Gay marriage bill is two-faced

March 04, 2011

Regardless of one's views on the issue of gay marriage, does anyone else see the obvious negative implications of our legislators having passed a bill based on the premise that it furthers our basic freedoms, champions human rights and protects against discrimination, but then allows the church to elect not to participate?

In a divisive move, gay marriage would in essence be classified and protected as a civil or human right, but the church, based on religious beliefs, would essentially be allowed to abstain from granting that civil right. Legislators will have enacted two-faced legislation that on one hand purports to be about fairness and aims to guarantee equality but on the other hand allows for unequal enforcement because the church will be exempt from compliance.

Ironically, our lawmakers, in an attempt to rectify what they feel to be one form of unfair discrimination, will have authorized an even more hypocritical kind of discrimination by selectively allowing the church to disregard the law. What a precedent. It is great to recognize differing points of views and opinions, but if an action is truly deemed important enough to regulate by law, particularly one that purports to be about equality, shouldn't the law apply to everyone?

Passing such a law, preaching that it is about human rights, and finding it necessary to let the church abstain would create a legal double standard and unwittingly paint the church in a bad light. By passage of this legislation they are saying we have done a good thing here and the church is wrong on this point, but even though we have identified and corrected a wrong here, we will still allow the church to do it. Separation of church and state would now include legal autonomy for the church.

Is it the beginning of a set of rules for society and a different set of rules for the religious? Didn't those rules used to be pretty much the same?

Scott Richardson, Westminster

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