Love vs. science

This week the Supreme Court of the United States listened to arguments on Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California in 2008, as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996. It’s likely the court won’t hand down a decision until June, which means months of speculation on how exactly the judges will rule.

In the meantime, legal experts and pundits are already speculating that Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 established a woman's constitutional right to a first-trimester abortion in the United States, may impact the ruling.

By not allowing states to rule individually on abortion, the Supreme Court ultimately complicated the process, argues John C. Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage and a law professor at Chapman University. Eastman told The New York Times that the “lesson [the Supreme Court judges] should draw is that when you are moving beyond the clear command of the Constitution, you should be very hesitant about shutting down a political debate.”

Actually, no.

Regardless of one's feelings on Roe v. Wade, one of the main reasons abortion remains a contentious issue isn't just for so-called moral values, but because people—lawyers, scientists, theologists, et al.—continue to debate when, exactly, a life becomes viable.

When it comes to love and marriage, however, there's no need for science unless we're discussing the physical chemistry that attracts two people to one another.

For legal guidance, the Supreme Court need look no further than its decision in Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that invalidated all state laws outlawing interracial marriage.

Marriage is an issue of civil rights, not science—with only the most technical of parallels to Roe v. Wade.

The decision should be easy.