Thursday, July 27, 2006

Legal Meaning of "Marriage" Already Excluded "Gay" Couples

Comment by John Haskins
Associate Director, Parents' Rights Coalition

Notice in the article on the recent Washington state ruling, "
Supreme Court upholds state gay marriage ban," it appears that once again the attorneys on our side miss a fundamental argument: The concept of "marriage," in legal and colloquial use, already has a definition that excludes homosexuality.

Even the Goodridge decision explicitly admitted that under Massachusetts statute, "marriage" is the union of two persons of the opposite sex. There can be no fundamental right to take advantage of a right to do "A" by doing something that is not "A" and merely calling it "A". An entirely new and separate right would have to be "found" in a constitution -- or invented by a legislature. You cannot hijack an existing legal term and pretend that it means what even the outlaw judges of the Goodridge court admitted it could not legally mean.

"Marriage" is by definition an opposite-sex contract. Homosexuals absolutely do have a legal right to marry -- but like anyone else, they must marry members of the opposite sex, because that is what "marriage" is legally. That they do not want marriage -- but want something completely different to be called "marriage" -- does not mean that they can strike down constitutions and democratic self-government by stripping language, and thus law, of its obvious meaning.

So much of the Left's constitutional and political revolution is based on our accepting their clever "word lies." The right to "privacy," which sounds extremely reasonable, actually means "the right to kill another human being." We are not even on the playing field if we do not realize that redefining words -- while pretending to be faithful to those words -- is actually an act of legal, intellectual, and spiritual war. Why do we accept that they own words? If they own words, they own reality and law and theology and morality and everything else.

If words really don't matter, why do we serve a God who calls Himself "the Living Word"? If our enemy owns words, they own God. If we refuse to defend words and concepts and meaning itself, and we prefer to piddle around in the shallow water of legal technicalities, are we really the people of the Living Word?

The failure to assert the specific legal meaning of "marriage" at every opportunity is an example of incompetence and a profound failure to comprehend the level at which the Culture War is being fought, both inside and outside the courtroom. If "marriage" is a term without actual legal and linguistic meaning, then of course it can be argued that homosexuals have a right to redefine it for the rest of society.