Letter to the Editor

Everyone has the same constitutional rights

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dear Editor:

I am writing this in response to another letter to the editor I saw regarding gay marriage. Though the argument was framed as a religious one, with several Bible verses included, I'm going to go a different route with it, though I will be quoting a very old source as well. Besides, I'm not out to attack anyone's beliefs, just to support the rights of others.

I'll start with the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The last part's the important part of my argument. No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Since straight people are legally allowed to get married, it is unconstitutional to prevent my LGBT friends from doing the same. Married straight couples are also granted several tax breaks and other benefits as a result of their union that are denied to gay couples, which falls into this area as well.

The second part of the Constitution I will quote is the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The first line of that is that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. While I do my best to show respect for people of all faiths, and grew up in church myself, I take that line to mean that if laws are made based on religious readings and beliefs, that means making laws that respect the establishment of a particular religion. Again, this is unconstitutional.

Lastly, it is often said that same-sex marriage would destroy the sanctity of marriage. I just don't understand this one. I haven't heard of religious groups saying the same thing with such conviction about people like Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline getting married and then divorcing shortly after.

I haven't seen the same effort to constitutionally ban drive-through weddings in Vegas where people can get heavily intoxicated, get married, wake up the next day deciding it was a bad idea, and go pick up their divorce papers at the same place.

I think it's time we start minding our own business as we all demand others do at one time or another. Whether George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek), Ellen Degeneres, Ian McKellen (Gandolf and Magneto), or any other completely normal human being wants to get married to the person they love, regardless of gender, I say we let them. I'm guessing we'll all still wake up to see the sun rise the next day.

Joel Jeffries