The United States Constitution forbids the establishment of any religion by the government. In the matter spoken of in this petition this means no particular religious belief is supposed to be the deciding factor in whether any particular person or group of people may have access to any civil right. On June 12, 1967, the U. S. Supreme Court in its decision on the Loving V State of Virginia case ruled that ''The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a "basic civil right". Therefore it is proposed, in the interests of maintaining the separation of church and state and the guarantee of basic civil rights to all citizens, that the term "marriage" be removed from all definitions and laws in the United States and replaced with the term "civil union". The term "marriage" has been claimed by many religions and religious organizations resulting in it becoming regarded by much of the population as a religious term. As such, the term "marriage" has been used to discriminate against many people, including, particularly, homosexuals. This has resulted in the de facto "establishment" of those religions as they use their influence to deny the basic civil right of "marriage", guaranteed by our Constitution, in many circumstances. Replacing the religiously biased term "marriage" with the legal term "civil union" would rectify this situation. Please support this change so all citizens who choose to form households around permanent committed relationships may have the rights, benefits, privileges and responsibilities currently conveyed under law by the term "marriage".
We, the undersigned, respectfully request a change to the wording of the laws and definitions of your area so our laws may be in keeping with the mandates of the United States Constitution.
Article 1 of the Amendments to the Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, ..." Many people in the United States think the term "marriage" is a religious term. Use of the term "marriage" in the laws in the United States has therefore become a de facto establishment of those religions claiming and defining
the term to such an extent that measures such as Proposition 8 of 2008 in the State of California passed due to the religious definition of the term "marriage" without regard for the civil rights aspects involved. There are several religious organizations in this country which convey a religious condition commonly referred to as "marriage", regardless of the sexes of the individuals involved, but whose "marriages" of homosexual couples, in every other aspect being equal to those of heterosexual couples, are denied the basic civil right of having those "marriages" recognized under law. These organizations are being denied "free exercise" of their religious rights.
Further, on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a unanimous decision of the case of Loving V State of Virginia, stated "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a "basic civil right". Civil rights must be available to all citizens for our country to remain true to the spirit and intent of the Constitution.
Rather than grappling with the complexities involved in differentiating between the terms "marriage" and legal "marriage" and the de facto establishment of some religions inherent therein, we propose that the term "marriage" be removed from all laws and definitions, in both the various states and federal usage, to be replaced by the term "civil union" to denote a legal relationship between those who otherwise would choose to have a legal "marriage" as defined by law rather than religious considerations. The term "marriage" would revert to its common usage in such religions as choose to use it. Those who now have legal "marriages" would be allowed to continue common use of the term "marriage", but would have to adapt to the new term "civil union" regarding their status when communicating with governmental agencies.
We realize this issue may be controversial, and you may have to explain your stance regarding it to your constituents, but as a person of honor dedicated to upholding the United States Constitution in your oath of office, whether directly stated or not, this matter deserves your reasonable consideration and support.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to consider our request which is made in support of the civil rights of all citizens.