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Views & Voices

Same-sex marriage does not obstruct your religious liberty

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Election Day 2012, four states, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington will all have marriage equality on their ballots. Maryland, Maine and Washington would be the first states to enact marriage equality through voter referendums. In Minnesota, the issue on the ballot is an anti-gay marriage equality constitutional amendment.

Many of the “religious liberty” or “religious freedom” arguments against same-sex marriage equality depict scenarios using threatening language:

Ren and Josh of Reno, NV. Married — Love is love.

“Homosexual couples will be banging down the doors of your local church demanding to be married in your sanctuaries if this legislation passes.”

This is just not true.

What is up for vote in states is civil marriage. A civil marriage is a legal contract within a state; it is not a religious marriage.

Pastors will still be able to perform, or not, ceremonies at their will. No pastor will be forced to marry anyone. Period. It is true today and, no matter what the vote is on November 6h, it will be true then as well.

The language on Referendum 74 in Washington specifically states the law will “preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.”

That seems pretty clear.

Becky and Kori of San Antonio, TX. Married — Love is love.

In Maryland, the ballot question “protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”

Again, pretty dang clear.

Rein your minds back in on the other scary scenarios too.

Retreat centers and event facilities can continue to discriminate to their hearts content if they have filed their tax status correctly. A group that is open to public funding of any kind, may not discriminate. That makes sense, doesn’t it? The facilities in the conservative news that are so bravely “standing against persecution of our religious liberties” needed better tax advisers, not bigger Bibles, when they submitted their tax status applications.

And, some interesting points to remember:

Rodrigo and Michael from Chicago, IL. Married — Love is love.

  • No faith groups is uniformly opposed to marriage equality. Within all faith groups, there are LGBT affirming organizations.
  • Several denominations support marriage equality as part of the doctrine of their group. Surely they too have a right to express their “religious freedoms” and “religious liberties”?
  • Much of the pressure to change denominational doctrine is coming from within denominations. Seven in ten Catholics in the U.S support marriage equality. In this instance, the base is clearly not in agreement with the hierarchy.

I encourage Christian voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington to extend justice to their fellow citizens in the minority and join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia in approving marriage equality.

If you, as a pastor, don’t want to perform a same-sex wedding, simple, then don’t consent.

If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, great, then don’t have one.

If you don’t want to go to a same-sex wedding, fine, then stay home.

But, you will be missing out on a whole bunch of love and fabulousness!

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13 more reader comments:

  1. a civil marriage does not have nearly the same number of safeguards, protections, benefits, and rights that a religious marriage has under the law. When they are seen the same by the government then we will have marriage equality. THAT is what we are fighting for.

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10:06am
  2. Who cares most heteros marrying are not moral or religious since they cheat on one and other and have kids and divorce… who r they to pass judgment or tell others how to live when they have been fucking up families for yrs I come from such a fam…

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10:10am
  3. ^That is BULLSHIT. Apparently this country needs an effing refresher course in the Constitution… Do you see why I’m an Atheist? Religion ruins everything…

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10:11am
  4. Do not blame religion for what men do. It was man who made these laws and treat people the way they do not religion! I am an openly gay man and I know straight Christians who think gays should be able to get married! Some People use what they read in the bible and take it in their own context and use it as a weapon or to offend others, that is not the religion at fault, but the person who chooses to abuse it.

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10:17am
  5. Yet if it wasn’t for context we would be stoning blasphemers to death and killing wiccans and those who work on the sabbath.

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10:49am
  6. LOL! Without man there is no religion!

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 10:50am
  7. Amen!

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 11:12am
  8. Sit in a divorce court for ONE HOUR then tell us that marriage is not a LEGAL CONTRACT…different cultures dress up that contract with different religious expectations, but in Court…it all boils down to the CONTRACT. A contract between two people with all the rights, privileges, benefits, tax deductions and so on is MARRIAGE.

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 11:25am
  9. Some churches marry gay people, no freedom of religion for them?

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 11:54am
  10. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell ya!

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 12:07pm
  11. Aw hell I have been saying this for 30 years. ACLU should be suejng every state for discrimination!

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 12:43pm
  12. Civil Union can be written the same as marriage. Just replace any reference of marriage with Civil Union and instead of husband and wife, replace with party 1 and party 2. Not too difficult to give the religious right “marriage” K.I.S.S.= Keep It Simple Stupid

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 1:00pm
  13. Separate but equal sucks. Replace ALL with civil union or call ALL marraige…religion does not have a monopoly on “marraige.”

    Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 1:15pm