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Maybe We Should Leave the Constitution Alone

So it looks like we’re your full-time constitutional amendment monitoring service.

Another constitutional amendment recently proposed in Congress is H. J. Res. 37. It would define marriage in the United States as the “legal union of one man and one woman.”

Now here’s a challenge to those of you who believe strongly in this definition of marriage and who love our country and its constitutional heritage:

In our last post on amendments, we discussed how the constitution is really about government, not society, and pointed out some amendments that didn’t fit that bill. Well, a marriage amendment is kind of one of those. It would turn the constitution into a document about society, and make it less of a charter for limited government.

This has been done once before – the thirteenth amendment affected legal relations among citizens and residents by abolishing slavery. This came after a devastating and bloody civil war (for those of you who are historically challenged).

As strongly as you feel about marriage, do you think the marriage issue is equivalent to the Civil War and that the constitution should be further changed from a charter about limited government into a blueprint for how Americans should and shouldn’t live their lives? Which do you care most about, the structure of the government that has served us so well for so long or using the government to enforce this moral value?

If you choose using the constitution to govern society’s values, you join the people who want to make housing and health care a constitutional right. All of you believe that the constitution shouldn’t be about a limited federal government and negative rights any more.

Maybe everyone will get along fine when marriage is defined this way and everyone sits around waiting for their welfare, housing, and health care checks rather than working. But I’m not so sure.

Visitor Comments for Maybe We Should Leave the Constitution Alone RSS 2.0


Wouldn’t Prohibition be the better analogy?

Jim Harper

By golly – yes!

The eighteenth amendment banned the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors in the United States – an amendment about society not government – and that worked so badly it had to be repealed.

(The lesson here: a blog is about community, and all of us working together do a better job than me alone!)

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