Otherwise, the appeal amounts to nothing more than a request that homosexual partners be allowed to call themselves what they want to call themselves regardless of the differences that exist in reality. There is no civil rights discrimination being practiced against a youngster who is not allowed the identity of a college student because she is not qualified to enter college. Thus it is not marriage.
If this happens, we will need to pay close attention to the consequences. Moreover, marriage is something people of all faiths and no faith engage in. The point is that even in contract law, the law plays only a limited role in the relationship. The only thing that will change is that the law will mistakenly use the word "marriage" to refer to two different kinds of sexually intimate human relationships. And to join that debate one must appeal, by moral argument, to grounds that transcend the law as it now exists. No, this debate is about whether the law that now defines marriage is itself good or bad, right or wrong. Thus it is not marriage. It is a version of an appeal for the protection of free speech, and in this case it is a demand that the speech of particular persons carry the authority to define the structure of reality without regard to the basis of past legal judgments. Discover More About Public Justice: Subscribe to our mailing list. Nor would equal treatment of citizens before the law require a court to conclude that those of us who pray before the start of auto races should be allowed to redefine our auto clubs as churches. The appeal now being made for homosexual marriage rights is not an appeal for judges and lawmakers to reconsider past empirical judgments about similarities and differences between heterosexual and homosexual relationships. If, that is, anyone is interested in crafting the law to do justice to reality. The simple fact is that the civil right of equal treatment cannot constitute social reality by declaration. Those who now argue that same-sex couples should be included, as a matter of civil right, within the legal definition of marriage are appealing to the constitutional principles of equal protection and equal treatment. But this is entirely inappropriate for making the case for same-sex "marriage. Otherwise, the appeal amounts to nothing more than a request that homosexual partners be allowed to call themselves what they want to call themselves regardless of the differences that exist in reality. Which means henceforth that there will be no legal basis for restrictions against a homosexual couple obtaining children in any way they choose, for such restrictions would constitute discrimination. Rather, it is about whether homosexual relationships should be identified as having the structure of marriage, and only after that can civil rights considerations emerge about how citizens should be treated fairly with respect to marriage. Those who want church weddings can have them, but marriage is a matter of civil law. Law that is just must begin by properly recognizing and distinguishing identities and differences in reality in order to be able to give each its legal due. In that regard, the question of marriage is not about a civil right at all. The question behind marriage, in other words, is a structural one that precedes lawmaking. It is about the nature of reality and interpretations of reality that precede the law. Rather the antidiscrimination principle is being used to ask that no citizen be denied the right to call something what he or she wants to call it. Because if it is now arbitrary and unjust to recognize heterosexual marriage as something exclusive and different from homosexual relationships, then it will be arbitrary and unjust not to grant the request of other partners to call their sexually intimate and enduring relationships marriage. For thousands of years, marriage law has concerned itself with a particular kind of enduring bond between a man and a woman that includes sexual intercourse—the kind of act that can but does not always lead to the woman's pregnancy.
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