09 March 2007

Government 101

There has been a lot of discussion in certain circles about gay marriage, and if we should have a Constitutional amendment on the subject.

I would say it's not a good idea, especially not in the Federal Constitution. Not a good idea in State constitutions either. It has nothing to do with marriage, gay or otherwise. It has to do with the purpose of a Constitution.

Standard disclaimer here, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a homosexual. I do not currently have close friends or family members that I know of that are homosexual. Therefore, I do not have a personal axe to grind, no dog in this fight.

The purpose of a Constitution is to set into the rule of law the limits of the government. A Constitution, be it state or federal, clearly defines the roles, powers and limitations of the several branches of government; they being the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

Notice the use of the word "limitations". Quite clearly, it defines what a government may and may not take upon itself to do.

One of the most important limitations on the powers of the government is it must not limit your personal freedoms except where the exercise thereof would put others into harm's way, that being defined as financial or physical injury.

Unfortunately we have allowed government to overstep it's bounds so often and so long that it now does so with impunity. It also does so with immunity, or so it seems.

Also unfortunately we have in this nation a particular version of native that I like to call homoirritatus uninterruptus, or Constantly Complaining Man. This species can be found just about anywhere, constantly bitching and whining that their rights (usually self defined and not written into any law anywhere) are being violated. Some common calls of the ConCom Man are "the government ought to do something" or "there ought to be a law". Subjects that they avoid are personal responsibility and self reliance. ConCom Man can often be found in the company of barkus moonbattus, the barking moonbat.

Marriage is at it's core a legal contract between two willing parties, which is why it takes an action of the courts to dissolve one. It may or may not be solemnized by a religious ceremony, this ceremony has no bearing on the legal aspect of the contract.

When you seek to limit, by law, the freedoms of another individual or individuals you start to tread on thin ice. The only justification of this limitation is to prevent physical or financial harm to a third party. This is why it is illegal to shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater, and not a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

If we are to limit the freedoms of another, we must have justification. If we do not, the boundaries are erased and any action that ConCom Man deems objectionable may be limited. These actions may include activities that you find personally enjoyable, such as riding motorcycles or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

This is why I would object to any legislation outlawing gay marriage, even though I would not engage in such activities. If Adam and Steve want to tie the knot, it takes absolutely not a dime out of my pocket nor does it remove so much as a square centimeter of my skin.

I may not understand your compulsion to throw yourselves from perfectly good airplanes either, but I would never take away your right to do so.

Alterations to our cornerstone documents, the Constitution of the United States and the Constitutions of the several States, should always be carefully considered. Three questions that must be asked are, 1) Is the activity under consideration likely to cause physical harm to another person, 2) Is the activity under consideration likely to cause financial harm to another person, and 3) Will the legislation under consideration prevent the activity from causing physical or financial harm to another person? If the answers are not affirmative for either one or two, and is not affirmative for number three, the legislation must not be allowed to become law.

Law, like fire, is a fearful servant and a terrible master.

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