James Kerian: The Supreme Court Did Not Make You Free To Marry Whoever You Want

If you went by the reactions of those who approved of the Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday you could be led to the conclusion that some great liberation has occurred.

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You could have heard that #lovewins or that now everyone is “free to marry the person they love.”

If, however, you read the decisions or were even vaguely familiar with the actual question before the court then it would be immediately apparent that these cliche talking points have no relationship to what actually happened.  It has actually never been illegal for you to get together with anyone in front of your friends and family and to mutually promise anything to each other.  The question before the court was not about who would be allowed to get married but about what relationships state governments would recognize as marriages.

Specifically, the question before the court was whether the US Constitution requires that all state governments begin issuing marriage licenses upon request to any couple (only two people) when both would-be-spouses are of sufficient age, are not too closely related and are not currently in a legally recognized marriage… or … if the states could continue to issue marriage licenses upon request to any couple (only two people) when both would-be-spouses are of sufficient age, are not too closely related, are of opposite gender, and are not currently in a legally recognized marriage.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]…the claim that this debate is over is as dishonest (or clueless) as the claim that anyone can now get a marriage license to marry whoever they love.[/mks_pullquote]

In 2004 over seventy percent of North Dakota voters spoke for the latter view (and polling data from last fall indicates that is still the majority position) but the Supreme Court last Friday dictated the former view and enforced it throughout the country.

This, obviously, does not guarantee legal recognition for your decision to marry whoever you want. Love wasn’t actually a question before the court at all.  All that has happened is that the 5 to 4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States has enforced its view of marriage, with is own limitations and restrictions, on every state in the nation.

The newly imposed view is simply nonsensical to those of us who see unity as the reason that government recognizes marriages and gender complementarity as an essential component of that unity.  It would be as if the Supreme Court declared that state governments must recognize all the residents of England to be US citizens.  I don’t hate the English.  I’m rather fond of them, actually, but they simply don’t have the relationship to me or my fellow countrymen that a US citizen has just as a relationship without gender complementarity is simply not the same thing as a marriage.

The half of the country that disagrees with me (either on unity or gender complementarity or both) seems quite confident that the discussion is now over.  According to their script the half of the country (and four ninths of the court) that lost is now going to simply wither away and disappear the way all those racists did after Brown vs Board of Education.

Don’t bet on it.  The decision has been roundly criticized by each GOP presidential candidate including Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and even just about all of the candidates who are really in the race just to sell books or to get time on TV.  The list of Supreme Court decisions that have been revisited and overruled is a lot longer than you might be led to believe by the boasting from the left this past weekend.  The left didn’t pack it up and quit trying to give the government control over all political spending after they lost Citizens United.  They know there are no permanent victories/defeats in American politics, whatever they may be pretending right now.

The view of marriage held by a majority of North Dakotans took it on the chin last Friday.  But the claim that this debate is over is as dishonest (or clueless) as the claim that anyone can now get a marriage license to marry whoever they love.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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