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The Defense of Marriage?

by Samuel Genson, published

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (more commonly referred to as DOMA), Conservatives across the country are up in arms. As a Conservative, this baffles me to some degree. Conservatives are supposed to believe in smaller government, not overreaching, allowing more choices to be made by the individual states not an overarching federal government. However, that does not stop many Conservatives from being upset because they want smaller government on their terms. This seems to be the latest instance of just such a matter.

Few would dispute that California is different from Indiana, that New York is not the same as South Dakota.

I typically do not write about social issues...and I view this as a social issue. The fact is that this is a BIG deal though. To some, it is life changing decision the Supreme Court made. Some will say that this ruling "ruins traditional marriage". The problem with that argument is that traditional marriage has been in ruins long before this.

Since the year 2000, the marriage rate has been on the decline from 8.2 marriages per 1000 people to 6.8 per 1000 in 2011.  In 2000, the divorce rate was 4.0 divorces per 1000 people, dropping to 3.6 per 1000 in 2011. Even though the divorce rate declined over that span it actually increased when compared to marriages. Clearly, more people are choosing to live a life without marriage.

While gay people could be a threat to the "sanctity of marriage", I doubt that anyone will notice since heterosexuals are busy destroying marriage already. Gay divorces will happen. Gay custody hearings will occur. Given the rough estimate of gay & lesbian people in the United States - taking an assumption that heterosexual numbers hold true in gay marriages - this would only be a 3.5% increase in court cases.

The reactions to this ruling in the 50 states will vary widely. Some states will move to create laws that set marriage as being between two consenting adults, regardless of sex.  Others will adopt amendments to their constitutions that deem marriage as only that which is between one man and one woman. One thing is very certain though, with the Supreme Court striking down DOMA, a whole host of battles will now arise throughout the nation.

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