On Tuesday, Illinois voted to become the 15th state to legalize homosexual marriage. Michelle and Barack Obama were overjoyed. In a speech, Obama congratulated his home state with some glowing words of praise:
Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state.
. . . Throughout this debate, they’ve made it clear that this is about civil marriages and civil laws, and made sure that churches and other institutions of faith are still free to make their own decisions that conform to their own teachings.
. . . Our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.
Echoing the language of the Constitution’s Preamble, Obama seems to think that our nation will only be truly unified when we have nationally recognized all the forms of love we could possibly commit to one another. Some forms of love are obviously still illegal, but just give it time. In Obama’s clearly strict constructionist view of the Constitution, our Founding Fathers believed that our national integrity depended on same-sex marriage, so perhaps in a few years, we’ll realize that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al, also wanted us to legalize pedophilia and bestiality. But one perversion at a time, people. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Notice also that his comments emphasize the civil nature of same-sex marriage laws. Obama believes that marriage is an exclusively civil agreement. Religious interpretations and ecclesiastical jurisdiction have nothing to do with it. So, in that sense, he believes religious freedom has been preserved simply because marriage has been defined outside of religion. “Your religious freedom is intact; we’ve just made your religion entirely irrelevant to this question. But feel free to keep practicing your neutralized religion by all means. Well, by the scant means we’ve left to you anyway.”
That is possibly the most radical part of same-sex marriage legislation. It has placed marriage, and the conversation about marriage, squarely under civil jurisdiction. You are no longer married “in the eyes of God and these witnesses.” The only witness necessary now, apparently, is the all-seeing eye of the State.