Thursday, May 28, 2009

Redefining Religious Liberty

Gay marriage and the conflict between church and state.
By Maggie Gallagher
Prop 8 won yesterday. Even in California, they could find only one supreme-court justice willing to strip 7 million people of their core civil right to amend the state constitution, guaranteed by the constitution itself. Why do I feel, absurdly, that I should be grateful?Liberals who support gay marriage may understand what their movement is willing to endorse and where it draws the line. The rest of us have to sit back and wonder:Why stop at marriage? Many well-defined, seemingly secure words and terms can be redefined to help remake society along sexually liberal lines.

Comments from Jennifer:
This quote helps explain why so many African Americans resist and resent the blithe equating of their civil rights movement with the demands for same sex marriage: (BTW, my recent podcast from Memorial Day includes interviews with an African American political candidate and pastor who make this argument.)

Actions are typically protected by liberty interests, not equality interests. Sexual liberty means I have the right to do what I want, not the right to be free from the knowledge that others disagree, or from their choosing to build institutions that teach that my sexual actions are wrong and exclude those who engage in them.

Equality is typically predicated on characteristics that do not imply actions, because actions are always choices. Skin color is irrelevant. And unchosen. Sexual orientation is almost certainly unchosen, but the decision to incorporate a sexual desire into one’s identity, and then to act on it, is a decision. Maybe most people think it’s the right decision, the healthiest decision, but the point is that it’s a choice, and subject to moral reflection. A sexual desire is not its own justification.

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