The authority to define marriage in English speaking nations has been battled between church and state since the reign of Henry VIII. The church eventually lost and now the state has complete authority to define marriage.
In South Carolina, the General Assembly first voted to prohibit same-sex marriages in 1996. In 2006, South Carolinians voted by a margin of 78% to 22% to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
As the United States Supreme Court prepares to debate non-traditional marriage, below are several questions that would be prudent for them to discuss:
Is the right to marry a natural right?
Is it a violation of individual religious freedom for the state to approve same sex marriage?
Are marriage licenses a violation of the separation of church and state?
Should “marriage” be a legal term or merely a religious/social/cultural term?
Does the freedom of association (freedom of assembly) extend to freedom of individual association?
Given the divorce rates, are civil unions (including marriage) still beneficial to society beyond ensuring the care of children?
Do civil unions provide greater protection for individuals than already found in common law?
Considering that the percentage of children born out of wedlock has increased from 7% to 41% since the 1960’s, has the government protected and promoted marriage?
Should the state consider alternatives to civil unions such as the establishment of a parental union upon the birth of a child?