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Gay marriage and religious freedom July 19, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Human rights , 2comments

I’ve commented before on how ass-backwards I think the argument is that state recognition of same sex marriages should somehow be an infringement on religious freedom. Bondo at Voting While Intoxicated comments on this topic today, and I feel inclined to reiterate.

The basic human right of religious freedom dictates that we should recognize each individual’s right to their religious practices (within reason). If same sex marriage should in any way be a infringement on that right, allowing it would have to restrict the practices of a church or other religious organization. It does not. The state will still recognize heterosexual marriage just as before.

What would constitute infringement on religious freedom would be if states decided not to recognize marriages conducted by accepted religious organizations just because they were between two people of the same sex. As long as one religious organization recognizes such practice, so should the government.

California: Tocqueville’s nightmare come true November 19, 2008

Posted by Sverre in : Political Theory, World politics , 2comments

Igayrightsn the euphoria surrounding the presidential election, other events in American politics have been crowded out in media. A darker chapter in American history was written in the presumably liberal state of California. I haven’t heard many (at least outside the US) discuss this, except a few bloggers – among them the authors of one of my favourite blogs, Voting While Intoxicated.

I’m of course talking about the amendment to the Californian constitution to ban gay marriage, which was voted for together with the presidential election. For those who might not be familiar with the American political system, this is quite common – to include propositions to be voted on by the public together with any election. The infamous Proposition 8, named after its number on the ballot, got 52.1 percent of the vote, more than the necessary simple majority for a new state constitution amendment. It reads as follows:

SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

As a strong supporter of gay rights, this has ruined some of my new found belief in America. But aside from my personal feelings, this is the kind of thing that would make influential political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville turn in his grave. (more…)