I am not a registered commenter at Bookworm’s place, so I will have my say here. Regarding homosexual equality and religious liberty, she quotes lesbian attorney Chai Feldblum saying that the demands of the two are not reconcilable and that homosexual equality should win over religious liberty.
Long-time gentle readers know I don’t think very much of Chai Feldblum.
Feldblum is wrong. Homosexual equality and religious liberty can co-exist. However, the fact that a coalition of religions have appropriated the apparatus of the state to impose and enforce their religions’ definition of marriage AND to impose second-class citizenship on homosexuals is not in alignment with the Constitution and American ideals.
A few religions have been very enterprising and resourceful in sticking their hands deeply into the public purse, as well, by targeting the sick and vulnerable as part of their evangelical activities. This is why Catholic adoption agencies that receive government funding have been very vocal about their need to have government money while denying their services to gay and lesbian couples who wish to adopt because gays and lesbians are not among their target demographics for evangelism. If they were not accepting government money, they would be entirely free to refuse anyone for any reason. If they wish to do that, then they should stop taking government money. The market will step forward to fill the niches they will leave.
I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the Constitutional rule of separation of church and state means that religion will continue to be allowed to treat lesbians and gays any way they want, within the law. That means their leaders can refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
However, there’s really very little need to worry. One of the first things set up at the beginning of the gay rights movement, as it was called in the 1970’s — I came out in 1972 — was the founding of the Metropolitan Community Church by Rev. Troy Perry, an evangelical Christian. We do not need to take over anyone else’s religion. We have our own. If we need a new one, we’ll create it. We are all kinds of resourceful and self-reliant. It’s really a marvel to behold.
The result of second-class citizenship for lesbians and gays ranges from greater expenses, the constant jeopardy of not being allowed to manage a same-sex spouse’s medical care, and being shut out of socializing institutions of society, such as marriage, to great psychological and emotional damage due to a crime of being rather than of doing.
Equality for homosexuals does not conflict with religious liberty at all. However, it will be a litmus test to show where various religions have gotten their religious teachings adopted as law in order to impose them on everyone. It also will reveal where and how various religions have found out how to get government money by providing services that also allow them to evangelize, even if it is only done in subtle ways. All these religious enterprises have to do to have the freedom to refuse any service to homosexuals is to stop taking government money. Since the government should not be paying for religious activities, getting the religions out of its wallet is overdue. The market will fill in any gaps.
The religious justification for refusing equality to homosexuals generally has to do with the inability of same-sex couples to make babies. First, so what? This is an insufficient objection. Also, it is capriciously applied, since heterosexuals do not have to prove fertility to get married and their marriages are not annulled automatically if they fail to produce children. Second, 20 percent of same-sex couples do have children, usually from a previous marriage of one or both partners, so they need the rights and privileges of equality not only for themselves but also for their families.
The aspirations of homosexuals for access to the tools of equality — such as marriage, adoption and service in the military — are noble ones. Legal recognition of homosexual equality at the local, state and federal levels will make our society stronger and more moral. It will not restrict religious liberty.
(Note: I’ve covered this topic before and provided supporting links — but it’s 4:19 am and I’m not adding links right now because I need to go to bed.)