Friday, September 24

The "Marriage Amendment" Part I

The DC crowd seems to be spending a lot of time and energy on amending the Constitution to include something they like to call the "Marriage Amendment".

So last night I took some time to sit down with the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, to find any reference to marriage in either document. Guess what? Neither say anything about the Federal Government having any control of marriage.

In fact the 10th Amendment states:

Amendment X - Powers of the States and People.- Ratified 12/15/1791.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Note well this. Anything not expressly granted to the Federal government is reserved for the States or the People. Although this amendment is very liberally interpreted, it is one of the tenets of the Constitution. This amendment is also known as the States' Rights Amendment.

Since marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution, and the 10th clearly says that if it is not in here, then it is States domain to control, why all the wasted effort?

Control. Plan and simple control.

Just like Education, Health, Emergency, Management, Environment... The list goes on and on, none of which are mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

One side wants their "Right" to marry, the other side wants to use the Federal Government to block them for being allowed to marry.

Both sides are wrong!

Lets first take a look at the History of Marriage in anglo-european civilizations.

The beginnings of marriage are hard to trace, but in the earliest time it was more of an arrangement between families, with little input from the couple.

Somewhat later, marriage evolved into a sort of social contract of the couples with their families. This types of marriage known as Common Law still existed today.

As Christianity spread, the idea of a "free" marriage came into being. This was a marriage in which the marrying parties agreed to the marriage with the own free will. This agreement meant that each partner was to keep the marriage vows and the marriage intact.

During the Roman Empire we see the beginnings of marriage as we now know it. A Roman citizen could, if he wanted, have a legalized marriage. This offered an alternative to the common law/free marriage in the form of a legal agreement between the parties, but still the man could dissolve this agreement at anytime, the woman was not offered this privilege.

It is during this time that Roman Emperor Justinian, created the Justinian Code, which established the modern idea of lawful/legal/civil marriage.
Before the Justinian Code, all that was required to be married was to state that you where married. There were no government or church requirements regarding marriage. The Justinian Code changed that.

It created a new type of marriage, a legal/civil form that citizens of the Roman Empire where expected to follow, if they expected the Empire to recognize it as a lawful joining. It also codified certain prohibitions on marriage, like certain close family members.

This was the beginning of governmental control of marriage with mildly religious overtones. It is also where we first find the legal definition: "Marriage, or matrimony, is a binding together of a man and woman to live in an indivisible union". This is the point in time when marriage became a privilege of the state. The state allowed people to enter into a legal state of Marriage, or Matrimony which the state would then recognize with all the responsibilities and privileges it afforded.

Many other minor adjustments to the idea of marriage, but the Justinian Code forms the basic die from which all later ideas of marriage and perticulary the concept of civil marriage are struck.

Marriage did not even become a "sacrament of the church" until the 12th century. For the first 1,200 years of the Christian Church, and for 700 years after The Justinian Code, there existed only two forms of marriage, common law, and civil unions santioned by town or village governments.'' The created the third form, which really only added ceremony, a church wedding was still in reality either a common law or a civil marriage, both were performed by a cleric of the church.

These traditions where carried to this country by early european emigrants, and become the America tradition.

No major changes in the basic structure occured for structurally changed with this from thirteen hundred year old system until anti-miscegenation laws were passed in this country starting in the mid-1600s in Maryland, continuing right up until a preposed Anti-Miscegenation Amendment to the Constitution in the early 1900s.

Next time - Final Points on the Marriage Amendment


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