Last edited: February 06, 2005

Don’t Amend Constitution

A Social Issue Such as Gay Marriages Doesn’t Belong There.

The 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 The 18th Amendment was approved in 1919 and then repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.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 business.

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 States.

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 enforced.

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 constitutional amendment.

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