The Daily Gamecock

Right to marriage fundamental

Supreme Court must honor basic equities

The Supreme Court is rapidly approaching its decision on same-sex marriage in regards to the constitutionality of both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s same-sex marriage ban. Same-sex marriage remains one of the most controversial issues of our nation, and many people on both sides of the argument are concerned with such a publicly debated issue being decided by the government. And while there’s been an overflow of support in favor of same-sex marriage in our nation, a substantial portion of our people still stand against such a union.

Currently, 29 states still hold same-sex marriage bans — California being one of them — and DOMA acts as another force standing in the way of equal rights by prohibiting same-sex married couples from receiving federal benefits.

Both opinions in the matter refer to the fundamental rights of the people and how the government prohibits these rights. Supporters of same-sex marriage argue these restrictions are unconstitutional because they deny people their fundamental rights, as marriage is recognized as a fundamental right by the government.

Those in opposition, however, feel the most prominent fundamental right is our ability to participate in the political process, and therefore the government should leave the matter of same-sex marriage to a state-level vote. The Supreme Court is handed the task of now determining which fundamental rights are indeed the most essential and whether it is their responsibility to redefine marriage.

The people’s ability to participate in government decision-making is one of our nation’s greatest attributes, but when a group of people is being denied equal rights, the government should take action. The ability to marry should not be discriminatory based upon sexual orientation, and since the Supreme Court has ruled marriage as a fundamental right in the past, it is hard to contend that these individuals are not being deprived of one of their fundamental rights.

Many people argue that homosexual couples should not receive marriage benefits because they are not capable of reproducing. However, this fact does not prevent couples who are infertile, elderly or even those who choose not to have children from marrying, so there is no reason homosexual couples should not be treated in the same regard — especially since many go on to adopt children.

Over the years, revelations such as these have convinced many people to join in support of same-sex marriage, including many government officials who originally took a stance against it.

The recent national outcry in support of same-sex marriage should be enough confirmation of public support for the Supreme Court to decide its rulings on the California same-sex marriage ban and DOMA.

Hopefully, those in power will honor the fundamental rights of all Americans and grant equality in marriage to all.