declared that it “was designed to protect an institution as old as civilization itself” the measure would have propelled the nation backwards into an abyss of hatred and blatant disrespect.
The institution of marriage, now mired by a divorce rate consistently hovering around 50 percent, is not under serious threat if homosexuals exercise the option to legally declare their vows.
Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay Democrat from Massachusetts, rebutted the claims that the amendment was imperative to save the model of a functional family.
“We feel love and we feel it in a way different than you,” Frank said. “We feel it with someone of the same sex, male or female, and we look at your institution of marriage and we see the joy it brings. How do we hurt you when we share it?”
The same words were encompassed by the actions of our Founding Fathers, those who participated in the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, and those advocating legal homosexual unions.
Though all groups spotlighted different concerns and varying agendas, all were persecuted by those struggling to maintain the status quo. The aforementioned groups were innovative and fought extremely hard to achieve their goals. But above everything, they all won.
Family, friends and supporters of homosexual marriage, as well as proponents of the inalienable rights the country was founded on should consider the ruling a victory.