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November 21st, 2003
Weighing In

I don’t address the issue of gay rights very much, because I don’t feel qualified to really comment. I support equal rights and protection under the law for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. This includes the right to marry, with all the benefits and responsibilities therein.

But, I think it is important to discuss just what I think about marriage, not just for my gay friends, but for everyone.

I personally believe that there should be two concepts here: civil marriage (although perhaps we need another word?) and religious/spiritual marriage. Civil marriage refers to the license a couple must obtain, and to the benefits and protections under the law that the state grants “married” couples. Religious or spiritual marriage refers to the weddings in a church, to the blessing of the couple by the church, and to the sanctioning of the relationship by the church. (Church being a catch-all for whatever religious group or practice you subscribe to.)

The state shouldn’t interfere in church matters (i.e. deciding who the church can and cannot marry) and the church should have no input on who the state decides to grant “married” status to. They are two separate things. Most people who are married in a church in a religious ceremony apply for a license, etc. so their marriage is also recognized by the state. But not everyone who gets married by the state bothers with the church–DH and I had a civil ceremony, for example, as we were married by a judge.

I cannot see any reason why the state should not grant “married” status to same-sex couples. The church is certainly free to decide who they want to bless with the sacrament of marriage, but the state should not discriminate. The bottom line is that the state should issue a license to “marry” (or whatever term we want to use, if marriage is to be owned wholly by the church) to both same-sex and heterosexual couples. The couple can then either be married by a judge, or by a minister who is empowered BY THE STATE to perform marriages.

The concept of civil marriage is not new. Millions of folks get married by the state (instead of by the church, with the state’s approval) already. It’s not a radical concept, and it is discriminatory to deny same-sex couples the right that heterosexual couples enjoy. We’re not giving our gay friends “special rights.” We’re giving back the rights they deserve as human beings, the same rights that straight folk have.

Posted by Claire at 11:06 AM | Politics | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

2 Responses to “Weighing In”

  1. Phil says:

    Whatever. Seems to me that ‘marriage’, whether it’s ‘civil’ [ha!], sanctioned by some religious order, gay, straight, yadda yadda yadda, it’s all a moot issue as 50+% wind up in the dumpster. What a waste of time!

  2. Claire says:

    My, my, aren’t we bitter…

    Regardless, the likelihood (or not) of failure is not a reason to deny marriage to gay couples, any more than the likelihood of failure is a reason for denying straight couples the right to marry.

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