I can’t understand the difficulty of interpreting the US Constitution in light of state or federal laws regarding marriage, even if I can understand the debates within religious communities. But I really cannot understand the difficulty of constitutional interpretation for those who claim Biblical literalism as their foundation. If the Bible is read literally, and we apply this same logic to the US Constitution, there is no wiggle room for any interpretation other than same-sex marriages must be honored by all states and the federal government.
Article 4 Section 1 is the “full faith and credit” clause which declares that each state must respect and uphold all laws of the other states. So my home state of Georgia does not respect or uphold the marriages of LGBT from other states. This is unconstitutional.
Section 2 declares that all citizens of any state are entitled to the rights of citizens in all other states. Citizens of other states should be able to visit or move to Georgia and receive the same benefits of marriage they enjoyed in their home state. But in Georgia they are not protected regarding their job, their housing, their medical visitation, their health benefits, etc. This is unconstitutional.
The 14th Amendment declares that no state may enact laws that deprive citizens of life, liberty or property. Perhaps this one needs a little elaboration for those who have not endured the deprivations. Heterosexual marriage laws provide protections and benefits for the couple that same-sex couples are deprived of: extra taxes on insurance benefits –loss of property, lack of insurance because companies will not recognize any other relationship than a heterosexual marriage—loss of economic parity and property in receiving healthcare, lack of protections for housing and employment for LGBT people—loss of liberty and property…. These are just a few examples, in broad general categories, to demonstrate that the US and state laws literally deprive LGBT citizens of life, liberty, and property. This is unconstitutional.
It’s simple, But then, I am not a lawyer. Perhaps that is why the relatively plain language of the US Constitution seems to make perfect sense to me.
Similarly, religious freedom laws are unnecessary as the US Constitution already ensures that the governments of federal and state jurisdictions may not restrict the business of religious organizations in managing their own affairs according to their own religious doctrines and religious constitutions nor may the federal or state legislators enact laws that require an individual to profess a belief in a particular deity (or none) or to proclaim a specific doctrine.
But to claim that marriage is a God-ordained institution in which the citizens must obey a specific religious understanding is clearly in conflict with the US Constitution.
And the government does oversee commerce for the well-being of all citizens. Therefore if a business provides a product to the citizens, the government is perfectly within its rights to require the business not to discriminate in providing the product to any citizen.
My buying groceries to feed my family does not mean the manager of the grocery store is affirming or disavowing my private home life. She is making money by selling a product that I as a consumer want to purchase. It is food. And cake is cake, and a house is a house, and medical attention is medical attention and… the list goes on.
But a priest cannot be compelled to oversee the religious ceremony of two people joining in marriage, license or not. On the other hand a state employee whose job it is to oversee such an exchange of vows to seal a contract through a state license is simply affirming that the two people willingly entered into a marital contract with one another. The employee is not “performing” anything. S/he is witnessing, nothing more, nothing less.
Just as the person who witnesses the driving exam provides a license to qualified drivers but makes no social judgment as to the emotional maturity of the applicant regarding their suitability for the task.
Just as they do not make judgments about the suitability of heterosexual couples who obtain marriage licenses. The state clerks are observing and making a note that is a legal documentation of the event, with no social judgment required.
Equality. It’s simple.
But then, I’m not a lawyer.