Hat tip to Tiffany’s Non-Blog.
There are lessons in this chart for people who advocate social change, and that is to never think that electing a particular politician is enough, and especially to never settle for the lesser of two evils.
The labor movement can learn from this. Of course the gay rights movement had an easier task because its goals do not threaten any powerful monied interests.
Incidentally, the Libertarian Party has supported gay marriage since 1976. I don’t know how much this led to general acceptance of gay marriage, but surely it helped. Voting for third parties can contribute to social change even when they don’t win.
I’m of two minds about the Supreme Court decision affirming gay marriage as a civil right.
As a matter of sentiment and personal feeling, I completely agree with Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. As a matter of Constitutional law, I don’t see it, although I accept the authority of the Supreme Court to make its decision.
I think that under Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution, all states are clearly obligated to respect the validity of gay marriage in any state. Once gay marriage became law in any state, gay couples could go there, get married and have their marriage recognized in any state.
But gay marriage as a universal Constitutional right? I have a problem with the Supreme Court creating new rights out of thin air because the world’s thinking has changed, because the same philosophy can lead to historic rights, such as due process of law, being wiped off the blackboard.
Maybe I should recognize that I am on the wrong side of history in this, abandon my belief that judges can or should interpret the law impartially and just acquiesce in the courts’ role as legislature of last resort.
Marriage is two different things that are called by the same name—a legal contract and a religious sacrament. That is why gay marriage is such a contentious issue.
The marriage contract gives two people who bind themselves to live together certain rights and obligations toward each other, and certain rights under U.S. law.
It is a function of government to define contract law.
The marriage sacrament gives two people who bind themselves to live together certain rights and obligations to each other in the sight of God.
It is not a function of government under the U.S. Constitution to define God’s will. That is a matter for the individual or for the religious communion to which the individual gives allegiance.
If a county clerk decides that it is contrary to their conscience to issue a marriage license, the clerk should look for a new job.
But if a minister, priest, rabbi or imam decides it is contrary to their religion to perform a marriage ceremony, that is their decision. A clergy-person has no more obligation to marry a gay couple than a divorced couple or a couple of a different faith.
I would have thought this is so obvious as to be hardly worth saying, but then I came across this: Does your church ban gay marriage? Then it should start paying taxes.
Of course no church has the power to “ban” gay marriage. Its clergy have the right to refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies, which is a different thing, and which I hope and believe is not in question.
Nobody “banned” gay marriage even when the federal government and most states refused to recognize gay marriage. The minister of my church, First Universalist Church of Rochester, N.Y., married many same-sex couples when their marriage was not legally recognized. The only thing the law prevented him from doing was using the worlds “by the authority of the state of New York.”
What the law did was to prevent same-sex couples from enjoying the same benefits as opposite-sex couples, and that is what has been changed by the recent Supreme Court decision.
The problem comes in which churches engage in activities in which they compete with or duplicate the activities of for-profit corporations or other secular organizations.
If you offer a service to the public, the laws of many states, including New York state, require you to offer it to gay individuals and couples on the same basis as straight individuals and couples.
I think the ultimate answer is for government to stop trying to define marriage. Instead local governments should issue licenses for “civil unions” that would be open to couples whether they are married in a religious ceremony or whether they are in a sexual relationship or not.
Let the sacrament of marriage be something that exists in the sight of God, and let God and those who think they know God’s will decide who is married and who is not.