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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Marriage: May the court step back

Written March 27th, 2013 by

Supreme_Court_US_2010If the Supreme Court is smart — and the justices certainly are — it will decline to outlaw as unconstitutional state laws against same-sex marriage. The court will instead leave this issue to be decided in the states, where in some cases the decision in favor of this change has already been made.

All the media reports on this say the electorate has changed its mind in the last few years and now supports same-sex marriage. Support is said to be especially strong among younger voters. Among many others, fading opposition may be a result of fatigue. People are getting tired of the debate and can see which way it’s going, so they have given up.

But a shift in public opinion should have no bearing on what the Constitution says. If the Constitution did not require states to recognize same-sex marriage 30 years ago, then it still does not. All our liberties are in danger if we allow public opinion to influence what the Constitution requires or prohibits. If public opinion meant anything, free speech might be the first to go.

So, If people in the states want to make marriage a constitutional question, let them propose an amendment to the Constitution. But that would be difficult and time consuming. The easier route is simple: Just change the laws in each state. Let the voters decide. (hh)



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