Marriage Equality and the Intent of the Founders

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There seem to be a number of persons who oppose marriage equality being the law of the land who point to the fact that “our founders did not intend this.” Let’s be straight, our founders did not intend African Americans to be more than 3/5 of a person and relegated them to slavery. Our founders did not intend for women to vote or be treated as equals to men. Our founders did not intend for people without property to vote. Our founders justified and carried out the removal and killing of the indigenous people who inhabited the land before them. Our founders intended the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of white European men who violently occupied a land that was not their own.

Fortunately, our country has evolved some over the years, and in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified (not by our founders) and all persons were given equal protection under the law. This equal protection has been extended to African Americans and to women (not the intent of the founders and unfortunately still not fully realized). Equal protection of the law for all persons includes persons who are LGBTQ. Did our founders intend this? No, but we have evolved to have a greater understanding of human rights than our founders had, and that is a very very good thing! I am grateful that the check of equal rights and liberty for all people in our nation is finally being cashed more fully.

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is The Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. From 2009 to 2015, Mark was dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and Wimberly Professor of Social Ethics at Oklahoma City University. Previously, Mark was dean of the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University and Founding Director of the Vivian Wimberly Center for Ethics and Servant Leadership. Prior to becoming dean of the Wimberly School of Religion in 2002, he was associate dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University and chair of the department of philosophy. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University.
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