This article was first published elsewhere in March 2009).
My opinion is that those who oppose same-sex marriage do so on religious grounds, not because of legal civil unions. I have not heard the opponents of gay marriage say they want to deny gays/lesbians the rights to visit a "friend" in the hospital, share resources, have legal status shared, and to have all the rights of survivorship.. What they don't want, more than anything else is to have their church perform a 'marriage' ceremony.
I am a retired minister in the United Methodist Church. My church, like most other main-liners says it is against the church law for a clergyperson to perform or bless a homosexual union.
But, there are chuches who will perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. I believe the Metro Church, the United Church of Christ and others will do so.
If we let "marriage" be done at the discretion of a church most church members would be okay with whatever their church dictated. [I know many members would not, but stay with me for a minute.] Surely no church member would want to impose their religous understanding upon another church.
Whenever I would conduct a wedding ceremony, I would sign the wedding license (issued by the state) and the couple would have to take it to the courthouse and register their married status. So far as I know it has always been that way (forever and ever and ever, Amen. :=} ).
So, let us require that "marriages" must be done by a clergyman (or justice of peace, judge, ship captain, etc.) and let the legal processing of that union be done by the state.
Marriage in the church (religious authority); civil union by the state (civil authority).
What right would any religious body have to intefere in the state's role?
from Newsweek, "Perspectives" (March 16, 2009) p. 25:
"If you 're in the marriage business, do it equally. If your're not going to do it equally, then get out of the marriage business." --Michael Maroko, a California lawyer for same-sex couples, on a judges proposal to issue licenses for civil unions to all couples, and leaving "marriage" to the faith community.
Sounds like a plan.
Each individual church (or denomination) could decide whether it would allow same-sex marriages. The state would process the legal contract. Any pastor (or specified leader) or any other authorized official could perform the marriage, according to the dictates of their own conscience. The state's role would only be to record the union in their records, thus authenticating the legal union.
The state would not interfere with religious matters, and the churches would not interfere with secular, state matters.
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Hate Crimes United States Attorney-General Eric Holder urged the Congress to step up the passage of federal hate crime legislation. "The rising tide of criminal activity fueled by bias and bigotry must be addressed."
Gay (Human) Rights President Obama assured gay rights leaders Monday (6-29) that he continues to work for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which governs participation in the military.
Defense SpendingJune 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Senate Armed Services Committee today (6-25) added money to the Pentagon’s fiscal 2010 budget to buy seven more Lockheed Martin Corp.The Pentagon and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates opposes the spending proposal and the Obama administration threatened to veto any legislation that contains them. [Smells like pork: defense establishment: "we don't need them,nor want them". Congress: "We need to keep the jobs in our home states."