I read today that the supporters of Initiative 1192 – defining marriage as between one man and one women, has fallen short petition signatures and won’t be on the ballot. It could have struck me as a blow against moral and traditional values, but instead it struck me that creating a legal definition of marriage is like creating a legal definition of the color orange. Marriage is what marriage is, in the same fashion that orange is what orange is. There can be many shades of orange, but we all recognize orange for what it truly is, a combination of red and yellow.
Just yesterday we celebrated the 4th of July which is actually an anniversary celebration of the day that our Declaration of Independence was first signed. Eventually it was signed by a total of 56 of our nations founding fathers and all of them recognized one important fact that seems to elude us in the present day marriage equality kerfuffle.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
A simple yet profoundly important fact that set the tone for their whole declaration. .
…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
Some truths are self-evident, so are not dictated or defined by man in legal codes. Some truths are endowed by our Creator, or Nature, if that is your spiritual leaning. In fact these self-evident truths are commonly referred to as Natural Law. We know our Founding Fathers felt that among those self-evident Natural Laws were that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights such as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, but what other laws from nature exist?
I’m not aware of any legal code defining Orange, yet everyone knows what orange is regardless of language or tradition. Orange is a combination of red and yellow; orange is what orange is, it is self-evident. Do we need to get a petition going to defend orange against redefinition by a vocal small minority? I don’t think so. What would they propose as a definition, a combination of red and red or a combination of yellow and yellow? Well they could try it, but it wouldn’t really change what orange is. And neither would pass a pre-school finger paint test. I mean, how confusing would it be for a 4 year old to be told that red+red or yellow+yellow, is the same as red+yellow. And how tough on a teacher to be put into a position to have to teach a definition of orange that is different from the self-evident truth of orange.
Marriage, like orange, or the fact that all men are created equal, is a self-evident truth. Nature is filled with relational truths like marriage. We have gender in plants and animals, magnets have opposite ends, up has down, in has out, hot has cold. We can even include more complicated relationships like Pythagorean’s Theorem, sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle equals the square of the hypotenuse, aka A² + B² = C². And the list could go on.
Whether you want to deny self-evident truths or petition to re-define them in legal code doesn’t change their truth. If down were redefined as up, you still won’t float off into space when you get out of bed tomorrow. That’s the great thing about truth; truth is like Honey Badger. So go and make your petitions and what not, Wally don’t care.
Oh, and one more thought. When something other than the truth is presented as the truth, it is commonly referred to as a lie. So saying that you get orange when you mix red and yellow would be a lie. You get my drift.