Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gay Marriage, Updated

U.S. District Judge David Bunning’s decision to jail Rowan County, Kentucky’s Court Clerk Kim Davis was an overreaction.  Thank God it is done with, and in only six days’ time.  Too long by six days; better he had put her on leave without pay until a resolution could be reached.  And a perfect resolution was indeed reached, in less than a week.  As long as one clerk or assistant clerk is able to fulfill the letter of the law, there is no need for Ms. Davis to be forced to betray her conscience.

Washington Post 2015/09/04, etc.
You should be clear that I am on the side of the LGBTQ community in the gay marriage argument.  For several reasons.  One, it is no skin off my back if a gay couple gets married, it costs me nothing.  Two, the argument against gay marriage is a religious one, and the first amendment prohibits the establishment of a religion (or group of religions) in the nation and in the states, and a legal ruling in favor of a religion is an “establishment” of that religion.  Third, no religious organization will be compelled to marry – or even recognize as married – any gay couples, as the Supreme Court decision only relates to civil law.  Fourth, before the Court decision, civil law sometimes distinguished between married people and single people, oftentimes advantaging married people; now gay people will be able to take advantage of those same advantages of being married.  And last, does your happiness really depend on the unhappiness of human beings who are not like you?

And the definition of marriage has not changed.  Every religion has its own sense of the institution; under civil law, however, the word “marriage” is merely a way to distinguish one group of people from another where that is legally and civilly a meaningful distinction.  You will still be entitled to say that a gay couple is not a married couple and in many ways you will be right; maybe they are not “married” in the eyes of God, but only in the eyes of the state.  But maybe YOUR church will change its mind; stranger things have happened.

FWIW (For what it is worth), a better all-around situation would be that no federal or state law concerned itself with marriage at all.  Then there is no marriage discrimination and no need for a minority community to fight for equal protection under the law.  While it is surely the case that some in the movement would like to compel churches and synagogues to marry gay couples, there is nothing in the Constitution or in the law to support such an outcome.  Many churches will liberalize, many will not.  So it goes.

For the original blog post on this issue, see Obergefell v.Hodges.