Semantics of ‘same-sex marriage’
Those, especially our lawmakers, engaged in the turmoil over “same-sex marriage” might do well to consider the semantics and constitutionality of the matter.
There is an obvious basic difference in the union between a heterosexual couple consecrated by a religion and the commitment between a gay or lesbian couple not sanctified by an organized religion. They have obvious significant inherent differences.
The word marriage has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years by religions to mean the union solely between a man and woman and that definition has been historically accepted. The First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the government from changing, modifying or interpreting that religious meaning.
Regardless of one’s religious feelings toward a same sex union it is unrealistic to say such commitments between two individuals do not exist. They do exist. Two joined in such a pledge could be said to be banded, bound, coupled, committed, pledged, tied or united. They may even call upon a deity to recognize their union. However, by the historical organized religious definition, they are not married.
The law defines numerous types of contracts, that is commitments, and bestows certain rights upon those who enter into those commitments. It seems a simple matter for the law to put forth what is required for a same sex couple to be “bound” and grant them appropriate legal rights and obligations similar to those who are married.
If gays or lesbians want to refer to themselves as married their First Amendment rights gives them that freedom of speech. However, the government cannot legally declare them “married”.