Letter: Marriage should be issue for states

By Marvin Pelon

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The hot topic on the national news lately has been the U.S. Supreme Court hearings on California’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage. Through much of the commentary I have heard ran the activist’s claims of denial of their constitutional right to marry the person that they love. I assume that since they are having their hearing in federal court, they are referring to the U.S. Constitution.

The constitution of the United States is a rare and wonderful document. It is one that can be read in a relatively short amount of time, and, one which is written in fairly unambiguous language which is comparatively easy to comprehend. It would take a highly trained attorney to look at this document and come away with something other than what is contained on its pages.

After an admittedly quick scan of the constitution, I can find no article or section that relates to same-sex marriage, or, for that matter, any other type of marriage. Unless things have changed drastically over the past few years, marriage is a contract that is licensed by the individual states and one that is sanctioned by an individual specified with that authority by the individual states.

This, of course, sets aside the various religious aspects that may or may not be associated with the consummation of this contract. For legal considerations, as a licensed activity, as far as I am concerned, marriage is a privilege much like driving or conducting a business or other activity, wherein the state requires the participants to be licensed. Love, for all of its desirability, is not even specified as a prerequisite for this activity. Dissolving that contract or otherwise relieving the participants of their legal obligations also requires state (court) action, such as divorce.

With all of this in mind, I find it hard to believe that this issue is even being considered on a federal level since it is clearly a matter of state regulatory authority. The other wonderful thing about this country as it was founded is that if an individual is upset with the laws of the state or county within which he/she resides, that individual is completely free to move to an area where laws and standards are more to that person’s liking.



Many federal benefits are

Many federal benefits are tied to marital status. The IRS allows married couples to file jointly. Spouses of military members are entitled to federally provided healthcare. The IRS does not allow citizens to file taxes with a status that would be contrary to their state laws. So a same sex married couple could only file jointly if they lived in a state that recognized that marriage. Many people (military for example) have no choice where they live. If a military member is married to a person of the same gender and gets transferred to a state that doesn't recognize the marriage, the military member would be penalized through no fault of his/her own. I agree that marriage and what constitutes a marriage should be left up to the states but some of federal rules and regulations inevitably intrude.

I believe you have summarized

I believe you have summarized this situation quite succinctly. I totally share the same opinion.

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