Punt, pass or kick? That's a decision that collectively the U.S. Supreme Court has to wrestle with relative to same-sex marriage. There are indications they may "kick the can" down the road; justices have asked questions about whether or not this is a constitutional issue.
Currently, we have a mixed bag of states that allow same-sex marriage and those that don't allow same-sex marriage. It's true that the 10th Amendment gives states those powers that are not part of the Constitution, nor prohibited by the Constitution. It would seem that the Constitution does not prohibit same-sex marriage but the justices are being asked to decide whether it can be prohibited.
The individual states have passed laws regulating gun ownership, gambling, drug use and many other issues. To illustrate the complexity of same-sex marriage, suppose that you are a gun advocate and you move to a state that has stricter gun laws; you can adjust your actions to comply. If you are in a legal same-sex marriage and move to a state that doesn't recognize its legality, what are your options? You could divorce, move to another state or suffer the consequences of an illegal marriage. The issue is further complicated when there are adopted children involved.
There is a strong belief that marriage should be reserved for the union of "one man and one woman." Wise men have for centuries written about marriage; a 14th century theologian wrote, "In the long history of man on earth, no institution has been more admired nor more sought after than the institution of marriage." These sentiments are universal among traditional marriage advocates. Traditional marriage is also seen as a "sacrament," blessed by God, and the cornerstone of society. Given the rising divorce rate and deterioration of traditional families, the high court may consider whether man has failed, or the institution of marriage has failed, and whether that impacts advocacy of same-sex marriage.
It is interesting to note that as religious elements of traditional marriage decline, those who indicate that they have no religious affiliation increases, particularly among the elite and highly educated.
One argument heard from pro same-sex marriage advocates is "love is love" and who can argue with that. We love our parents, our brother, sister, grandparents and neighbors. We love our dog, cat, horse, and pets; for some of us the love of a dog is practically unbounded, we'd do anything for them; suffer their bad behavior, their messes, broken limbs, fleas and ticks because we truly love a pet. We probably don't give any thought to marrying them.
The question seems to be, is the love of someone of the same sex enough to justify "marriage?" Same-sex unions can accomplish most of the same goals as a traditional marriage. A permanent loving relationship can be established, security enhanced, a child can be adopted, cared for, educated and provided the love of two parents. If you are sufficiently mentally malleable you can apply most any benefit of traditional marriage to that of a same-sex marriage -- except one.
Adding to the impetus to make same-sex marriage legal is the simple fact that it is "forbidden," which automatically makes it desirable. There is no more powerful force than to overcome a banned act as the debate over our porous borders attest to.
Perhaps the gay community wants more than anything to be respected, to be treated equally, to have a secure relationship with a loving partner. There is no good reason this shouldn't be achievable. There is also reason to doubt that "marriage" will accomplish the goals of same-sex marriage advocates any better than would civil unions. Polls show that the younger generation view same-sex marriage more favorably than do their elders. This would be significant except that the same generation cite comedian Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show" as the "newsman" that they get most of their news from.
The legal decision on same-sex marriage should be given careful scrutiny. It is an issue that affects all of us. There are present-day considerations and there are those of tradition and sanctity. You would expect that Supreme Court justices would exercise their considerable wisdom for the good of the country. They can make a decision that brings clarity out of confusion of they can "punt" the question in the air, "pass" it to another entity or "kick" it down the road. One certain outcome is that not everyone will be pleased. It seems there are real questions about marriage being a constitutional issue; I see a "punt" by the Supremes.
Reynolds lives in Pleasant View.