The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Pro amendment

The marriage debate must be treated as a federal issue

Ed Board was divided on the issue of a constitutionalamendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. Tomorrowthere will be an editorial opposing the amendment.

 

The recent increase of debate over gay marriage has shown usthat such a marketplace of ideas is the very lifeblood of ournation. This is an important debate for our country to take up.There is no better forum for that discussion than theconstitutional amendment process. A portion of Ed Board would joinPresident Bush in supporting a constitutional amendment seeking todefine marriage as being between a man and a woman.

While some would paint this as legalized discrimination, EdBoard believes this would be no more discriminatory than settingthe drinking age at 21. Citizens have the right to decide what typeof country they want to live in, and that right cannot be hijackedby a vocal minority.

Such an amendment would require a two-thirds majority in bothhalves of the national legislature as well as being ratified bytwo-thirds of the states. This is a long and deliberate process.Its intention is that the issues involved will be hotly debated andthoroughly examined. We need this thoroughness rather thanbypassing public debate through the courts.

The amendment process would also return the decision makingpower to state legislators, who are more connected to the peopleand away from the unelected officers of the courts. The proper roleof the courts is to follow, not lead social movements. While manywho support gay marriage attempt to compare the situation to thecivil rights movement where courts played a key role, there is nosuch connection. The proper role of the courts is usually only toadd momentum to movements which have already begun to gain support,as in the Civil Rights Act that was passed years before Brown v.Board of Education. Our current situation is exactly theopposite since the federal government has already passed theDefense of Marriage Act.

Courts come third in the constitution and should come third inour process.

A constitutional amendment can prevent the legal slippery slopemore effectively than a broad judicial ruling in this area. If thecourts allowed gay marriages, common law would lack resources tolimit other types of prohibited unions, such as polygamy orincest.

Finally, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as beingbetween a man and a woman isn’t necessarily set in stone.Prohibition was established in the 18th amendment and thenabolished in the 21st amendment.

In the future, a marriage amendment may face the same outcome,but now it is both appropriate and necessary to pass thisamendment.

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