The right to marry and have a family often is seen as a sacred affirmation of human life. It shares a sentimental value in society. It is a celebration of the power of connection.
Today, a white man residing in the United States can marry a woman of color. They will surely not get arrested for this. However, this was only sometimes the case. It is now possible under the right to marriage and family as is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
In the past, marriage was primarily a social institution governed by religion and the norms of society. Critics have often argued that marriage was an institution furthering a patriarchal mindset. Intercultural interracial and same-sex marriages did not have legal recognition. Often individuals did not have a sea in their own marriage partners. However, all of that changed when international and national laws recognized the right to marriage and family.
Right To Marriage And Family: Definition
The clause has two different rights: the right to marriage and family. Both of these rights are very closely related. The right to family or family life guarantees an individual the right to have a complete family with members that the person chooses. The basis of a family may begin with blood relatives but may be extended to spouses and even near relatives. This list may include but is not limited to parents, spouses, partners, children, siblings, and even grandparents and grandchildren.
There are some challenges where the modern concept of the family needs to fit the legally and explicitly recognized definitions. The Strasbourg Court, aka the European Court of human rights, has stated that the definition of family will consider any recent societal developments. It has stated that there is no correct definition or one choice when defining family.
In the famous judgment of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, the European Court of Human Rights stated that same-sex marriages fell under one’s right to a private life. However, the court also ruled that it does not direct states’ legislation to accept same-sex marriages as an extension of this right.
Right To Marriage And Family: Internation Recognition
The right to marriage has been accepted as a fundamental right according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United States Constitution. In the year 1948, the United Nations declared the right to marriage as one of the basic human rights to be enjoyed by all. Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights deals with human beings’ marriage rights.
“Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”- Article 16 of the UDHR.
The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights
This international body also enforces through Article 17 and Article 23 an individual’s right to family. Article 17 clearly states that arbitrary and unlawful interference in family and private matters of an individual is subject to protection by the law. Article 23 states that the the right to family is an individual’s fundamental and natural right.
The International Covenant On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights
This international body also states that of the family should enjoy the widest possible protection and assistance. According to this, a family is a fundamental group unit of society.
UDHR On Marriage
Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights very clearly protects the institution of marriage.
It establishes the following requirements:
- The men and women entering into marriage should be of due age, i.e., not a minor.
- They should be subject to know discrimination on religion, nationality, race, or other factors.
- The parties should enter a marriage with full and free consent.
Right To Marriage And Family In The United States
The Constitution of The United States does not specifically guarantee an individual’s right to marriage and family. However, legal presidents are of much significance in establishing this fundamental right.
The Due Process Clause
The 14th Amendment to the American Constitution established this clause. Time and again, courts have held this clause as a guarantee of the freedom to marry.
Loving vs. Virginia 1967
In this case, the Supreme Court of the United States held that marriage was a fundamental aspect of a person’s freedom. It went on to ban a law prohibiting interracial marriage in the country.
Obergefell v. Hodges
This judgment of 2015 was a landmark in LGBTQ rights in the United States. The Court ruled that same-sex marriage in the US was an extension of the constitutional right to marry.
Right To Family: Due Process Clause
The Supreme Court health that this clause guaranteed a parent’s right to establish a family.
Protection Of Family Privacy
The Constitution of the United States protects families’ right to privacy. No family will face unwanted intrusion from the government of the United States of America.
The judicial system of the United States protects a parent’s right to make decisions regarding their children. Education, safety, and medical needs are all a part of parental care.
Wrapping It Up!
Therefore, the right to marriage and family is a crucial aspect. It ensures autonomy, privacy, and equality among human beings. Right to marriage and family violations are also taken very seriously under the laws of the United States. However, the interpretation and application of the rights are a subject of debate in different states. It continues to be a sensitive topic. Complex questions on reproductive rights, non-traditional family structures, and personal liberties are still a topic of legal discussion. However, as society changes, so will the laws. The definitions of family and marriage are ever-changing. Laws of the land will need to bend to fit the changing needs and problems in society.