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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gay marriage ban supremely unconsitutional

    Yusra Tekbaliassistant news editor
    Yusra Tekbali
    assistant news editor

    Any conservative Republican will tell you that marriage and family life are the bedrocks of American society. Indeed, many Americans, no matter their political affiliation, will find it difficult to disagree. But what happens when the definition of marriage relies on the sexual preference of the individual?

    This issue is what has kept Congress in a red vs. blue tug-of-war over the past few months. The June 7 vote for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage unsurprisingly failed to muster enough support, only serving to further divide the Senate. The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become ratified, it needed two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then would have to be approved by at least 38 state legislatures. This year the Senate voted 49-48 against the amendment and was short 11 out of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate and bring the issue to a close. There was no increase in support since the last time the Senate voted on the matter in 2004.

    Currently, 45 states have either a constitutional amendment or a statute preserving traditional marriage laws: 19 with constitutional amendments and 26 with statutes. In a recent Gallup Poll, 50 percent of Americans said they supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage, while 47 percent oppose it. In that same poll, Americans ranked gay marriage as only the 33rd most important issue facing the nation.

    While it seems clear that most Americans aren’t demanding a change in traditional marriage laws, almost half oppose changing the nation’s constitution.

    So why are Republicans in the Senate complicating the issue by insisting the federal government get involved? Well, for one, this is an election year and focusing on gay marriage diverts attention away from the mess in Iraq, high gas prices, health care and the national debt. There is no doubt that many members of Congress and a majority of Americans believe that traditional marriage is the best way to raise children and perhaps in turn, form society. However, this is a personal belief that has no business being debated at the federal level. Because America is a secular society, its Christian roots cannot be used as evidence that same-sex marriage is illegal. Senators in favor of banning gay marriage have essentially provided no other reason for the ban other than they believe it to be wrong.

    Regardless of whether or not we are proponents of homosexuality, we can not, in good faith, substitute our own morality for the constitution and the founding principles
    of this nation.

    After all, saying that marriage is between a man and a woman, or that same-sex marriage isn’t ideal for raising a family, is in the end, a personal belief.

    Regardless of whether or not we are proponents of homosexuality, we cannot, in good faith, substitute our own morality for the constitution and the founding principles of this nation.

    Same-sex relationships already exist, regardless of whether or not the law allows them a formal marriage. A ban on gay marriage will not quell homosexuality or provide the remedy sought by those who oppose it. Privacy and tolerance are values that should be upheld by the law. That’s what happened last June in Lawrence v. Texas, when judges ruled that anti-sodomy laws were against the individual’s constitutuional right to choose whom to have sex with, reasoning that the law should help define liberty, not impose its own moral code.

    The amendment to ban gay marriage is, in reality, a way to ensure that the beliefs of some Americans be upheld. The saddest moment of our history as a nation begins when we refuse to ensure the rights of all Americans.

    As the late Sen. Barry Goldwater said, the government “”ought to be kept off our backs, out of our pocketbooks and out of our bedrooms.””

    Yusra Tekbali is a journalism and Near Eastern studies senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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