Same Sex Marriage Hollingsworth v. Perry
With the addition of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution came the equal protection clause, and the due process clause. The equal protection clause requires that all people be treated fairly and the due process clause prohibits government form depriving a person’s life, liberty or property without legislative authorization. Denial of same sex marriage rejects the right of a couple to pursue their natural rights, due process of law, and equal protection.
Gay marriage is a relatively new concept that has taken wind in the last decade. The question of considering two same sex partners to be legally married has gone back and forth throughout the legal system. In the state of California, that ruling has flip-flopped several times causing an even greater uproar about gay rights. In 2000, California voters made it clear that they did not want gay marriage and adopted proposition 22 which put in legal writing that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” Eight years later the California Supreme Court ruled in the Perry v. Brown case that proposition 22 violated the due-process and equal protection rights stated in the California Constitution. This opposition now allowed the marriage of same sex couples and California issued over 18,000 marriage licenses. Those California resident who were opposed to the new gay marriage laws signed petitions to allow for proposition 8 to be placed on the 2008 ballot. Proposition 8 incorporated the same laws as proposition 22, banning same sex marriage, passing with a 52.3 percent approval. The following year, two same sex couples were denied marriage licenses and decided to file suit. The two couples alleged that proposition 8 violated their fourteenth amendment of equal protection under the United States Constitution. After a lengthy hearing the Supreme Court ruled that proposition 8 did in fact violate the fourteenth amendment, making it unconstitutional for the state of California to deny same sex marriage. (Sontoro) It is one thing to deny someone of a right, but it is complete different when you give that person a right and then take it away only because the majority of your state had voted against that right.
Our country was founded on “natural rights” and this is at the forefront of our constitution. It can therefore be considered un-American to deny these natural rights of, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our judicial system was constructed with dynamic abilities to transform the law along with the changing times. Back in the day, it was legal to own slaves. This did not make it morally right, however, it was the law. Today, slavery is illegal, and it would be hard to find someone who does not see the moral problems with slavery. (Rubel, Liberty) Just because gay marriage is not legal, does not mean that it can’t be changed. The largest protest against gay marriage is that marriage is only between a man and a woman because “It’s in the bible.” Slavery was in the bible, a book written thousands of years ago. Almost everything about life was different then. In this time, society should be acceptable of people’s choices and not infringe upon their way of life. John Stuart Mills was a utilitarian philosopher who is arguably the best defendant of liberty in western culture. It was Mills who created the “Liberty Principle,” or “Harm Principle.” These principles state that the only reason a government or society should ever infringe upon ones matters is to “protect others from harm.” (Mills) The only person who ought to decide on how an individual is to exercise their liberties and freedoms is themselves. The government and others may believe that they are doing what is best for society, but that does not mean its best for the individual. Mills is a strong believer that, “Government should avoid interfering with the private lives of citizens since they invariably do a poor job of...
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Sontoro, Thomas, and Stephen Wirth. "Hollingsworth v. Perry." LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.
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