Support Gay Marriage, Support Religious Freedom
One of the most common arguments against same sex marriage in the United States is that it will destroy religious freedoms and increase government interference in churches and other religious organizations by forcing churches to marry gay couples, even if they oppose gay marriage/
The problem is, the exact opposite is true.
Religious freedom laws are completely separate from marriage laws in this country. The United States Constitution protects the right of churches and other religious organizations to refuse to marry same sex couples on religious grounds. This is not going to change if same sex marriage becomes legal throughout the nation. In fact, it's written into the Bill of Rights itself, and you can't get much more set in stone in this country than that.
Here's the funny thing, though. Because marriage laws in most states prohibit same sex couples from marrying, churches and other religious organizations that DO support same sex marriage are prevented from marrying same sex couples in accordance with THEIR beliefs.
Strangely enough, I don't hear a lot of "religious freedom" advocates complaining about that!
So, by legalizing gay marriage, you actually get the best of both worlds:
- Churches that DON'T want to marry same sex couples don't have to, and
- Churches that DO want to marry same sex couples can!
Personally, I believe government should stay out of the religious aspect of marriage altogether.
Many straight couples (myself and my husband included) are already choosing to forgo a religious ceremony in favor of a civil one. The state and federal benefits of marriage are available to straight couples regardless of which type of ceremony they choose. The important part is the marriage certificate, not the type of ceremony.
I propose that current federal and state benefits, based on what we currently call a marriage certificate (it could be renamed to civil union certificate if people are more comfortable with that), should be available to both straight and same sex couples. If the couple wishes to have a religious ceremony as well, then should be entirely between the couple and the prospective church or other religious institution.
Voila! Problem solved!
Before I finish, I'd like to point you to this excellent video, which goes into more detail about some of the legal history relating to same sex marriage. I hope you find it as interesting and enlightening as I did.
- Human Rights Campaign
As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
- Marriage Equality USA
Marriage Equality USA, is an all-volunteer, national non-profit organization whose mission is to secure legally recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Truth Wins Out
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the GLBT community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns, counters the ex-gay industry and educates America about gay life.
- Two Men For Marriage
Two Men For Marriage - supporting the equality of marriage rights.
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