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Gay marriage and religious freedom July 19, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Human rights , trackback

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.


1. Hanlon - July 21, 2009

I’ve wondered for the longest time why it wouldn’t make sense just to legalize gay marriage, but don’t force any churches to do it. If First Presby doesn’t agree with gay marriage, fine. But if St Mark’s wants to allow it, let ’em. That way no one’s rights are trod upon, right?

But this isn’t about religious “freedom”, it’s about forcing their beliefs on others.

2. sverrebm - July 21, 2009

That’s more or less exactly what has happened here in Norway. The government now recognizes same-sex marriages, but forces no religious organization to do the same. Even the rather liberal Lutheran state church doesn’t perform such ceremonies yet. As far as I know, the only option now is to enter a civil union in a ceremony performed by a judge.

Still, some conservatives insist that this is somehow an infringement on their right to religious freedom. That just seems like faulty reasoning to me.