The Same Sex Marriage Debate… Coming To A Head

BY GEORGE M. STARK, P.A.

The times are changing, as is the composition of the American family. The last vestiges of that which might be considered the norm, “Mom, Dad and the kids” may be coming to an end.

Change came slowly at first, as we adapted to both parents in the work force and sharing in the responsibilities of parenting. In the last 10 years, a virtual tidal wave of legislative enactments and judicial judgments have repealed or invalidated state laws restricting same sex couples access to marriage and marriage recognition.

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments this week, and will rule in the near future on the legality of bans imposed by states on same sex marriage. Factually, most states, including Florida, have done away with these bans, but approximately 17 states still ban marriage of two people of the same sex.

The Supreme Court will now address two questions that will have the effect of reshaping the American family as we know it: Are states required to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, and if so, will same sex marriages conducted in one state be enforceable in another?

Without expressing an opinion on what the Court is likely to decide, it is evident that the ruling will have a far reaching impact, as these questions are of great constitutional and societal importance. In rendering its opinion, the Court will decide if the right to equal protection under the law, as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, applies to marriage between two people of the same sex.

Those in favor of state laws that ban same sex marriages will argue that the 14th Amendment does not apply to marital rights, and that marriage is a state function and should remain so. Those in favor of finding state laws that ban same sex marriage unconstitutional will argue that same sex couples should be entitled to the identical rights and protections under state law and the Constitution of the United States, and that to deny same sex couples these rights and protections, violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of liberty and equality for all persons.

It is predicted that this Supreme Court decision will be recognized as having great historical importance, as it will provide definition for marriage and family relationships that will shape American society in the 21st century.

Published on: Jun 2, 2016