Andrew says that “the right to marry is a basic constitutional right that no government can or should deny under the Constitution as it stands. Interestingly, so does National Review. Otherwise, they would not be so keen to amend the constitution to prevent such equal protection from ever taking place.”
Is he right? Jonah, do you believe there is a constitutional right to marry? Is there an amendment that I missed? I just did a word search on the Constitution and “marriage” didn’t turn up anywhere.
I don’t believe there’s a constitutional right to marriage anymore than there is a constitutional right to divorce. What I do believe is that the Constitution is silent (other than in indirect ways, such as the “full faith and credit” clause) and, therefore, these laws are left to the states. Which is why there are no-fault divorces in some states and 14-year-olds marrying without parental permission in others.
So I go back to my point on Rhea County, TN’s ban on homosexual behavior: I think the law is repulsive and idiotic (and I live in Virginia!), but that doesn’t answer the question of whether they have the right to pass such laws. I assume that Rep. Barney Frank and other supporters of San Francisco’s mayor support Rhea County’s decision. Is it against the ruling of the US Supreme Court? So what–same-sex marriage is clearly a direct violation of California and New York law. If these matters should be left to local governments, then how did Rhea County get to be the bad guys? Other than the fact that they’re Neanderthals.