A recent conversation online prompted me to write a spirited defense of marriage in a most unusual way. For, roughly, the past 100 years we have been indoctrinated to believe that our rights come from the government and the Constitution grants those rights. However, that indoctrination is wrong and I’ll show how the best way to save marriage is by getting the government out of it.
When the Constitution of the United States was written, it presumed that all rights not delegated to the federal government preexisted the formation of said government. The issue of marriage was left to the people and the states. Marriages performed between the 1620s til 1850s was a private concern that was covered under a simple contract. The government was not involved in the slightest and the advantages of marriage was held under Common Law.
The contract specified what the husband and the wife would provide to each other as well as their responsibilities under the contract. This included such things as who was responsible for earning money and paying the bills to who would care for the children etc… It even gave the details of what happened in case the marriage broke down. This continued until the middle of the 1850s then something began to happen. That something was miscegenation or the marriage of a white person to a minority person.
Why were marriage laws important that it required a new class of laws? Historically speaking, minorities were not citizens and the laws were a control measure to severely restrict the marriages between whites and minorities. It was done for purely racist reasons and to keep minorities from having equality under the law. In many legal cases of the era, the courts were quite honest in stating that minorities did not have rights because they were not citizens. However, not all minorities were treated in this manner. The majority of the racism was directed at blacks.
Now under the 14th Amendment, blacks were granted equal rights and equal access to the law. For reference here is the 14th Amendment Section 1.
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.
This brings them in line with what was written in Article 4 Section 2 Clause 1 of the Constitution of the United States. The clause says, “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”
Since the 14th Amendment stated that all persons are now citizens of the United States and the state of their residence this should have overturned all of the marriage laws in place to prevent whites and blacks from intermarrying. It didn’t and it wasn’t until Loving v. Virginia (1967) to overturn this part of the law. However, the law requiring marriage licenses was left on the books. Why? Simple, for control over the people.
As stated before, white people got married without a marriage license for about 230 years. Why? Because the government lacked the authority to perform such an act. In the Constitution of the United States, there are delegated powers to the federal government with some prohibitions upon the states. Nowhere in the Constitution of the United States does it grant the federal government to be involved in marriages. It also lacks the power to give out special benefits to one particular class. The term “general welfare” literally means for the good of all. A law that hands special benefits to one group over another fails as it is not for everyone. This is why the 14th Amendment Section 1 and Article 4 Section 2 Clause 1 says that every citizen is entitled to all privileges and rights. The government cannot make laws to benefit solely one group at the expense of others.
Now this is further reinforced with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The Ninth says that the listing of certain rights in the Bill of Rights cannot be used to deny or restrict other rights held by the people. The Tenth says that any delegation of power not listed in the Constitution of the United States is held by the states or the people.
Since we are a Constitutional Republic, this means that we cannot deny rights and privileges to one group at the expense of others. We cannot promote one group above other groups because we have majority rule with minority rights protection. Minority as used here means those that do not have the majority in power. The reason why is quite simple as it is the people that all power is derived from. See my article regarding the power of the people for further details.
This is just for the Constitutional side of things. What about the theological argument? Simple, Paul and Christ taught us that we are to follow the laws of the land and to live in harmony with them. This is in Romans 13:1-2.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
As Christians we are to follow the laws of the land because God put them into place. Failure to adhere to the Constitution of the United States is a sin and Christians are in rebellion. Yes, the verses say governing authority, but in our system of government that is the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence. The government that does not abide by the supreme law of the land is in rebellion against God. This is why the founding fathers rested the entire principles of our government upon Judaeo-Christianity.
To save marriage, the only conclusion that we can come to that is consistent with the teachings God and with the Constitution of the United States is to get the government out of it. Christians should not be advocating rebellion against God by giving out special benefits to them alone on what is marriage. This is promoting sin and God will not look kindly upon those that promote sin. If proponents of marriage as instituted by God insist upon using force of the government to uphold their beliefs and deny others the same benefits then they are in violation of God’s Word and His Law. Make no mistake, I am not apologizing or advocating of sinful behavior in regards to same-sex marriage. I am making a defense of the Constitution of the United States and how it is supposed to operate under equal protection of the law and equal rights plus privileges.
We cannot deny those the same benefits that we enjoy because it makes them less than equal. Would God be for Christians making non-Christians less than equal? No, this is why the founding fathers wrote the Constitution and made it consistent with the teachings of God. They knew that the supreme law of the land must be consistent with the teachings of God, especially regarding equality. Now, before anyone says that they didn’t achieve equality in their lifetimes I will say correct. They could only do so much and left it up to future generations to do this.
In summation, as Christians we must advocate for getting the government out of marriage and remove the special benefits that we enjoy under the law. It is the Christian and Godly thing to do.