Don’t Amend Constitution
A Social Issue Such as Gay Marriages Doesn’t Belong There.
Leaf-Chronicle, July 6, 2003
P.O. Box 31029, Clarksville, TN 37040-0018
The U.S. Constitution has been amended just 27 times in
the history of our republic. The first 10 were passed as the Bill of Rights in
support for the original document. Most other amendments deal either with
voting and citizen rights or ways in which the federal government specifically
should be run.
One amendment—Prohibition—was a colossal failure. The
18th Amendment was approved in 1919 and then repealed by the 21st Amendment in
1933. It didn’t work because, ultimately, Americans did not want the
government regulating something they considered to be their own private
In retrospect, Prohibition was an attempt by government
at social engineering, and it had no business in the Constitution. It was
incredibly expensive to enforce, and it gave rise to an unexpected
consequence—organized crime gaining a foothold in the United States.
This trip down the constitutional memory lane is inspired
by recent remarks from Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist, who has said he supports a
proposed constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage in the United
Frist said he was concerned that since the U.S. Supreme
Court threw out a Texas law that prohibited acts of sodomy between homosexuals
in a private home, that could lead to gay marriages and a deterioration of
laws against all criminal activity in the home.
This newspaper respectfully disagrees with Frist’s
assessment. The high court’s decision to recognize privacy rights of two
consenting adults behind closed doors is not going to lead to social
anarchy—and reflects the fact that while many Americans may not agree with
the practice of homosexual acts, they also don’t want to see the police
burst into bedrooms and slap handcuffs on consenting adults.
But other laws on the books concerning nonconsensual
sexual contact—pedophilia, for instance—will continue to be vigorously
In the coming years, individual state legislatures may
look at the issue of gay marriages. The matter is one that deserves
considerable debate in our society. But the subject doesn’t need a
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