Skip to comments.This Isn't Tolerance: Same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C. will trample on religious liberty
Posted on 12/01/2009 11:42:08 AM PST by BuckeyeTexan
A tussle over same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia reveals how high the stakes of the debate have risen. Proponents of redefining marriage frequently assert that this would be only a minor adjustment, expanding the institution slightly to accommodate the two to three percent of the population that self-identifies as lesbian or gay. The appeal is for "tolerance" to allow people to form sexual relationships as they please. But now it becomes clear that same-sex advocates want much more than tolerance.
D.C. council member David Catania filed a same-sex marriage bill in October. With support from the mayor and 11 of 13 council members, it seems virtually assured of passage when the council votes December 1. A referendum that could have stopped the bill was ruled out of order by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. The board reasoned, curiously, that invalidating a law not yet adopted would somewhat deprive same-sex couples of rights they already enjoy. At this point the only (slim) chance of blocking D.C. same-sex marriage lies in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress.
In the absence of drama about the bill's ultimate fate, public debate has centered on whether religious individuals and institutions should be forced to treat same-sex couples as married. Should the law compel a photographer to provide his services for a same-sex wedding? Should a marriage counselor be required to help same-sex couples strengthen their relationships? Should a Christian adoption agency be obliged to place children for adoption with same-sex couples? Would a church-based soup kitchen have to extend spousal benefits to same-sex partners of employees?
The D.C. Council could have side-stepped such conflicts. Council member Yvette Alexander proposed an amendment that would have granted individuals and institutions the right to distinguish between same-sex relationships and man-woman marriage, based on religious convictions. The amendment was rejected.
So the D.C. same-sex marriage law looks likely to become an instrument of leverage to pry people loose from traditional views on marriage. Churches and clergy would not be forced to conduct same-sex weddings. But in every other respect religious persons and institutions would be pressed to act as if there were nothing special about the lifelong, one-flesh union of the two complementary sexes. Those most vulnerable to such pressure would be persons and institutions financially beholden to the D.C. government.
Foremost among those are Catholic Charities of D.C., the largest city-contracted provider of social services. Its roughly $20 million in annual city contracts provide services such as homeless shelters, medical clinics, and tutoring programs to 68,000 city residents. When the Catholic archdiocese warned that it might lose those contracts if it could not comply with a same-sex marriage mandate, council members reacted harshly-against the archdiocese.
Council member Mary Cheh called the archdiocese "somewhat childish." Catania suggested that Catholic Charities were not "an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure." He complained, "It's a shame they don't extend the same efforts to issues that really matter, like health care and homelessness."
It is odd that Catania, having devoted so much effort to redefining marriage, should now classify it as an issue that did not really matter. And that he should presume to instruct a religious body about which issues should really matter to it.
All this rage suggests that perhaps forcing private individuals and institutions to approve same-sex relationships is not an unintended side effect of the same-sex marriage movement. Perhaps such coercion is the whole point.
"Marriage equality" in D.C. would bring few tangible gains for gays and lesbians. Under a domestic partnership law in effect since 2002, D.C. same-sex couples already have access to almost all the available benefits of marriage. Nor are there many couples lining up for these benefits. A 2008 study reported only 802 registered D.C. domestic partnerships, in a city with 250,000 households and 3,500 same-sex couples.
Ultimately, what is driving the same-sex marriage campaign seems to be the desire for a visible expression of society's blessing. Lesbians and gays want to hear society affirm that their relationships are morally acceptable. Gay writer Andrew Sullivan has remarked, "Including homosexuals within marriage would be a means of conveying the highest form of social approval imaginable."
But this is precisely the approval that many other Americans, including religious traditionalists, do not wish to grant. Same-sex marriage laws, in abolishing all distinctions between same-sex relationships and man-woman matrimony, turn supporters of such distinctions into enemies of state policy. Because "marriage equality" is claimed as a "civil right," akin to racial equality, those who would deny it become the equivalent of racist bigots in the eyes of the law. And they would be treated as racist bigots have been (properly) treated: shamed and shunned, targeted for lawsuits and driven out of public life.
This is what is beginning to happen in D.C. and elsewhere. Will it be tolerance or tyranny that wins the day?
Alan Wisdom is Vice President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C. and author of the recent monograph, "Is Marriage Worth Defending?"
© Copyright 2009, The Weekly Standard, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
Just scanned it over... but it seems like a photographer or anyone privately or self-employed should not have to provide services to anyone they choose not to provide to (bad grammar). Probably some flaming coming my way.
It has long been time for the District of Colombia to become a federal reservation. By this I mean the systematic purchase of all lands in the district, so that in its entirety it is US national property, with the exception of foreign embassies, whose grounds are by law the sovereign territory of their respective nations, as are our embassies in their lands.
Many of the buildings in the District could then be torn down, and the infrastructure beneath them improved, then they would remain public park until needed for federal buildings, monuments and other needs.
The roadways could be restricted to only inspected VIP vehicles and public transportation, with alternative routes for trucks bringing supplies and materials into the district. All businesses operating in the city would do so by federal lease, to include the Watergate hotel complex.
Automatic sidewalks, such as are used in some long airport concourses, could rapidly convey pedestrians over the more popular routes.
The end result would be a city stripped of its ghetto and most street crime, with little or no automotive congestion, much easier to access by the public and tourists, with far more park land, space for memorials, and the enlargement of currently cramped federal buildings in the district.
It would no longer have the need for a city council, school board, or other such civic organization.
I don’t see how same-sex marriage could possibly have any effect on how I believe?
If I remember right,
you base your “beliefs” not on anything solid,
just on what you want to believe.
Feet firmly planted in mid-air, so to speak.
However, those of us that have the bible as the foundation of our beliefs cannot openly state our beliefs that marriage and sex is to be between one man and one woman,
because that would be a “hate crime”.
No, you do not remember correctly. I base my beliefs on how God has designed me.
Can’t you still believe, even if it is a ‘hate crime’?
Exactly, you base your beliefs on your own understanding, with no other foundation.
I don’t care what you call it - your feet are firmly planted in mid-air.
“Including homosexuals within marriage would be a means of conveying the highest form of social approval imaginable
And THAT is why it should never be given.
That is why it affect your marriages.
That is why it affects your children.
That is why it is rejected in referendum after referendum.
AS IT SHOULD BE!
Legalizing prostitution and drugs wouldn't affect your religious beliefs either, but that's not the point. The author wants you to consider the consequences of state-recognized gay marriage on your religious liberties, not on your religious beliefs.
If your religious beliefs are opposed to gay marriage and the state forces you to recognize gay marriage, what effect will that have on how you practice your beliefs? Maybe none in your case. But others who provide public services to and recognize only traditional marriages may be forced to provide those same services to gay married couples against their will/judgment/beliefs.
A marriage between a man and a woman celebrates diversity among people.
A “marriage” of two people with same “equipment” and chromosomes is narcissistic and discriminatory.
The Romanian state could do nothing to change what Richard Wurmbrand believed, but they could outlaw his preaching, lock him away and torture him.
Religious liberty is not about what you believe, it's about the state respecting your right to act on and promote those beliefs. A pro-homosexual law that makes it a hate crime to preach from Romans 1 won't change the preacher's belief that it's true, but it will take away his liberty to stand up for his convictions.
Does that seem American to you?
The "church" is being forced to accept the NEW religious beliefs of the religious left who no longer see this to be a sin.
That is a violation of the separation of church and state.
No man should have to bow to their religious beliefs.
Celebrating sin is aposty. We are all sinners, some seek to redefine what is sinful.
We were told that Lawrence v. Texas was strictly about consenting adults in private. Now it is about kids in schools too and in the workplace and in the church and...
After "marriage" comes adoption (when does the child get to consent to being brought into an abnormal relationship?) and insurance coverage. Could a church deny a same sex couple "membership" (not rejecting them from attending church, the doors are always open for sinners) in the church, listing in the members directory, etc? Would there be the same acceptance of publicly proud "swingers" who have wife-swapping parties every month?
BTW, I can provide you a long list of people in supposedly free nations who have had their liberty taken from them by gay activists and the laws they push. We aren’t talking about some rarified philosophical point, we’re talking about opppression.
There’s no reason for same-sex marriages to be sanctioned by the government. They don’t produce children. They don’t promote the survival of civilization.
Catholic Charities lost its way when it became a “contractor” for the government.
Catholic Charities should be: Catholics give money to do charitable things, and Catholic Charities does them.
In New York and Chicago, pro-abortion billionaires have given tons of money to the Church. In exchange, the Church takes the Catholicism out of “Catholic” schools and hospitals, and keeps quiet about pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians. A friend was told by Cardinal George that this is why he has been less outspoken about abortion than he would have liked. George said that if he made too much noise about abortion, he would have to close many inner-city Catholic schools.
They don’t dignify humans, male or female, nor advance society either.
Couldn't you still be conservative, even if the federal government shut down FR tomorrow? You could be, so let's be good little boys and girls and not object, OK?
When you were in the military, were you protecting American's rights, or just their thinking habits?
So you don’t believe God had anything to do with you and your religion?
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