Gay Marriage Ban Would Violate Constitution
by Joey King 01 Mar 2006
The US Constitution was constructed by our Founding Fathers to protect the rights of all Americans. Although an imperfect document, the Constitution has mechanisms built in to increase individual rights and freedoms. That historical arc of justice is bending the wrong way these days, though, and no where is it further askew than recent discussions concerning a constitutional amendment in Tennessee to ban gay marriage.
I am a fan of National Public Radio and enjoy listening to the programming. However, I recently heard the Rep Donna Rowland's (R Murfreesboro) interview on WPLN FM, Nashville Public Radio, and frankly I was disappointed. Rep Rowland discussed her support and efforts to introduce a gay marriage amendment to the Tennessee Constitution. Until now, I have always considered Rep Rowland a friend of the US Constitution. A "gay marriage ban" added to the state constitution, though politically popular, would clearly violate:
1. The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution Section 1 "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States...nor deny to any person within it's jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"
2. Section 5 of the 14th Amendment says that only the US Congress can enforce this Amendment...not the states
3. Article 4 section 1 says, "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other state.
4. Article 4 Section 2: "The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several states."
Clearly, the recent upsurge in anti-gay marriage state constitutional amendments is a grand-standing attempt by politicians to circumvent the US Constitution. If legislators really want to correct the Tennessee state constitution they might start with repealing Article 9 Section 2 which says,
" No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."
That obviously violates the religious freedoms protected in the First Amendment as well as violating the Fourteenth Amendment (above). This egregious section discriminates against the following individuals:
Buddhists (who worship no deity and most sects who
have no concept of a heaven or hell)
Jews (no concept of an afterlife)
Hindus (who are multi-theists)
Agnostics and Atheists (who, according to the recent American Religious Identification Survey, are the fastest growing "religious" category in the US)
I urge State Representative Rowland to withdraw from this amendment process and wash her hands of this attempt to deny rights to a long discriminated against group of Americans.