Gay marriage is a matter of church and state

It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will side with common human decency and allow homosexuals to marry. My colleague is correct that we have more important issues to deal with and that support for the right to marry is growing, or perhaps more precisely opposition to it is also dying. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is likely to trail popular opinion, and this Supreme Court seems less likely to rule based on the constitution and law than on personal opinion and religious dogma. Ms. Palombo is also correct that it shouldn’t even be an issue, but that’s not because of its relative importance on our to-do list.

My understanding is that We the People have freedom of religion in order to protect us from the establishment of a state religion likely to persecute citizens who don’t hold the same faith. Establishing marriage as between a man and a woman is effectively making laws based on religious belief, and the “defenders” of marriage invariably end up at a Christian basis for their argument that stems from a Christian understanding of marriage. (To be fair, Jews and Muslims generally agree with this but since they’re siblings that’s no surprise.) It doesn’t matter if every religion agrees with the concept of marriage. This is a clear issue of the separation of church and state. We’d be lucky if the Justices are strict enough constitutionalists to recognize it as such and rule appropriately. If they don’t, then it’s clear that there’s less regard than lip service for our founding document.

Marriage is simply a state issued contract. It essentially combines two people into one under the law to include such holy issues as finances, taxes, inheritance, and privileging spousal conversation in criminal trials. We get confused about what marriage really is because somewhere along the line we were stupid enough to invest churches with state legal power. Your pastor, priest, rabbi, or whatever doesn’t marry you for legal purposes so much as act as an official witness and file the paperwork. Pretty much anyone can do that. I can and have. I’ve never even been baptized much less become a judge or captain of a ship.

The solution to this issue is simple. Properly separate church and state. Remove state contract powers from the clutches of churches. Homosexuals and those of us who don’t give a rat’s ass about God’s approval will get married by the state and gain the rights and privileges that come from the contract. The religious among us can choose to be married in front of God and also through the state or forgo the state part depending on how they feel about rendering unto Caesar.

The benefit to Christians in this solution is that they can skip the state part and then cry about being persecuted. Nothing makes a Christian happier than being persecuted except maybe persecuting others.

5 replies »

  1. great read… something is off in this sentence I think “(To be fair, Jews and Muslims generally agree with this but since their siblings that’s no surprise.)” Is “their” supposed to be “they’re”?

  2. I disagree. This issue IS about church and state, but not for the reasons you state. Although civil unions would give LGBT couples all the legalities of marriage they want, they are demanding to call their union “marriage” in order to SANCTIFY it, in a decidedly religious sense. I don’t believe such things should be legislated (not for LGBT, or heterosexual unions for that matter). Let government handle legalities, let institutions of faith decide sanctity.

    • Steve — AGREED. The issue is that supporters of “gay marriage” are arguing about words. Any two people, of legal age, no matter their race, sexual identity, sexual preferences, politics or religion, have always been allowed to enter into legal partnerships — with contracts — that bind them legally as joint tenants, business partners, corporations, etc.

      For social matters, couples of any sort can enter into “civil unions” if they want to announce to the world that they are “in a homosexual relationship.” The word “marriage” is defined as between a “man and a woman.” Why is so much money and time spent trying to change the meaning of one word? They want to somehow force others to sanctify, reinforce, validate and provide social recognition to a word that already has legal definition.

      So, now, they want to change the religious meaning of the word also and re-write the Bible? And, then, further complicate it by trying to force all societies to accept the new definition as somehow “religious” in meaning also? Sounds somewhat like King Henry the VIII when he denounced the Pope and the Vatican, made himself the head of the Church and the State for his kingdom, then, turns around and wants the Pope’s blessing too. Can’t have it both ways.

      Just enter into a “civil union” and sign contracts like everyone else.

      • But the definition you’re using is neither historically nor Biblically accurate. There are all sorts of major figures in the Bible who had multiple wives, and marriage has been defined differently by different cultures for a long, long time. Many traditional African cultures have complicated marriage arrangements, with both political and romantic marriages. Polygyny is common in the Middle East. And while polyandry is comparatively rare, it’s not unheard of. Multiple spousal marriages are often a cultural response to disparate birth or death rates due to disease, conflict, et al.

        What you’re really saying is that your definition of marriage (the Christian definition, and perhaps even so far as the Protestant definition) should apply to everyone, even those people who don’t believe as you do.