Same-Gender Marriage Enters the Twilight Zone

I've asked Rod Serling, creator of the 1960s television series The Twilight Zone, to write this post.

Serling: "You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into wondrous lands whose boundaries are that of imagination. There's a signpost up ahead. Your next stop? The Twilight Zone.

"Imagine, if you will, that you've been transported to the future. It is the 50th anniversary of the legalization of same-gender marriage in all 50 states. We look in on a high-school history class discussing this significant milestone. The teacher just asked the class to discuss some of the arguments opposing same-gender marriage."

Student 1: "Opposition to same-gender marriage was based on religion that teaches that homosexuality was sinful."

Teacher: "That was indeed a powerful argument for some, but it was ultimately proven to be a non sequitur. Marriage in the eyes of government is not a religious enterprise. No one in America is officially married until that union is filed with state and local government. Churches have always enjoyed the constitutionally protected right to decide the unions they wish to officiate, but they could not claim marriage was a wholly owned subsidiary of the church."

Student 2: "But biblical marriage is defined as one man and one woman."

Teacher: "That's true until one gets to Genesis chapter 4."

Student 3: "There was also the procreation argument."

Teacher: "Doesn't that assume all couples marry to procreate? Countless numbers of heterosexual couples marry for reasons other than procreation. Moreover, the Supreme Court case of Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) put an end to any notions that marriage in the United States was based on procreation."

Student 4: "Some were concerned about the backlash of reverse discrimination. Some Christian organizations were allegedly forced out of business because they maintained their biblical-based beliefs."

Teacher: "Just because one proclaims to be a Christian organization does not grant them immunity to discriminate if they are involved in commerce. This was the basis for the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Student 5: "There was the concern that same-gender unions were redefining marriage."

Teacher: "Perhaps a better way to state that would be same-gender marriage would be redefining an institution that has been redefining itself since its inception. If one assumes love to be part of the 21st-century standards for marriage, that alone moves one away from biblical understanding. For thousands of years marriage was based more on property and passing along inheritance than love. It was not an institution designed for the socially inconsequential. In fact, marriage for individuals without property or a name to pass on has only been around for several hundred years."

Student 6: "There was the argument that individual states should decide."

Teacher: "That, in my view, is the most palatable, pragmatic, and unconstitutional argument put forth. That argument finds its basis in the 10th Amendment that states:

"'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'

"But Section One of the 14th Amendment reads:

"'All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'

"The existence of the 14th Amendment weakens the 10th Amendment. States' rights do not include violating the equal protection clause. In the case of same-gender marriage, no state could tax gays and lesbians while denying them services that heterosexual enjoy. Civil marriage, which was the issue, is supported by the tax dollars of all. Moreover, isn't 'all' the first word in the 14th Amendment?"

Student 7: "Why didn't they just read the 14th Amendment? The issue could have been solved quickly, perhaps decades earlier."

Teacher: "That's a great question for which I have no response."