Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Keep Fedgov's hands off marriage - a wise constitutional safeguard that could be undone by current, misguided efforts

In my readings, I ran across this 2004 article at CBS Money Watch, and was attracted to its in depth discussion of our current day Prop 8 battle in California. It covers religion, English common law, the Constitution, Congress authority, Constitutional amendment, and, at the time, the Bush/Chaney acquiescence.

The earliest ecclesiastical reference to marriage is in the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible--the union of Adam and Eve, which was exclusively between one man and one woman. Chancellor James Kent of the New York Court of Chancery described marriage in his famous Commentaries on American Law in the following words:

The primary and most important of
domestic relations, is that of husband
and wife. It has its foundations in nature,
and is the only lawful relation by
which Providence has permitted the
continuation of the human race.

The broader point is that marriage has its origins in antiquity. In England, it is an institution which was recognized both by the common law and the ecclesiastical law. This concept of marriage migrated to the American colonies. The narrower point is that the laws of marriage predate both the U.S. Constitution and the state constitutions.
Read 2004 CBS article "Keep Fedgov's hands off marriage: the Founding Fathers kept the federal government out of marriage and family matters, a wise constitutional safeguard that could be undone by current, misguided efforts" here.

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