Some people have argued that the debate over same sex marriage will be one of the defining political issues of this era. Perhaps it will be but, from our perspective, not for the relatively limited reasons some people think.
While the idea of same sex marriage has been defined as a civil rights issue, the debate goes more to the core of the so-called principles behind the U.S. Constitution. We say “so-called” because the idea of constitutional freedoms has been hard for some to take at times.
The true test of the constitutional freedoms is how tolerant folks are of others exercising freedoms. That could apply to a number of ideas. for example, if we truly believe in free speech, then we must recognize the right for people to express views contrary, even abhorrent to our own; if we believe in freedom of religion, we must recognize that along with our right to practice our religion comes the right for others to worship as they believe; and if we believe in the freedom to associate and assemble with those who share our views, we must recognize the right of others to associate with folks of their ilk. That does not diminish our right to be critical and speak out, but the Constitution, last time we checked, does not give anyone the right to harass others.
Throughout the years, we have seen people act out desperation in a number of arenas of life. So, we have to ask: When folks try to pass laws to limit the “freedoms” of groups with whom they disagree, would it be correct to read that as an act of desperation—the act of a people who have lost faith in this “noble experiment?”
Don’t get us wrong. We understand people’s loyalty to their faith traditions but people must decide if this is a democracy or a theocracy. And, we’re not making a judgement call as to which would serve folks best. Note, however, that some folks came here to flee the idea of state sanctioned and state imposed religion. Also note that while we put up the facade of being a “Christian” nation, many of our practices and priorities—such as the extreme individualism and materialism so valued by “Americans”—go against the actual teachings of Christ as outlined in the gospels. In fact, his enemies were those who set up and adhered to religious rigidity and hid their intolerance, moral bankruptcy and lack of love and mercy behind the letter of the law.
Folks make the argument that homosexuality is immoral by biblical standards—so is lying, adultery, killing in the name of the state, stealing and ill-treatment of the poor and downtrodden. Yet, there is no rush to create constitutional amendments to make them illegal. Seems, man has created “degrees” of sin—something Christ never did.
So, this debate could be the point at which we confront our national hypocrisy and decide if we truly believe in freedom or do we want to pray the pharisee’s prayer as outlined in Luke 18:11. If so, we’d better get prepared for the response…
Indiana ordered to recognize couple’s same-sex marriage pending appeal
by Taylor Gillan
A federal judge ruled Thursday that the state of Indiana must recognize the out-of-state marriage of a same-sex couple during the couple’s legal battle to have the name of one of the women listed as spouse on the death certificate of her terminally ill partner. The preliminary injunction, granted by US District Judge Richard Young, extends a restraining order requested on behalf of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney last month and applies only to the couple. Lawyers for the couple argued that the order was necessary so that Quasney, who is terminally ill, could access federal and state survival benefits for her wife and their children. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has expressed that it intends to appeal and has notified county clerks that they may not issue marriage licenses to other same-sex couples. Young did not rule the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but he did state that while this is a matter typically left to the states, states still may not enforce statutes that conflict with the Constitution.