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Opinion: True marriage equality is government free

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Want marriage equality? Then get the government out of marriage. Government-issued marriage licenses in this country are the rite of passage to being able to truly “put a ring on it.” But why is that the case? Being born and being given a social security number simply requires a certificate, yet a marriage requires a government-issued license whose origin can be traced back to anti-miscegenation laws which criminalized interracial marriage and sex in select states. Before the passage of these laws, common-law marriages or private marriage contracts were recognized as valid. Our founding fathers never had to apply for a marriage license as the Constitution says nothing on the subject despite how we may interpret the language of certain amendments. One would like to think that in a free society, as we were intended to live in, the individual would be able to formulate their own definition of marriage and whether you agree with your neighbor or not, it should not truly matter. There should be nothing more private than marriage.

If it is a government-mandated definition of marriage we seek, then we are not any closer to true marriage equality than we were five years ago. To quote former Rep. Ron Paul, one side wants “the law to help them gain social acceptance even though this is impossible for law to achieve” while the other side looks to “force a narrow definition of marriage on everyone without a hint of tolerance.” This quote could not hold more truth to it. No matter which decision is made in the Supreme Court, it will have no effect on the mindset each individual holds.

At the very most, these issues should be solved on state levels, a decision supported by President Obama, though even there they present similar complications. North Carolina’s passing of Amendment One to ban gay marriage in their state constitution last year was done to “protect the sanctity of marriage.” One could argue that the sanctity of marriage flew the coop a long time ago but that’s not the point. Votes on statewide or nationwide gay marriage rights show off the failures of us to remember the republic for which we stand. Imposing a set of laws that offend any individual on a non-violent matter infringes on the rights of that individual. Democratically passing these laws through majority rule infringes on the rights of the minority, as seen in states such as North Carolina. Whose “sanctity” of marriage are they trying to protect by passing such sweeping legislation?

Telling us that we need permission from our federal employees to get married is idiotic and backwards, and to quote Julie Borowski of FreedomWorks, is nothing but a “tax on personal relationships.” Continued discussion and debate by our government on this issue and similar social issues does not achieve a thing. It only tears us apart. The First Amendment and freedom of speech should allow each individual to define marriage however they please, and any sweeping legislation to the contrary does nothing but infringe on individual rights. No federal definition of marriage should exist, may it be in DOMA or in an amendment to our constitution. We don’t need a federal employee putting a stamp on our love and we certainly don’t need licenses whose origins are based in racism to confirm marriage in the United States. Want marriage equality? Fight for marriage freedom and only then will we truly be free to put a ring on it.

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