Editor's Note: Allison Bricker is a lifelong political junkie. She has worked in various capacities on several local, statewide, and Congressional campaigns. She currently works as a Senior Political Analyst at a public opinion/research and analysis firm based out of Indianapolis . She along with her partner is the Publisher/Editor of the blog "The Smoking Argus Daily". Her philosophy is rooted and most influenced by authors from the Age of Enlightenment such as, Thomas Paine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and John Locke.
With Election Day only one week away, voters in 3 states - Florida, California, and Arizona - will again be voting on whether same sex couples should be allowed to "marry". The debate regarding who can marry is yet another example of politicians creating and fostering a wedge between Americans.
Marriage as an institution is a purely religious ceremony conducted by a church to bless the union of two individuals under the eyes of that religion's deity and theocratic dogma. Whereas, a "Marriage License" is merely a conglomeration of 1600+ legal benefits, liabilities, and tax designations, i.e. "CIVIL-RIGHTS" granted by a state.
Since CIVIL-RIGHTS are granted de jure (in law) they are subject to the "Equal Protection Clause" of the 14th Amendment to the United States Federal Constitution. Ergo, CIVIL-RIGHTS fall directly under the principle affirmed by Brown v. Board of Education. Currently, states are maintaining two separate unequal civil institutions by allowing heterosexual couples to obtain a singular license containing the 1600+ legal designations via the courts, whilst requiring same-sex couples to piecemeal together the numerous legalities ad hoc. Thus what costs a heterosexual couple approximately $40.00 can cost thousands of dollars for same-sex couples in court costs and attorney's fees.
The two very distinct paths in securing these civil rights quite laughably, does not even rise to the legal standard extolled under Plessy v. Ferguson which found that governments could only sustain separate civil institutions if they were of no difference in quality. The current structure is indeed separate, but is nowhere close to equal when contrasting the time, research, and monies spent by heterosexual couples against the time, research, and monies spent by same-sex couples.
Moreover, the state's "marriage" license really has nothing to do whatsoever with sanctifying or blessing either union. As such, labeling the aforementioned a "marriage" license is nothing but an attempt by politicians to use the fear of "redefining [theocratic] marriage" as a wedge in order to secure their own slime ridden seats in public office.
It is far more accurate and unduly less divisive to call the license what it indeed is for both heterosexual and same-sex couples; a civil contract of partnership. Any argument to the contrary regarding the accuracy of a marriage license would result in the government affirming a unique religious philosophy, thus breaching separation of church and state.
If an individual church wishes to refuse "sanctifying" a ceremony between same-sex couples then they, as a private institution are free to do so visa vi their inherent right to free association. Their action has no legal consequences whatsoever. The debate over the recognition of same-sex couples needs to be debated amongst the church itself and its congregation. Individual members of the congregation are free to form their own congregation in "protest", interpreting the scriptures as more inclusive and less exclusive much in the same spirit of Martin Luther. Regardless, the debate over the sanctity of unions is best left to the four walls of a chapel, whilst the legality of said partnerships is best left confined within the four walls of a statehouse.
Additionally, governments previously acknowledged the necessity of legally securing partnerships whether by common law or same-sex. In the 19th century, "Boston Marriages" as they were called, secured the rights of women living with one another under the same roof, much in the same way today's "marriage" contracts secure the ability of probate and fiduciary responsibility. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century when modern "marriage" licenses came into existence that Politicians first used the wedge of "traditional marriage" as a way to prevent interracial marriage. One would hope that 100 years later we would not be fooled by the same ruse yet again.
However, until we call bullsh!t on these politicians carelessly throwing around the word "marriage", they will continue to use the word solely as a tool to divide the people against one another.