Why Is ID for the Right to Vote Treated Differently from ID for Other Rights?

Voter ID laws have been surrounded by controversy since their very inception. Opponents of the laws will argue that requiring an ID will impede the fundamental right to vote, but have no argument about the other equally fundamental rights that do require ID

As federal courts wrestle with voter ID laws in several states just months before a national election, there is considerably less attention being brought to other constitutional rights that require ID. . . .

It isn’t just the Second Amendment that is subject to ID scrutiny. First Amendment freedoms sometimes require some identification, said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and a former Justice Department attorney.

Here is a list of seven life scenarios involving fundamental rights that would require at least some form of identification

1) Welfare Benefits- Not a traditional constitutional right, but the Supreme Court thought it was a right that should be granted due process prior to benefits being taken away in Goldberg v. Kelly. The state of Massachusetts even requires a photo ID on the electronic benefits card that grants access to food under Temporary Aid for Needy Families.

2) Registration for Buying Guns- Gun laws are not standardized across the nation, but more likely than not your state will require an ID to register to purchase a gun. New York City, for example, requires a lengthy handgun purchase authorization, and requires original sensitive documents like your Social Security card, and birth certificate.  As stated by J.Christian Adams, general counsel for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, and former Department of Justice attorney:

"The constitution does guarantee the right to use firearms, and ID is always required to purchase a firearm. If you talk about buying liquor, the left will shred that argument. If you talk about ID when buying a gun, it boxes them in." 

3) Petition Your Government- In order to peacefully petition on Capitol Hill, you would have register as a lobbyist, which requires identification, and access to most government office buildings requires identification.

4) Right of Assembly- Oftentimes municipalities require protest organizers to obtain permits to protest in public spaces. This requirement does vary state to state, but obtaining the permit requires identification.

5) Right to Marry- The Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia, that marriage is a fundamental right. Voting is also a fundamental right, but in order to procure a marriage license to validate the marriage, you have to show identification. The District of Columbia, requires a valid photo identification which could include valid driver's license with picture, passport, or military identification.

6) Freedom of Movement- Freedom of movement is widely recognized as apart of the privileges and immunities clause of the Constitution, noting that citizens are granted the "right of free ingress into other states, and egress from them."  Boarding a plane requires photo identification, as does renting a car and often purchasing train or bus tickets.

7) Public Accommodations- Checking into a hotel usually consists of two things; your identification and a form of payment. Many local governments even require hotels to obtain and maintain that information to be available for police review.

All of the aforementioned rights require an ID, and are just as fundamental to American society, yet lack the controversy surrounding voter ID laws.