A Common Sense Constitutional Argument for the Legality of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States

Most of this is pretty obvious (and/or was established by the Prop 8 decision in California), but I decided I wanted to write it all out for the next time I argue about it with someone from high school on Facebook. I am not a lawyer, clearly, and if someone with more expertise in civil law than I have can disprove these statements legally, please, don't spend your time leaving a comment:  The pro-Prop 8 lawyers need you, and you should get in touch with them instead.

1. The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

2. Because we do not have any officially established religion, whether Christianity or Hinduism or Islam or Shintoism or Wicca, our government's laws are not and should not be dictated by any religious laws or prohibitions.

2A. We have a civil government and not a religious one.  

Opinion: This is right and good for everyone, including religious people, because it enables multiple religions the freedom and protection to flourish, and also frees people to choose not to practice any religion at all. Certainly each religion may believe it is the only right and true one; but it must win influence through speaking to the hearts and minds of individuals, not through imposing its will upon everyone.

Opinion II: Do not bust out that the "Founding Fathers were Christian" stuff. Many of the Founding Fathers were Deists at most; all of them were well aware of the corrosive influence of religious and denominational wars in Europe (because, indeed, many of their ancestors came to America to escape those religious conflicts or persecution altogether); and if they did intend the United States to be governed by Christian law, for some reason they did not write it into the Constitution, which means it's not part of our law now:  "no law respecting an establishment of religion" is.

Opinion III: As I understand it, the Judeo-Christianist opposition to homosexuality arises almost entirely out of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which declares "men lying with men as they do with women" "detestable" or "an abomination." While the exact translation of these verses is much debated, I think it's perfectly fair for Christianists and their fellow fundamentalists to use them to judge others' behavior . . . so long as they hold to that same ancient Leviticus standard in their own behavior, meaning they should not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material (19:19) or cut their sidelocks or beards (19:27), and women should be considered unclean and isolate themselves during their periods (15:19-33). [Ideally in this scenario, adulterers would be put to death (20:10), but our civil law prevents that.] Otherwise, these fundamentalists are being inconsistent in their application of the law. I do not see many non-Hasidic people, and especially many Christianists, abiding by these standards. 

3. While a marriage may be conducted under or ratified by a religious body, it has civil and legal ramifications regarding rights, property, and responsibilities.

3A. Therefore it can and should be regulated by civil law (and indeed, for heterosexuals, it already is). 

4. The Fourteenth Amendment reads, "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" (emphasis mine).

5.  Right now, our federal civil law grants only heterosexuals the right to marry the people they love.

6. This means that gays and lesbians are being denied that equal protection of the law, and having their privileges abridged.

N.B. Two LGBT people who wish to be married love each other with the same strong romantic feelings as two heterosexual people who wish to be married. (Opinion:  I include this because the Biblical focus on sex often means that people opposed to this appear to ignore the love; and they should consider what it might feel like to have the government prevent them from legally uniting with the person of the opposite gender whom they love, and thereby gaining all the rights that marriage grants.)

7. As this is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, same-sex civil marriage should be legal.

8. No heterosexual person's rights will be infringed or marriage will be diminished or damaged by this.

9. As per the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, the government cannot and should not force religious bodies to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. 

That is all.