I recently found this comment on a friend’s Facebook (oh, the technology era): “I don’t think that marriage is a basic human right. The problem is all the stuff the government gives you for being married. If they just took that stuff away from straight people i bet gay people would be fine.”
Here’s the thing. It is.
Marriage is a fundamental human right according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 16; considered a standard for common achievement) and the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 23; legally binding international treaty). Furthermore, though not mentioned in the United States Constitution, it can be argued, as was the case in Iowa per the state’s own constitution, to be a matter of equal protection under the law.
Which is precisely what I commented in response.
If the problem here is what counts as “basic,” then we’re into a whole other conversation about the universality, indivisibility, interdependence, and interrelation of human rights. For one right to be more “basic” or “fundamental” than another, one must be “more important;” this cannot be. All rights must be equal, no hierarchy. All people are entitled to all rights, hence “human rights.” This ensures a life of dignity for all members of the human family.
See also: Why Same-Sex Marriage Matters