|"For Marriage Equality" Inks on Bristol / 2013|
Here in the United States and especially in my home state of Tennessee, authorities have time after time placed limitations on the legal definitions of relationships as well as the social benefits which go along with such unions. This year, August 31st has been declared "Traditional Marriage Day" by Senate Joint Resolution 134. Turning a biased eye from the supposed separation of Church and State set forth by our Founding Fathers, the second line of this bill authored by the Tennessee State Senate reads:
"WHEREAS, in Genesis 2:24, matrimony is delineated; it is expressed only between a man and a wife."
Champions for this legislation would argue the resolution defends the sanctity of marriage as far as promoting couples to stay or get married for the sake of their children and their own well-being. The bill goes on to expand its verbiage in regards to marriage and the drawbacks of single parenting. Of course without the wool drying out your eyes you can clearly see first and foremost, this bill cites The Holy Bible in its affront to the current Civil Rights struggle of the LGBT community in their quest for States to recognize Gay Marriage.
So what is "Traditional Marriage" here in Tennessee? It's certainly not a union between one man and one man (or one woman and one woman.) Is it the union joining one man and one woman? Is it the union of one white man and one white woman? It may surprise some to know to this day, the Tennessee State Constitution bars interracial couples from marrying as far as those with African American ancestry are concerned. Article XI: Miscellaneous Provisions: Section 14 reads:
"The intermarriage of white persons with negroes, mulattoes, or persons of mixed blood, descended from a negro to the third generation inclusive of their living together as man and wife in this State is prohibited. The legislature shall enforce this section by appropriate legislation."
Does the Bible also lay out marital limitations to follow as far as race is concerned? No, just as it does not state anywhere within its texts a condemnation of homosexual love. Neither the State, the Federal Government or the Church have the authority to determine who you can love. In the age of the 24 hour news cycle, we often lose perspective on what is "recent" history. It was less than 50 years ago (in an estimated 2-7 million year human history) that the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision in Loving vs. Virginia with regards to interracial marriage in 1967:
“The Fourteenth Amendment,” Chief Justice Warren wrote, “requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the state.”
the first interracial marriage in Tennessee's history took place on the heels of this case rooting in Virginia. In lieu of the Federal decision, many southern states never officially legalized interracial marriage. The Tennessee State Constitution has to this day never been amended to recognize the binding of white and black people in holy matrimony. While Tennessee just can't bring themselves around to passing an amendment to clarify their stance on this sort of union, they had absolutely no trouble adding even more provisions in 2006. Entitled the Marriage Protection Amendment, Title 36 Chapter 23 Part 1 of Tennessee Code states:
Any policy, law or judicial interpretation that purports to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one (1) man and one (1) woman is contrary to the public policy of Tennessee.
Of course, Federal Law has contradicted as well as superseded State Laws before as mentioned above. Given their stubborn history, we can assume this will never see amending in Tennessee no matter the outcome of future Gay Marriage debates at the Federal level. In these regards, every day is "Traditional Marriage Day" in Tennessee for those who would see it as one White Christian Man and one White Christian Woman legally living as man and wife.
Traditional is in its first description defined as "an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior." The tradition bringing all of us here today is love. Without it, we cease to exist and we lack the initiative which builds communities and families. Love is defined in the eye of the beholder as it is beyond verbal or societal definition. Love is not limited to race, social standing or gender. We should reexamine or history and decide to limit religion's role to the Church and love's role to the Home and Community. Certainly, neither have a place in Politics.
This weekend, rallies will be held here in Tennessee representing both sides of this issue which has been magnified by Traditional Marriage Day. In response, August 31st has also been proclaimed Tennessee Marriage Equality Day by the Tennessee Equality Project. Which Side of History (or Hypocrisy) will you be on?
Click HERE for Tennessee Marriage Equality Day rally locations and details!