Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gay Marriage vs. the First Amendment?

From National Public Radio, no less:
As gay couples in California head to the courthouse starting Monday to get legally married, there are signs of a coming storm. Two titanic legal principles are crashing on the steps of the church, synagogue and mosque: equal treatment for same-sex couples on the one hand, and the freedom to exercise religious beliefs on the other.
The linked article includes summaries of court cases where activists have sued over adoption, housing, religious schooling, in-vitro fertilization, wedding services and facilities, and access of religious groups to public facilities. It's an indication that we need to do some serious thinking about the implications of gay marriage laws.

Update: Just wanted to share some thoughts from one more article on the same subject:
This illustrates exactly why when courts redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, it is no simple matter of letting private individuals do what they wish...

Now we see what happens when this newly redefined right to have strangers regard one’s relationship as particular and intimate crashes into the reality that most of the world’s religions regard such intimacy between two women or two men as wrong in one way or another – as “fundamentally disordered,” as the Catholics put it.

What happens is that judges sweep the religious views aside.

Not that courts are outlawing the mere belief that gay sex is a sin, at least not yet. But as Marc D. Stern of the American Jewish Congress writes in Tuesday's L.A. Times, allowing mere belief or not actually forcing clergy to perform gay “marriages” is an awfully narrow view of religious liberty.

The practical effect is that religions are increasingly stopped from behaving as if they believed that homosexual relationships were wrong. Believers can believe; they just can’t let that belief govern their actions if it in any way impairs what is a new right to have one’s homosexual relationship affirmed by the implicit social approval that comes with marriage. Under this new calculus, so much as merely declining to shoot pictures for pay amounts to an unacceptable “hatred.”

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