The concept of holding on to a ritual or belief from a previous time that is passed down within a society and still maintained in the present is tradition, and they can persist and sometimes evolve over thousands of years. Every society has myriad popular traditions that are practiced and adhered to by a majority of people, but a tradition’s popularity should not be the impetus for enacting federal or state laws that penalize non-participants, or those who favor alternative traditions. Over the past several years, one tradition has been thrust into cultural and political discourse based around a religious belief, and it has served as motivation to subvert the Constitution’s promise of equal and civil rights with solid support from the religious right’s legislative arm, the Republican Party. Americans love traditions, but the idea of legislating a tradition is about as absurd as legislating morality, but that is the quandary facing America in 2012, and the Supreme Court in 2013.
The news that the Supreme Court will hear two cases revolving around same-sex marriage, and whether the highest court in the land will rule on mandating the traditional definition of marriage as the law of the land, is in one sense, a simple case of civil and equal rights, and on another level, a case of determining whether or not the bible is the law of the land. If one contemplates who supports the court striking down same-sex marriage laws, upholding California’s Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act, then there is little doubt the issue is not about upholding a tradition, but enforcing a religion’s dogma.
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