U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia discarded the votes of 76 percent of Texans as he struck down Texas’s 2005 constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of man and woman. In his opinion for the court, Garcia claims that the “court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.” He added that “without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”
But this appeal to inequality fails to address the question of what marriage is and what legitimate governmental purpose marriage serves.
Equality demands that we treat in the same ways things that are the same. But a same-sex relationship is fundamentally different from a marriage. No same-sex union can produce a child. And no same-sex relationship can provide a child with a mother and a father.
The government isn’t in the business of affirming our loves. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose.
And consenting adults are legally free to do so. Contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex relationships. Nothing about them is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits.
What’s at issue is whether the courts will redefine marriage—and then force every citizen, religious institution, and business to treat same-sex relationships as if they are marriages.