Monday, April 11, 2005

Precious privilege becomes a right

In her March 18 column entitled "Narrow-minded Majority," the Kansas City Star's Barbara Shelly writes, "Conservatives were outmaneuvered in Topeka last session and missed the chance to send Kansans to the polls to defend the sanctity of marriage, preserve the Judeo-Christian tradition and spare the state from the homosexual agenda and activist judges."

"Whose day-to-day lives are actually worse off if committed gays and lesbians enter into formal lifelong partnerships?," Shelly asks. " I haven't yet heard a good answer to that one. Who gets hurt by these public votes to deny a precious privilege to a minority group?"

Speaking for myself, my day-to-day life wouldn't be worse off. However, I also don't believe my day-to-day life would suffer if some guy in Olathe were married to five women. The point is we as a society have placed limits on the "precious privilege" known as marriage. Shelly and other liberals would unlikely expand the privilege to one man and one tree or to one man and five women, so the difference between the "narrow-minded majority" and the "enlightened" liberals is at what point do we place the limits. A majority believes the point should be where it has always been in Kansas and this country, i.e., marriage is between one man and one woman.

Further into her column, Shelly changes the "precious privilege" of marriage into a "right" t0 marry: "You can't affirm a person as an equal and then deny him or her access to the same legal and human rights that you take for granted."

Given that all rights are individual rights, the belief that there is a right to marry is where those activist judges come in. The late Balint Vazonyi explained the misinterpretation of rights in America's 30 Years War (1998): "What do we make of the assertion by a highly placed member of the judiciary that 'rights not listed in the Constitution are cherished, if anything, more than the ones that are'? What is the source of such rights? Who guarantees them? Judge Reinhardt's first example is the right to marry. But since marriage will occur only with the consent of two people, no individual can assert a right to it. Government cannot require the consent of either party, thus government cannot deliver a guarantee for it."