1st and 14.

Posted: 24 August 2009 in civil rights, human rights, religion

I’m on a board where some whackjob with a wildly flawed comprehension of the Constitution and Separation of Church and State made a comment about how marriage actually is a religious issue and therefore churches have a say in writing the laws concerning same-sex marriage. I responded by pointing out that marriage is actually a civil issue. If it were solely a religious issue, this wouldn’t be a problem.: Same-sex couples that wanted to marry would just do so in those churches that have no problem with officiating same-sex marriages.

Since it is not a religious issue, churches have absolutely no say over it.  However, let’s play devil’s advocate here, shall we?

If marriage is a religious matter, then the government is violating religious freedom by not letting those churches that wish to solemnize same-sex marriages do so.  Since this is solely a religious practice area and doesn’t run contrary to other standards (like human sacrifice, etc…), for the government to tell one denomination that they can marry whichever two consenting adults they approve and tell another denomination that they cannot do so is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment.

However, since marriage is actually a civil matter, then the government is violating the due process and equality rights entailed in the 14th Amendment by disallowing same-sex couples from entering into the same civil marriages that opposite-sex couples currently enjoy.

So if you support a government ban on same-sex marriage, which freedom would you like to be in favor of violating?


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