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The Opt-Out Option on Marriage

Marriage between one man and woman remains the most critical relationship in Western Civilization, as it forms the foundation of our society and the cradle in which children best develop and grow. I have been a lifelong advocate of the importance of man-woman monogamy, and have supported the state recognizing this life and structure-giving relationship in our laws and culture. Over the past ten years, however, we have witnessed the most aggressive, coordinated assault on this institution of any such assault in the history of our nation. Today, to believe in man-woman marriage is labeled hate and bigotry, which prompts a vicious legal response. Marriage could be lost, buried under a mountain of litigation and court rulings.

This is why I am willing to accept something that, even ten years ago, I would have called an unacceptable compromise.

In the 2004 presidential election, then-President George W. Bush was calling for a constitutional amendment at the federal level that would have defined marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman. Critics at the time derided President Bush’s proposal as unnecessary and overbearing, citing numerous state marriage laws and constitutional amendments as sufficient. It looks like President Bush was prescient to the coming problem we now have with the federal judiciary. Instead of passing a constitutional amendment back in 2004, the US is now faced with the very real prospect of the Supreme Court creating a “constitutional” right (where none exists) to same-sex marriage that would be forced-down on all 50 states. We have come full-circle in as few as eleven years.
Should the US Supreme Court create a right to same-sex marriage, thus nullifying 35 state marriage laws and amendments, I support South Carolina responding in a similar manner as the Alabama Senate did last month. Anticipating the nationalization of same-sex marriage, under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, the Alabama state senate elected to pass legislation that would end the practice of the state issuing marriage licenses for any marriage, heterosexual or homosexual. By virtue of effectively nullifying all of its marriage laws, for every type of marriage, the state law may well survive a legal challenge under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This law may well remove the advantage from the same-sex marriage agenda’s aggressive abuse of the legal system to force its agenda on unwilling states.

Ending the practice of state-issued marriage licenses may serve as the last line of defense for states’ not being forced to redefine the marital institution, as it has been known for millennia. By ending state-sponsored marriage, the free-market would be allowed to direct the destiny of marriage, not the federal judiciary. With less than 4% of the American people self-identifying as homosexual, the overwhelming majority of marriages performed in the private sector, by churches and other such organizations, would adhere to the natural man-woman definition. By removing disparate tax treatment and marriage license issuance, the same-sex marriage lobby would likely lack the legal tools necessary to force its agenda on religious organizations, private businesses, and state laws.

The ideal relationship for society to affirm is the relationship between one man and one woman. It is not discrimination for society to place a premium on a social relationship that aides in the well-being of an entire society. Nevertheless, if the Supreme Court rules to strike-down state marriage laws in 35 US states, and forcibly create a right to same-sex marriage, I believe the opt-out option may be our last, best defense against the radical redefinition of a God-ordained institution and the loss of religious liberty that such a redefinition would entail.

In short, it may be time to cut marriage loose from the state to save it from the corrosive effects of our increasingly secular-progressive legal landscape.

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