II - The Proposed Federal Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage is Contrary to the Basic Principles of American Democracy (continued)C) The Purpose of the Constitution is to Protect Human Rights
Every active amendment to the U.S. Constitution, without fail, was written to protect some specific or nonspecific group of people--the press, religious sects, racial minority groups, and so forth. It empowers people. The only amendment that didn't empower people was the Eighteenth Amendment, mandating Prohibition--and we repealed that one.
States regulate. Laws regulate. The Constitution deregulates. It untangles. It liberates. It takes power away from the government and gives it to the people, not the other way around. And it must do so in order to honor the words of the Declaration of Independence, which stated the purpose of government quite clearly:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ... [and] that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.If we amend the Constitution to restrict rights, rather than to protect them, we set an ominous precedent.
III - Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Does Not Harm Heterosexual Marriage
A) It Has Had No Apparent Negative Effect on Heterosexual Marriage Abroad
In countries where same-sex marriage has been legalized--Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain--the rate of heterosexual marriage stability has either gone up, remained stable, or declined consistent with other countries in the region that do not recognize same-sex marriage.
Many critics of same-sex marriage cite the work of Stanley Kurtz, a pundit at the right-wing Hoover Institution (which describes him in his official bio as an "outspoken combatant in America's culture wars"). Kurtz argues that gay marriage in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden has destroyed the institution of heterosexual marriage. There are several problems with his work, most notably that:
- Same-sex marriage isn't actually legal in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. These countries have domestic partnership laws, comparable to those of California and Vermont.
- Marriage decline in Scandinavian nations is comparable to marriage decline in other relatively affluent European nations that do not legally recognize same-sex relationships, such as France and Germany.
- Marriage decline has been ongoing for decades, and does not correlate to legal recognition of same-sex relationships.