With President Obama’s announcement yesterday and the North Carolina vote the day before, the subject of gay marriage has been in the news. You can find a good analysis of it here. My thoughts, essentially, are “it’s about time” and “what’s the fuss about, anyway”. I thought I would take a few minutes during lunch to elaborate on this:
- The government, in general, has no business dictating what are legal marriages. That goes for “traditional” as well as whatever “non-traditional” groupings you can think of. Essentially, that is the government intruding into religious space. However…
- Given that the government does recognize such “personal corporate entities” (for lack of a better term) for the purposes of visitation, inheritance, etc., that recognition must reflect the attitude of “equal under the law”. That means interracial, interreligious, and samesex must be accepted. If a group files to be recognized by the state, it should be recognized (and yes, I do think there are some groups that should be prohibited, primarily those involving “below the age of legal consent” or “incapable of legal consent”–that is, children and animals).
- Government recognition does not mandate religious recognition, or what is taught in religious schools. The government can’t tell religious leaders they must participate in any ceremony, or that they have to–from the point of view of what a church accepts–accept a particular view. The government can only have a say for those areas where the government provides funds: thus if a church provides a community service funded by the government, that community service must be “equal under the law”.
- [Caveat 1: Now, this might open the can of worms of whether IRS exemptions for churches are government funding. They might be, and arguably, if a church wants to have that exemption, they must recognize same-sex marriages. You might argue that this would make churches suffer. Well, churches have always suffered for the sake of what is "morally right". But I'll agree that this is a muddy water, and I'd be equally happy with looking the other way on this.]
- [Caveat 2: Yes, this extends to abortion as well. The right to abortion should be legal--to do anything else is to have the government impose one religious view on those with a different religious view. Don't want to offer abortions? Fine. You don't have to take government funds.]
- However, the linked article is correct when this is called a cultural war. There are two clear camps: those who believe that the government should not be dictating morals based on a specific religious creed, and those that believe that they have to impose their religious beliefs on those they view as non- or lax-believers so that they will have a better share in the world-to-come. I think the outcome of this “war” will truly dictate the future of this great nation, and determine whether it will hold true to its founding ideals as a place where minority religions and groups are free.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?