Why Same-Sex Marriage and Interracial Marriage are not the Same

A central part of argument used by those who advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage is based on comparing the issues surrounding the prohibition of these unions to those which once outlawed interracial marriage. These individuals make the case that both instances involved laws which disallowed marriage between certain individuals. And because we would not tolerate the banning of interracial unions, we should not have laws that prohibit two people of the same sex from marrying.

While on the surface this seems to be a very compelling argument it is in fact, overly simplistic. Furthermore, it ignores facts and precedent that has been previously established by decades of family law litigation related to the institution of marriage and the government’s interest in promoting and regulating it.

First of all, it is important to note that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were actually attempts to do away with the traditional definition of marriage, thus redefining it. However, laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are significantly different in that they are designed to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. In point of fact, the term “same-sex marriage” is, by its very nature an oxymoron.

Consider that since the beginning of time, every cultural, religious and legal definition of marriage recognized it as a union between a man and a woman. Even today, there is no major religion that, as a part of its doctrinal teachings, recognizes same-sex unions. And furthermore, every dictionary definition (historical to modern day) has described marriage as being between a man and a woman. For example under the following definitions, the phrases “same-sex” and “marriage” are incompatible:

• Marriage: “That honorable contract that persons of different sexes make with one another.” A New General English Dictionary (1740).
• Marriage: “1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife . . .” Merriam-Webster online, April 20, ( 2005).

Such is not the case with interracial marriage. As a matter fact, in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the court ruled that laws banning marriage between a man and a woman of different races were inconsistent with the traditional definition of marriage and worked against the government’s interest in promoting marriage.

And what was the government’s primary interest in promoting marriage? All case law points to procreation as the number one reason for government’s interest in promoting and regulating the institution of marriage. The courts have deemed that government’s fostering of this optimal environment to have and raise children is the primary interest government has in promoting and regulating marriage.

In the case of Baker v. Nelson the court states “The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.

Additionally, in Skinner v. Oklahoma, the court is quoted as saying “Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.” In Loving v. Virginia the court cites this quote from Skinner as the foundational argument for shooting down laws banning interracial marriage.

This is not the case with same-sex marriage, as no offspring can ever naturally result from such a union. Thus making procreation impossible. Therefore the government’s primary interest for promoting marriage does not apply to same-sex unions.

Because of the complexity of our legal system, this message may not be the easiest to communicate to those who do not speak “Legaleaze”. However, it is intellectually honest and supported by the facts. We must not allow those who seek jump on the civil rights bandwagon to get away with convoluting the facts and distorting the truth….

Marriage was, is and always will be a union of one man and one woman. Any other definition just doesn’t fit.

Craig DeLuz

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