Not So Deep Thoughts

Part V: Just Like Starting Over

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Okay, I can’t stand this.

Posted by jkhutchins on June 15, 2010

This is going to be a legal and political rant.  I am going to be wildly and self-righteously liberal, so you may want to exit now.

Some people are arguing that gay marriage is a violation of freedom of religion.

It isn’t.  Full stop.

Freedom of religion is protected under the First Amendment.  This is protected in two ways; the government may not favor one religion, and an individual is free to worship as they please (although there are health and safety issues, and as a general rule you can’t violate the law).

Gay marriage violates neither.  Full stop.

Gay marriage does not favor any religion.  There is no religious practice that I can think of that demands gay marriage. There is however an argument that exclusive male-female marriage is a Judao-Christian construct, and as such is an imposition of religion.  I am going to leave that point aside.

So, is gay marriage stopping anyone from worshipping their particular deity?  No it is not.  Freedom of religion does not shelter you from practices you find repugnant.  You are not shielded from things you don’t believe in.  You have the right to withdraw from situations that upset you; you have the right to protest when the government appears to be imposing religion upon you (although that definition can vary).  You are NOT entitled to impose your religion on others when general society acts in ways you think violates your beliefs.  That is violating the freedom of worship of others and they are just as entitled to it as you are.

Americans should be happy about this.  I would just as soon not live under Sharia.

Freedom of religion, to a large extent, does not exempt people from following the law.  Accommodations may be made, but they frequently aren’t.  Just like people can’t legally violate the civil rights of minorities no matter how racist they are, Muslims cannot legally discriminate against women, Christians cannot legally discriminate against Jews, and religious individuals can not violate laws meant to protect the gay population.  This includes discriminating against gay marriage.  If it is legal, that marriage is a fact and discriminating against it in a laic setting is violating the law.  People used religion as an excuse for discriminating against miscegenation  too.  Exceptions usually are made for religious settings; priests are unlikely to be forced to perform ceremonies they are morally opposed to.

Outside of that – you are stuck with living in a country with the First Amendment, both pros and cons.

*usual not legal advice disclaimer*


2 Responses to “Okay, I can’t stand this.”

  1. I am utterly appalled that someone would even hide behind the “My religion allows me to persecute teh ghey!” argument.

  2. Jenn said

    Exactly. An individual’s (or a religion’s) personal ick factor does not a law make. Why can’t people understand that?

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