Many people are celebrating the ruling from the US Supreme Court which makes same-sex marriage legal across the country. Some people, like Ted Cruz, say the ruling marks “one of the darkest hours of our nation.”
There are many sound bites from supporters and opponents of the issue. However the ruling itself recognizes marriage as a fundamental right. The majority opinion states, “The challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and they abridge central precepts of equality. The marriage laws at issue are in essence unequal: Same-sex couples are denied benefits afforded opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right.” Adding, “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”
Fundamental rights are not something that should be regulated or licensed. But what exactly are fundamental rights? It could be argued that the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are the fundamental rights, and they are the ones specified in the Declaration of Independence. I would expound to say that anything that is does not cause a real victim is a fundamental right. I say real victim to differentiate between the imagined victim of “society” as the victim if x is allowed to happen unhindered.
Supporters of freedom believe that no person or group has more rights than any other person or group. Meaning that if I have a fundamental right to do a certain thing, everyone else has that same right. There is, however a difference between someone being able to exercise a right – which governments often prevent – and the person actually having the right. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can exercise their fundamental right to get married. Jesse Kline of the National Post wrote, “the central question… is whether the state should be dictating the domestic arrangements of consenting adults.” I say: “NO!” If two consenting adults can get married, then any number of consenting adults should be allowed to do so, as long as the relationship remains consensual. If a man and woman wish to get married, and either partner wishes to bring another person into the relationship, they should legally be allowed to do so, as long as the relationship remains consensual.
The Supreme Court ruling which allows same-sex couples to legally marry may be a small step forward in equal protection under the law for a small group, though it is two steps back in removing government interference in people’s lives and relationships. One can only hope that at some point, governments begin removing licensing and regulations over personal matters.