Another Step Forward

A special Happy New Year and congratulations to the dozens of same sex couples who were able to take advantage of a new law in New Hampshire which recognizes civil unions as of midnight.    What better way to ring in the new year than by acknowledging your love for one another in the eyes of the state and with the "same rights, responsibilities and obligations of marriage without calling the union a marriage."  Hopefully, in the not too distant future we will get over that little hurdle. 

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5 comments… add one

  • matthew mckeon Jan 1, 2008

    Civil unions. The gradual emancipation of the gay rights movement. At least its better than colonization.

  • Ralph Luker Jan 1, 2008

    Careful with analogies. Marriage is a sacrament in some Christian communities and a holy ordinance in others. I’d say that, in a free society, religious communities ought to have the right to say whether they will or will not perform marriages for same sex couples. Your analogy would probably commit the state to criminalizing any refusal by ordained clergy to perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples. I don’t think that you want to go there.

  • matthew mckeon Jan 2, 2008

    The point is that civil unions are a transitional step, not the destination, and like gradual emancipation, its a good thing, but largely designed to spare the feelings of the majority.

    The issue is not the state “criminalizing any refusal by ordained clergy to perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples,” but the reverse: Christian communities using the state to make illegal an action, by anyone, that they don’t like. In a free society, is it the business of the state to enforce religious dogma?

    I must say, the phantasm of the state throwing priests in jail for not performing gay marriages gets points for imagination, but not for plausibility.

  • Ralph Luker Jan 3, 2008

    Not at all. We see no problem in criminalizing slave holding. If your analogy is correct, why would we not criminalize a clergy’s refusal to perform same-sex marriages? The problem can be resolved by agreeing that “civil unions” are the state’s business and the state should not use clergy to conduct its business. “Marriages” are the business of religious communities and conducted according to the best judgment of religious communities.

  • matthew mckeon Jan 3, 2008

    “Why would we not criminalize a clergy’s refusal..” I imagine the First Amendment. But this scenario is a misleading distraction. The issue at hand is that clergy who wish to perform same sex marriages being disallowed by the state at the behest of other clergy.

    While other countries do seperate the state’s function (civil unions) and the church’s function(marriage ceremony), that’s not how we roll in the United States. Couples get marriage licenses, and if gay couples are required to get a different type of license, because the majority dislikes them, that’s discrimination.

    In my opinion, the problem can be resolved by people minding their own business, and not worrying if gay people are getting married.

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