SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 23, 2013

Column: The conservative case for gay marriage

Chase Schaub
The Salem News

---- — Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States heard cases about California’s Proposition 8, the law banning gay marriage in the state, as well as the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that denies gay and lesbian couples federal recognition even if the state in which they live recognizes their marriage. The issues debated clearly will have greater impact than simply the laws the court is hearing. Whatever the court rules, it is sure to have greater implications on same-sex marriage.

I am a conservative. I typically support Republican candidates and I supported Gov. Mitt Romney, but today I am arguing against Romney’s opinion and the opinion of many other Republicans on gay marriage. I’m not proposing a typical pro-gay marriage stance; I am offering a conservative case for supporting same-sex marriage in America.

For decades, Republicans have claimed to be the party of the Constitution; Gov. Romney ran on a platform of civil liberties and freedom, saying that America needs to remain true to the Constitution and our Founding Fathers. I couldn’t agree more with Romney on that aspect of his policy, and that is why I believe in gay marriage. The Constitution of the United States’ Equal Protection Clause ensures that no person be “deprive(d) any person of life, liberty or property.” This clause seems clear to me. Every person born in the United States of America is guaranteed equality.

The argument against gay marriage is done completely on religious grounds. There is no legal justification for this, and again, the Constitution expressly warns that the church and the state should remain separated. This further proves that as the party of the Constitution, the Republicans need to embrace the notion of equality for everyone whether they believe in gay marriage or not.

Since there are legal benefits attached to marriage, it must be open to all, or the federal government must redefine marriage to be a solely religious institution, while giving everyone else, straight or gay, civil unions that guarantee equal protection under the law. This is not about marriage; this is about guaranteeing everyone the same liberties.

The point of this piece isn’t to attack religious beliefs, but to prove that as a party of freedom, the Republican Party is being hypocritical. If they want to win elections and rebrand themselves as a true party for complete freedom, the movement must be mainstreamed and Republican leaders must denounce the strong anti-gay, anti-equal rights rhetoric coming from some parts of the Republican Party.

That would be a step in the right direction.

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Chase Schaub is a junior at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.