The word ‘marriage’ is not important to the ‘right to marry. ’So says California’s Supreme Justice in “re Marriage Cases“:
“Whether or not the name “marriage,” in the abstract, is considered a core element of the state constitutional right to marry… (p. 81)”
To this court marriage is nothing more than the rights conferred upon it by the state. Marriage, that is, the right to join in marriage, has a special recognition in law simply because marriage is prior to and independent of any right any state can confer upon it. The state must recognize marriage as it exists independently of government and its ideologies. Why? Because, if California was correct in recognizing a constitutional right to marry in Perez versus California, then marriage, like freedom of religion and freedom of speech, is a constitutional liberty and an inalienable right of free people. To diminish the full recognition of marriage in our laws is to diminish the recognition of who we are as people, a free people.
Here they go again:
“We have no occasion in this case to determine whether the state constitutional right to marry necessarily affords all couples the constitutional right to require the state to designate their official family relationship a “marriage” (p.80)
Of course the court was lured into revealing its deep-seated lunacy, in all the regal beauty of this linguistic conundrum, by what sounds (according to the court’s paraphrasing) like an equally loony argument by the California attorney general:
“or whether, as the Attorney General suggests, the Legislature would not violate a couple’s constitutional right to marry if perhaps in order to emphasize and clarify that this civil institution (marriage) is distinct from the religious institution of marriage it were to assign a name other than marriage as the official designation of the family relationship for all couples”(p. 80)
As this court has proven, names, indeed words themselves, are meaningless when, left to the divine wisdom of these supreme judges who wrest them naked and reeling from their legislative history, civil rights context, and timeless reality. Call it what you want, marriage is a compact, a commitment between two people (two people who can marry) in which the natural realities of who we are as human beings, male and female together, are appropriately cherished and exalted. Marriages can be good or bad. People in them will be good or bad as husbands and wives. Nonetheless, it is the ability to join in marriage that is at the core of the right to marry. This is the core of every other right that governments rightly or wrongly confer or withhold from those who marry. This contract between two people who are so joined, exists without the help or hindrance of government, and it is this human thing that is the center of any rights governments choose to recognize or ignore.
Marriage is not injured at all by history’s discoveries and failures in regard to the meaning of that union. However, societies have revealed themselves in their virtues or their failings by their regard for marriage. How are we doing as a society, and just what does this travesty say about us as a people?