In his opinion declaring Virginia's marriage law unconstitutional, Judge Henry Floyd of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit summarized what he perceived to be the basic disagreement between the opponents and proponents of the law.
"The opponents and proponents agree that marriage is a fundamental right," the judge wrote. "They strongly disagree, however, regarding whether that right encompasses the right to same-sex marriage. The opponents argue that the fundamental right to marry belongs to the individual, who enjoys the right to marry the person of his or her choice. By contrast, the proponents point out that, traditionally, states have sanctioned only man-woman marriages. They contend that, in light of this history, the right to marry does not include a right to same-sex marriage."
Neither of these arguments — as summarized by the judge — is true. Even if states had historically approved of same-sex marriage, that would not make such marriages a right. After all, some states had historically approved of letting some people hold other people in slavery — which was not a right, but rather a profound violation of the God-given rights of the people who were enslaved.
The truth is all true rights come from God.
If any other power claims to be the author of our rights, that power is attempting to usurp an authority that belongs only to God, and is attacking the only basis for the rule of law that forms the foundation of free societies.
Our Founding Fathers rightly said all men are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., rightly said: "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."
The problem for the leaders of America's cultural left is that some of the things they demand our society must recognize as "rights" cannot plausibly be held up as God-given rights. Thus, they simply are not rights. Period.
Did God give a doctor the right to lacerate to death an innocent child in her mother's womb? Or pull her feet first from that womb and then puncture her skull?
Of course not.
Did God give two men or two women a "right" to marry one another and then adopt children with the approval of the state? If two people of the same sex do have a right to marry and take custody of children, then, as this column argued last week, children cannot be deemed to have a right to a mother and a father.
Which is more likely: That a baby has a God-given right to a mother, or that two men have a God-given right to marry one another and then secure a child through, for example, the paid services of a surrogate mother?
America's cultural left not only wants this nation to recognize as rights things that are not rights, but to abridge rights that are truly God-given and inalienable.
Does a Christian family that owns a business have a God-given right not to be forced by the government into complicity in the taking of an innocent human life? The Obama administration does not think so. It fought the owners of Hobby Lobby all the way to the Supreme Court on this question, and continues to fight multiple lawsuits aimed at cementing into our law the power of the government to force people to pay for other people's abortion-inducing drugs.
Because it is so implausible to argue that men are endowed by their creator with a right to kill unborn children, or a right to marry people of the same sex, America's cultural left is moving away from the founding principle spelt out in our Declaration of Independence.
What will they replace it with? Their own arbitrary power.TERENCE JEFFREY, a Washington Examiner Columnist, is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.