Thu 7 May, 2009 03:04 pm
The issue at hand here will be looked upon in years to come as another discriminative chapter in American history.
I am not gay, nor is the company I keep. But I believe that gays being discriminated against is absolutely horrible and should not be tolerated.
Separation of church and state is the key issue here, and if gay people want to marry, then let them marry. Bringing up religious views when deciding whether to legalize it or not is wrong. The separation of church and state should keep that from happening. So why isn't it?
Because people, rightly or wrongly, feel rather visceral about the whole thing. Beyond logic, really. I can't understand why people are so screaming into their guts about the whole thing, but a lot are.
Actually, the issue of the separation of church and state is itself a divisive one, and is not as easily settled as some might think. The constitution does not mandate a separation of church and state--the "wall of separation" phrase was coined by Jefferson when writing a reply to a Baptist congregation in Connecticut who alleged that they were discriminated against by the Congregational established church of that state.
Several states had religious establishments at that time, and Jefferson's letter is a nice example of "there, there" by someone who was not going to do anything and who could do nothing in the situation. The issue of religion is mentioned in the constitution only in the opening of the first amendment to the constitution, containing what are commonly known as the "no establishment" clause and the "free exercise" clause:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .
So you have several problems to begin with. The first is that it reads "Congress shall make no law . . ." which in no way binds the several states, in a narrow interpretation. Another is that in order to invoke the "no establishment" clause, you'd be obliged to demonstrate that any measure taken would establish a religion. In the 18th century sense, a religious establishment is one which makes a particular sect the established religion of the state. Both Connecticut and Massachusetts had the Congregational Church (the descendant of the Puritans) as official religious establishments, and a church tax was levied in both states. By the interpretation put on the constitution in those days, the first amendment did not prohibit this, since it was not the result of any action by Congress. When the Danbury Baptists wrote to Jefferson, he could write back to console them, but there was no practical action he could take, nor did he offer to do so, nor even suggest he could do anything. In Jefferson's view, a strict and narrow interpretation of the constitution was the only acceptable interpretation, and he would have betrayed his own ideals to attempt to stretch the first amendment to cover religious establishment in Connecticut, or anywhere else.
So, with the issue of gay marriage, even with a broad and generous interpretation of the constitution, you'd be hard pressed to make a case that a state law insisting that marriage be a contract only between one man and one woman constitutes an establishment of religion, and of course, you'd have the problem that it wasn't an act of Congress. But your problems wouldn't end there, because, in fact, Congress has defined marriage as a contract between one man and one woman (at least inferentially), and no one has challenged it on the basis of the "no establishment" clause. In 1996, a Republican dominated Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Democratic President, Mr. Clinton, signed it the same day. It was passed specifically because it was believed that one or more states were about to sanction "gay marriage," and the bill intends to avoid the "full faith and credit" provision of the constitution which would then require other states to acknowledge gay marriage.
That act says:
1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
2. The federal government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.
You'd be hard pressed to get the courts to invalidate that act, or any similar law of any state, on an argument that it's passage constitutes an establishment of religion.
Just in case you intend to interpret this incorrectly, i neither oppose gay marriage nor disagree that essentially, opposition to gay marriage at least inferentially establishes religion.
Separation of church and state is not really the issue.
There are states with separation of state and church and states where church and stare are not separated.
In both you can choose EITHER a civil service OR a church service
Some states you have to have a civil service as that is the legal wedding and afterwards a blessing in the church.
In some states gays are allowed to marry in a civil service and in others a church blessing/wedding is not accepted.
If a priest/pastor/preacher is against marrying a gay couple as it is against his religous belief it is also to discriminate against him if he is forced to do so.
We have come a long way since gays had to go to prison and that is good so.
It is also good we accep them and they can out themselves.
Now they should also show tolerance towards Christians who don´t want church weddings.
As far as I know no gay person can get married in a muslim country - so attack those too and not just the Christians.