No Marriage Until Gay Marriage Is Legal
April 25, 2011 1:21 PM   Subscribe

The Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has voted to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.
posted by reenum (87 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aha, so gay marriage IS a threat to straight marriage! I was told so.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:24 PM on April 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


Now that is a principled stand. Bravo.
posted by liketitanic at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


Likewise, All Saints, Pasadena.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


But! If you start denying marriage to heterosexual couples, you'll have to start denying marriage to homosexual couples! What's next?! Denying marriage between a woman and a goat?! I thought we lived in America!
posted by phunniemee at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


That takes guts. Good for them. And bully to them for being true Christians, not the fuck-you-got-mine-Prosperity-Gospel-Old-Testament bullshit that gets far too much of the spotlight these days.

Jesus was a community organizer who hung out with freaks, hookers, and the stinky.
posted by notsnot at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2011 [48 favorites]


The next time some buffoon tries to tell you that legalizing gay marriage would force churches to perform marriages against their will point them to this story.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2011


Good on them.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:30 PM on April 25, 2011


I had to read that 3 times to be sure it said what i thought it did. Well done Douglass Blvd. Christian Church.
posted by arse_hat at 1:32 PM on April 25, 2011


Huh. I'm really not at all used to seeing Christians act like the man they profess to follow. This is a really strange feeling.

Optimism is a hell of a drug.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:34 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The next time some buffoon tries to tell you that legalizing gay marriage would force churches to perform marriages against their will point them to this story.

I'm not saying that buffoon's argument has merit, but how is it you think this story refutes the argument?
posted by The World Famous at 1:37 PM on April 25, 2011


Jesus was a community organizer who hung out with freaks, hookers, and the stinky.

He prefers to be called "Apostle Paul". "The Stinky" is reserved for old high-school friends.

This is great! My marriage isn't particularly threatened by gay marriage. In fact, taking potential boyfriends off the table is probably good for it.
posted by poe at 1:37 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


For most people who live in Kentucky, Louisville has almost developed into its own state, as far as it's distanced itself from a lot of the backwoods, backwards politics and rhetoric (but perfect by no means). And today, I wish I lived in the state of Louisville, but living in Kentucky makes me proud enough today. I'm soon to go to Louisville, and go to church (something I haven't done in 3 years) just to drop a few bucks in the collection plate for these folks. Good job, folks.
posted by deezil at 1:37 PM on April 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


Aha! It says right on their website that they worship a God of radical love! That explains everything!
posted by rtha at 1:37 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying that buffoon's argument has merit, but how is it you think this story refutes the argument?

Because what we have here is a church refusing to sign off on an otherwise legal marriage out of principle.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:38 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally, a story about Kentucky that doesn't make me ashamed to live here.
posted by jbickers at 1:38 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is a nice story, but it seems like this is pretty much in line with their being a progressive "welcoming" congregation -- would have been bigger news if it were an otherwise socially conservative church doing this on an equal protection argument. Or is the story here that it happened in Kentucky, or am I missing something? The minister in my Unitarian church did this a year ago here outside Chicago and it did not draw much attention.
posted by cgk at 1:43 PM on April 25, 2011


> Because what we have here is a church refusing to sign off on an otherwise legal marriage out of principle.

That doesn't refute that argument, though. The "buffoon" argument was about the state telling churches what they had to do. This story is about a church opting to not grant licenses. They will still help you find an agent to get a license, and they will still perform ceremonies. It's pretty much an entirely symbolic gesture, but it doesn't refute the argument as said.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2011


What I'm saying is that the state can't tell the church that they're out of line here. They're free to grant a license or not, or help you find an agent or not, or perform a ceremony or not, as they see fit without the state getting involved. A church that does not want to perform gay marriages or grant licenses for them is in the same boat.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:49 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


cgk: Or is the story here that it happened in Kentucky, or am I missing something?

I'm going with "it's Kentucky," given that Kentucky voters passed a ban on same-sex marriages with 74% support, thanks in part to organizing and advertising help from the state’s three largest religious organizations: the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, and Southeast Christian Church.

But I agree, when a church already has openly gay members (also, kudos to them), it's not as big as if it were a Catholic congregation. Still, the path to this decision is interesting:
In an interview with ThinkProgress, the church’s senior minister, Rev. Derek Penwell, said ... the decision is based in Biblical scripture:

“The church, over the course of time, has come to a fuller understanding on a variety of issues that even just a few years before would have seemed inconceivable. [Churches] made the same arguments about interracial marriage or about precluding women in church leadership, based on certain areas of scripture. The interpretation of those scriptures made sense at the time and in a certain context, but in a modern American context, don’t make the same sense. … It’s not like we’re going to the Bible and saying, ‘We don’t like it, we’re going to ignore it.’” [...]

“At some point, we’re going to look back on this and wonder why it was that big of a deal.
Amen.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:51 PM on April 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


A church that does not want to perform gay marriages or grant licenses for them is in the same boat.

Again, I'm not saying the buffoon's argument has merit, but that assertion, while true, does not follow from this situation. Is it unreasonable to expect, once same-sex marriage is recognized as an inalienable Constitutional right, that there will at the very least be high-level litigation about whether or not a church can lawfully discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them? I don't think it is.
posted by The World Famous at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2011


Applause.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:55 PM on April 25, 2011


I have heard straight couples say they wont get married until I can. A church doing the same is lovely, but makes me uncomfortable. The state isn't stopping you from performing marriages. Gay and lesbian friends of mine have been married in their churches.

So, I am quite glad to hear they will keep on performing marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples but will just refuse to sign those licenses.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:00 PM on April 25, 2011


Is it unreasonable to expect, once same-sex marriage is recognized as an inalienable Constitutional right, that there will at the very least be high-level litigation about whether or not a church can lawfully discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them? I don't think it is.

I dunno. Interracial marriage is an inalienable Constitutional right and there doesn't seem to be much question that assholes like this are free to be assholes. Catholic Churches are free to refuse to marry divorced people, and getting married after a divorce is an inalienable Constitutional right. What authority would a gay couple point to in support of the proposition that their state can compel a church to marry them against its wishes? Especially in the face of a great deal of authority to the contrary.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:00 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


s it unreasonable to expect, once same-sex marriage is recognized as an inalienable Constitutional right, that there will at the very least be high-level litigation about whether or not a church can lawfully discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them? I don't think it is.

I don't know if it's reasonable to expect that or not; people are often nuttier than I expect them to be.

Were there waves of legislation after Loving v. Virginia? I feel pretty certain that somewhere in this nation of ours there are religious bodies that will not marry certain kinds of couples (interracial, interfaith), and perhaps there are cases wending their way through the state and circuit courts that I haven't heard about. As things currently stand, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue is not required by the government to marry a Catholic and a Jew; a Baptist church is not required to marry a couple of Episcopalians. No organization is required to marry a woman who is 40 years senior to her groom.

We have civil rights laws on the books that say you cannot discriminate on the basis of religion, yet churches et al. do this all the time without being sued.

So what am I missing? Is there some secret legal theory or something that somehow, gays are different, and because of that difference, churches will be forced to marry gay couples even if they don't want to, or their interpretation of their religion's scripture prohibits them from doing so?
posted by rtha at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


St. Michaels & All Angels Episcopal in Studio City CA has done this as well (In July of '09)
http://www.stmikessc.org/
posted by ohheh at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Were there waves of legislation

That should read "litigation."
posted by rtha at 2:05 PM on April 25, 2011


The government shouldn't require a church to marry any couple that the church authorities don't want to marry. That's the other side of the First Amendment. If same-sex marriage is legalized, then it's legal, and whoever signs the marriage license is rather irrelevant in the larger scheme. People are free to choose other churches or ministers.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:05 PM on April 25, 2011


The government shouldn't require a church to marry any couple that the church authorities don't want to marry. That's the other side of the First Amendment. If same-sex marriage is legalized, then it's legal, and whoever signs the marriage license is rather irrelevant in the larger scheme. People are free to choose other churches or ministers.

That's exactly what I've been saying. I don't think anybody here would disagree with you. And this church's decision not to sign marriage licenses because they just don't want to (and with good reason, I'd say) is that principle in action.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:08 PM on April 25, 2011


Sorry - I'm not trying to derail the thread.

I think that what this church in Kentucky is doing is cool. I'll save the other discussion for another time.
posted by The World Famous at 2:08 PM on April 25, 2011


Any time I see "Louisville" and "Church" I cringe, a lot. Too many Southern Baptists, too many Megachurches, too much political involvement.

All that said, I imagine this isn't going to matter to any of those other churches. This church is in a "progressive" part of town. They'll just paint it with same commie liberal brush they do with anything that happens on Bardstown Road.

But, thanks for doing it anyway, DBCC. It starts with trickle.
posted by DigDoug at 2:19 PM on April 25, 2011


Jesus was a community organizer who hung out with freaks, hookers, and the stinky.

To be fair, pretty much everyone in the 1st Century AD was pretty stinky most of the time.

And I think it was Peter who got the nickname "Stinky." Paul seems too humorless to get a nickname.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I think it was Peter who got the nickname "Stinky." Paul seems too humorless to get a nickname.

Also, Jesus didn't "hang out" with Paul the way he hung out with the freaks, hookers, and Peter.
posted by The World Famous at 2:21 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Churches and ministers can do whatever they like with the sacrament of marriage. Every now and then, I read about straight couples outraged that they can't have a wedding in the church of their dreams without going through religious pre-marital counseling or converting to the denomination in question.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:22 PM on April 25, 2011


Pilgrim UCC here in Cleveland has been doing this for a few years now.
posted by sciurus at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2011


upper highlands, woot!
posted by mrgrimm at 2:29 PM on April 25, 2011


Sorry - I'm not trying to derail the thread.

Well, I don't know that it's a derail. I'd be interested in reading your views on this, since I keep seeing "OMG churches will have to marry gay people!" stuff as a reason why legalizing gay marriage is bad and I just don't understand how that would work, but if you feel that a different same-sex marriage thread would be a better place for it, you know I'll be there!
posted by rtha at 2:36 PM on April 25, 2011


I actually don't think there's a huge probability of churches being forced to marry same-sex couples. I think the fears of some churches that oppose same-sex marriage are that they will be stopped from doing other things that are tangentially related to marriage, like running adoption agencies and that sort of thing. For example, I suspect, though I don't have any information other than speculation, that the Mormon church in particular is worried about the impact that same-sex marriage as a constitutional right would have on the operations of LDS Family Services. I don't necessarily agree with all of the methods and stated goals of LDS Family Services and other similar organizations, but I do think their concerns are at least somewhat realistic.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on April 25, 2011


Is it unreasonable to expect, once same-sex marriage is recognized as an inalienable Constitutional right, that there will at the very least be high-level litigation about whether or not a church can lawfully discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them? I don't think it is.

Yes, it's entirely unreasonable to expect this.

In the US, separation of Church & State, while often seeming to only be given nominal lip service, actually does stand. And churches are not the only route one can take toward marriage. There are religious institutions which can grant marriage licenses, everyone from a ship's captain to a county clerk.

It's not uncommon for churches already to refuse marriage to couples. Whether it's because of mixed religious heritage (I've heard of conservative Christian churches AND Jewish synagogues refusing to allow marriages if both parties aren't members of congruent faith systems), or because the couple is unwilling to go through the required rounds of pre-marital counseling which some organizations involve (which was true of the rather conservative Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation I grew up in) or whatever other reason.

We will not now, nor will we ever see, a series of court cases and appeals which force churches to marry couples they don't feel meet their standards for a religious marriage ceremony. They don't hold the monopoly on getting married, and so there's no reason to force them into going against their doctrine.
posted by hippybear at 2:48 PM on April 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes, it's entirely unreasonable to expect this.

Really? You think it's unreasonable to expect litigation?
posted by The World Famous at 2:50 PM on April 25, 2011


I think about this matter it is.
posted by hippybear at 2:51 PM on April 25, 2011


Hm. OK, then.
posted by The World Famous at 2:51 PM on April 25, 2011


And I'm not willing to do the research to help you prove your point which I disagree with, but I'd be interested to know how many court cases have been brought trying to force churches to do things which go against their doctrine and have been successful in the past, say, 100 years. I can't think of any off the top of my head, so they can't have been too important.
posted by hippybear at 2:52 PM on April 25, 2011


I don't think it is.

I think you're wrong. Churches already discriminate on who they'll marry. Some won't perform interfaith marriages, some won't perform second marriages if the first spouse is surviving, MANY (most?) won't perform a marriage if neither of the celebrants are of the faith of the church. Some churches won't perform marriages if the woman doesn't agree to obey her husband, and a (thankfully very) small number won't perform interracial marriages.

This is good, and right, and as it should be. Religious marriage is religious, and the rules and regs of the religious authority apply. Marriage equality won't turn that around, not with the acres and acres of precedent around it.
posted by KathrynT at 2:52 PM on April 25, 2011


> Really? You think it's unreasonable to expect litigation?

I would think it would be unreasonable to expect any such litigation to make it past state appellate courts, and that SCOTUS wouldn't bother to hear any such cases. I would hope, at any rate.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:53 PM on April 25, 2011


It's not uncommon for churches already to refuse marriage to couples.

Yeah, I'm not sure about this issue either. If you're not Catholic and try to get a Catholic priest to marry you ... he certainly can say no, right?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:53 PM on April 25, 2011


(gaa. from my earlier comment, a correction... "there are NON-religious institutions which can grant marriage licenses...")
posted by hippybear at 2:57 PM on April 25, 2011


And I'm not willing to do the research to help you prove your point which I disagree with, but I'd be interested to know how many court cases have been brought trying to force churches to do things which go against their doctrine and have been successful in the past, say, 100 years. I can't think of any off the top of my head, so they can't have been too important.

Well, first, I didn't say it would be successful. In fact, I agree with you that it would not. Second, since you can't think of any cases off the top of your head where there was a successful legal challenge to a church's doctrinal practice, I think Employment Division v. Smith fits that description, doesn't it?
posted by The World Famous at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2011


How wonderful to see this: people walking the walk, and acting just as every Sunday School class I ever attended taught us. Love thy neighbor, treat others as you would like to be treated, all that good stuff.

Wonder if I can convince my church to do the same.....
posted by easily confused at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2011


to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.

Presumably a Supreme Court ruling that was national in scope would also count. I suspect that will happen sooner than Kentucky changing its law.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:19 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you're wrong. Churches already discriminate on who they'll marry. Some won't perform interfaith marriages, some won't perform second marriages if the first spouse is surviving, MANY (most?) won't perform a marriage if neither of the celebrants are of the faith of the church. Some churches won't perform marriages if the woman doesn't agree to obey her husband, and a (thankfully very) small number won't perform interracial marriages.

That's why the fear on the part of conservative churches that they will be forced to marry gay couples is a smokescreen, right? Church weddings aren't a legal ceremony, and the religious institution of marriage, which is a spiritual state conferred by the church and the divine, isn't the same as the legal institution of marriage, which is a legal status conferred by your state, right?

So, refusing to offer a religious wedding to a gay couple will probably make a church look douchier, but it will still be legal, whether or not that couple is married by the legal representatives of their state. By the same token, polygynous fundamentalist LDS groups, for example, have marriages which are religious and cultural but not legal.

Whereas when Keith Bardwell refused to provide legal marriage services to a couple who satisfied all the legal requirements but were of different races, he was ultra vires because he was a public servant of the state of Louisiana, and the state of Louisiana does not recognise belonging to different races as a reason to withhold a marriage license.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:19 PM on April 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's inspiring to see news reports of congregations acting with integrity, consistent with the declared documentation of the values of the religion's founder. As notsnot said upthread, it's a refreshing change from the "fuck-you-got-mine-Prosperity-Gospel-Old-Testament bullshit that gets far too much of the spotlight these days."
posted by notashroom at 3:19 PM on April 25, 2011


So, refusing to offer a religious wedding to a gay couple will probably make a church look douchier, but it will still be legal, whether or not that couple is married by the legal representatives of their state.

Exactly right, by my understanding.
posted by KathrynT at 3:22 PM on April 25, 2011


I think, when people say "same-sex marriages will destroy marriage," they mean "same-sex marriages will be another nail in the coffin of our ability to force our religious views on other people" That they will have to accept that their world view is not the only one, not the primary one, and that their "normal" is just a custom.

In this, I very much hope they are correct. Maybe then we can get some shit done.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, refusing to offer a religious wedding to a gay couple will probably make a church look douchier, but it will still be legal, whether or not that couple is married by the legal representatives of their state.

Correct. To force the church to do otherwise is a first amendment violation. Just like forcing this church to marry straight couples is.
posted by kafziel at 3:28 PM on April 25, 2011


Although this church is still marrying straight couples before God - they just aren't signing the marriage license, so a Justice of the Peace has to sign it in a separate meeting - which is the legal marriage. I imagine people would plan to get both of those done on the same day, but it does raise some interesting questions...

With a congregation of 80-120 people, I don't know how often this comes up, but good for them, anyway.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:34 PM on April 25, 2011


I think, when people say "same-sex marriages will destroy marriage," they mean "same-sex marriages will be another nail in the coffin of our ability to force our religious views on other people" That they will have to accept that their world view is not the only one, not the primary one, and that their "normal" is just a custom.

There is certainly some truth to this, and in a strange way I'd almost respect gay marriage opponents more if they came out and said something like this. While it's true that there's no way a church can be legally forced to perform same sex weddings, there are other kinds of force out there. In the story I linked above, the pastor who refused to perform the interracial wedding was, I hope, almost universally derided for his decision. In the same way, the day will probably come when churches that won't accept gay couples are viewed with the same contempt.

That fear, that socially they'll be forced to concede this piece of doctrine that they genuinely feel is crucial to their relationship with their god, is real and even reasonable. But so what? Purity of the races was just as crucial to people's individual relationships with their God in the 60's, but we don't shed any tears for their hurt feelings today.

So while that slightly subtler "we'll be forced to" argument doesn't move me any more than the literal one, I'd at least have to give it points for honesty. But it would also require those religious people to have the courage of their convictions and admit that discriminating against gay couples is something they value. Which, is already something people are already uncomfortable doing.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:35 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Second, since you can't think of any cases off the top of your head where there was a successful legal challenge to a church's doctrinal practice, I think Employment Division v. Smith fits that description, doesn't it?

Reading the Wikipedia page on that case, I'm not sure where I see any mention that the lawsuit actually made the church change their doctrinal practice. It's about the state withholding unemployment benefit funding from an individual based on their participation in a church's practices, not about forcing that church to go against those practices to accommodate people whose lifestyles go against that church's beliefs.

Maybe you know more about that case than I do, but I fail to see the parallels.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on April 25, 2011


I think, when people say "same-sex marriages will destroy marriage," they mean "same-sex marriages will be another nail in the coffin of our ability to force our religious views on other people" That they will have to accept that their world view is not the only one, not the primary one, and that their "normal" is just a custom.

I think you're right. I also think that when some people say "same-sex marriage will destroy marriage," they mean that the legal recognition of same-sex unions as "marriage" will fundamentally alter the definition of what "marriage" is. But, in my opinion, that ship has sailed and same-sex marriage is, culturally, societally, and in many jurisdictions legally, "marriage."
posted by The World Famous at 3:39 PM on April 25, 2011


Reading the Wikipedia page on that case, I'm not sure where I see any mention that the lawsuit actually made the church change their doctrinal practice.

Ah. I didn't realize that's what you were saying. I thought you were saying you weren't aware of any case in the last 100 years where the legality of a doctrinal practice was challenged.
posted by The World Famous at 3:39 PM on April 25, 2011


Unless the parallels in your mind would be that people who get gay married in a church can have government benefits withheld because they broke the law. But I've known same-sex couples who have held "marriage" (commitment) ceremonies for decades now, and as far as I know, aside from tax and inheritance advantages, there are no government benefits like unemployment being withheld from any of those people.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on April 25, 2011


A Jewish friend of mine was looking to get commitment-ceremonied to her Methodist girlfriend a bunch of years ago. They found a Methodist minister who would participate in the ceremony without much trouble, but they had a heck of a time finding a rabbi who would do an interfaith ceremony. Lesbian commitment ceremony? No problem - rabbis who would do this were falling out of trees. But one of them was not Jewish? Nope.

(They did eventually find an agreeable rabbi, but at the time, more than a decade ago, we all found it pretty hilarious that it wasn't the lesbianism that was the issue. Progress!?)
posted by rtha at 3:41 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, what YOU were saying was that you were concerned that there would be court cases coming up which would force churches to marry people they didn't want to marry. At least, that's what I thought you were talking about.

Your words were "that there will at the very least be high-level litigation about whether or not a church can lawfully discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them". There's nothing even hinting at that here.
posted by hippybear at 3:42 PM on April 25, 2011


Well, what YOU were saying was that you were concerned that there would be court cases coming up which would force churches to marry people they didn't want to marry. At least, that's what I thought you were talking about.

No, that's not what I said. I said that there would be litigation. I did not say that there would be court cases that would force churches to marry people they didn't want to marry. I'm not going to repeat myself. I expressly stated that I agreed with you on that point.

Your words were "that there will at the very least be high-level litigation about whether or not a church can lawfully discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them".

Yes. That's what I said. Can you see the difference between that and "court cases coming up which would force churches to marry people they didn't want to marry?"
posted by The World Famous at 3:48 PM on April 25, 2011


The question of whether churches could be forced to marry same-sex couples comes down mostly to State Action, which is why the crazy-ass "storm clouds are gathering" NOM ad from 2008 had to use a very odd specific instance in Massachusetts and not explain the circumstances surrounding it.

Basically: Churches are not State Actors and can't be under the first amendment. Though they are authorized to grant marriage licenses, as hippybear notes they don;t have a monopoly on the service, and can do so under their own discretion (whereas the county clerk would have no such discretion on how to exercise his/her duty.)

What happened in the weird NOM commercial case was that the church made use of a boardwalk which was public property for its ceremonies, and would not by State Law be able to continue to do so unless the ceremonies were free to all.

So that's how this could come up in litigation.

Please forgive me if I'm wrong about some details; I'm working from memory.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:54 PM on April 25, 2011


Can you see the difference

Sure. Can you see the difference between a court case which involves denial of unemployment benefits to someone who took peyote as part of their religious ceremony and a hypothetical court case which would determine whether a church can discriminate against same-sex couples wanting to be married?
posted by hippybear at 4:09 PM on April 25, 2011


Can you see the difference between a court case which involves denial of unemployment benefits to someone who took peyote as part of their religious ceremony and a hypothetical court case which would determine whether a church can discriminate against same-sex couples wanting to be married?

Yes, hippybear, I can distinguish Smith in several ways. That's why I have repeatedly, expressly, and unequivocally agreed with you regarding the likely outcome of such a challenge.
posted by The World Famous at 4:16 PM on April 25, 2011


Good. Then back off. Your method of interaction is what makes me keep poking, because I'm feeling poked myself.
posted by hippybear at 4:20 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is wonderful, and I hope more people will directly contradict the Bible, including the directly-quoted word of God, in order to treat other people equally and celebrate their love.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:37 PM on April 25, 2011


I think it's more of a contradiction of the Bible not to love one's neighbor as oneself.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:43 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


...bully to them for being true Christians, not the fuck-you-got-mine-Prosperity-Gospel-Old-Testament bullshit that gets far too much of the spotlight these days.

Jesus was a community organizer who hung out with freaks, hookers, and the stinky.


I would disagree that there's any reason for the huge false dichotomy in calling these folks "true" Christians-- the Bible is supposed to be the unerring word of God, and claiming that "cultural differences" and such account for far-from-literal readings of their holy book is one of their most salient hypocrisies. A moderate reading of the Bible leaves you with so little non-polarizing material, one wonders why bother with it in the first place.

It's remarkably encouraging to hear that this is happening-- makes me wish that all churches did this at once and spear-headed the civil rites of my gay neighbors into a reality tomorrow, but it doesn't change the fact that Christianity itself is total fallacy.
posted by herbplarfegan at 5:00 PM on April 25, 2011


This is wonderful, and I hope more people will directly contradict the Bible, including the directly-quoted word of God, in order to treat other people equally and celebrate their love.

I don't see where the Bible has anything to say, one way or the other, about gay marriage.
posted by gauche at 5:11 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I think it was Peter who got the nickname "Stinky."

That is Pope Stinky the First to you, thankyouverymuch.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:55 PM on April 25, 2011


but they had a heck of a time finding a rabbi who would do an interfaith ceremony. Lesbian commitment ceremony? No problem - rabbis who would do this were falling out of trees. But one of them was not Jewish? Nope.

Oy gay?
posted by joe lisboa at 5:55 PM on April 25, 2011


but they had a heck of a time finding a rabbi who would do an interfaith ceremony. Lesbian commitment ceremony? No problem - rabbis who would do this were falling out of trees. But one of them was not Jewish? Nope.

Oy gay?


There's good background on this page about same-sex marriage and Judaism. It doesn't seem to be quite the issue for many of the movements.
posted by hippybear at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is certainly an interesting way of going about protesting this issue and I applaud them, however I think it would be much more amazing if a church were to engage in some old school civil disobedience sign a issue a marriage license for a gay couple in contrivance of state law. In most states there does not appear to be a real penalty for doing this, the license just isn't accepted by the state, but if churches started giving out licenses (official or otherwise) and people started returning them to the states signed in protest maybe something would change. This could be progressive Christianity's Gavin Newsom moment so to speak.
posted by epsilon at 6:42 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I should clarify my previous comment that the Massachusetts church in question had an exclusive lease on their part of the boardwalk, which thus brought State Action into the equation. If it were simply public land that anybody, including churches, were free to do with as they wished, then forcing policy doctrine upon the church wouldn't be applicable. The lease is what brings in a state actor.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:58 PM on April 25, 2011


Also, it was New Jersey, not Massachusetts, which probably makes more sense.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:01 PM on April 25, 2011


Late to the party, and I just want to pointlessly add that I had my first real kiss in front of that church on a freezing winter day. Go them!
posted by Roman Graves at 8:47 PM on April 25, 2011


A move like this underlines that there's a religious freedom issue at stake here, as well as a civil rights issue for gay couples regardless of whether they're religious or not. Opponents of gay marriage oppose it usually because they consider marriage to be a sacrament, and they object to the state endorsing marriages that violate their definition of the sacrament. But banning gay marriages means that some religions' marriages are recognized while others' aren't. How does the state get to decide what is and is not a valid sacrament? How is it that civil marriages are only conducted if they would be potential recognized as valid marriages if the people involved were members of those religions.

If we want to get more states to recognize gay marriage we need to capitalize on tolerance that's already there. There are an awful lot of people who don't personally accept gay marriage and consider homosexuality sinful, who nevertheless recognize the right of people to live their own lives even if that involves doing things they wouldn't do, and recognize the right of other people to practice their own religions even though their beliefs are different than theirs.

Liberals seem unwilling to present a libertarian argument for gay marriage, or even recognize that an audience for it exists. I think this is a mistake. Symbolic gestures like this one by the Douglass Boulevard Christian Church and others are a step in the right direction.
posted by nangar at 10:08 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're not Catholic and try to get a Catholic priest to marry you ... he certainly can say no, right?

He certainly can say no, and if you are Catholic and your spouse-to-be isn't, he can also say that your marriage is invalid and that she will have to convert and you'll have to be re-married in the church before you can receive sacraments.

Oh dear...that seems to have struck a nerve...
posted by Billiken at 9:33 AM on April 26, 2011


Going from memory for the case brought up by Navelgazer, I'm not certain it was even that. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association owned a recreational building (often described as a gazebo) on the beach, and received tax benefits for openly renting that property as a service to the public. The church denied a gay couple the use of the property for a marriage ceremony. The State of New Jersey said that if the property is going to be rented as a public accommodation, the association must comply with anti-discrimination laws that apply to public accommodations.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:55 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Liberals seem unwilling to present a libertarian argument for gay marriage, or even recognize that an audience for it exists. I think this is a mistake. Symbolic gestures like this one by the Douglass Boulevard Christian Church and others are a step in the right direction.

I'm sorry, what?

Me and pretty much everyone I know (most or none of whom would label themselves libertarian), as well as many or all of the organizations fighting for same-sex marriage have made the point ad nauseum that marriage as she is wrote in these United States is a civil matter, and that religious arguments about marriage should not come into play when talking about which couples the government recognizes as married.

Likewise, we make the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage is not going to mean a damn thing, functionally speaking, for people who are not and do not want to be personally same-sex-married. That allowing other kinds of people to get married does not change your own situation at all.

Or is there some other argument that you are labeling "libertarian" that you don't see being addressed?
posted by rtha at 10:17 AM on April 26, 2011


(most or none of whom would label themselves libertarian)

Confusing syntax clarification: as far as I know, none of the people I know who make these arguments label themselves as libertarian. They don't call themselves liberals, either.
posted by rtha at 10:35 AM on April 26, 2011


Sorry, I should have "a civil libertarian argument." I meant "libertarian" in a more general way, in the sense of an argument based on liberties. Though people who describe themselves as Libertarians are often liberal on social issues for precisely this reason. (Because libertarians are conservative on some issues doesn't mean they're automatically conservative on all of them. They don't get along very well with social conservatives.) But I don't mean just an argument to people who label themselves as "libertarian." A lot of people who don't consider themselves libertarians or liberals nevertheless care about rights like freedom of speech or freedom of religion.

I realized my comment might be read that way after I posted it. I should have posted a clarification.

The legal argument for same-sex marriage has been equal protection under the law, which of course is a civil rights argument. The public argument has been primarily that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal rights as other couples, a version of the same argument, as well as an appeal to empathy. I think we also need to be arguing that banning same-sex marriages is a blow to the religious freedom of religions that recognize same-sex marriages, and raises questions about how the state can decide if sacraments are valid or valid or not. I don't think this works as constitutional argument, but I think it resonates with some people. And I think it helps counteract the idea that legalizing same-sex marriages is an attack on religion, and actually turns that argument around a bit. That's the point I was trying to make.

> pretty much everyone I know ... have made the point ad nauseum that marriage as she is wrote in these United States is a civil matter, and that religious arguments about marriage should not come into play when talking about which couples the government recognizes as married.

I get that. What you're not recognizing, I think, is raising the issue of what about the UCC, UU's, Reform Jews and others who perform gay marriages that aren't recognized by the state, and why the state gets to decide whether they're valid or not, can click with some people, and get them to understand that, yes, civil recognition of marriage should be a civil matter, and religious recognition is different, even if they didn't start off thinking about the issue that way. If we can appeal to the idea religious tolerance to get a few people to change their minds, I think that's a good thing. If we can convince a minority of people to change their minds can in a close referendum, that would be very good thing.
posted by nangar at 2:39 PM on April 26, 2011


I should have said ...
posted by nangar at 2:41 PM on April 26, 2011


I think we also need to be arguing that banning same-sex marriages is a blow to the religious freedom of religions that recognize same-sex marriages, and raises questions about how the state can decide if sacraments are valid or valid or not.

My church actually employs a person to work for marriage equality on exactly these grounds.
posted by KathrynT at 3:22 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nate Silver talks about polls on gay marriage.
posted by nangar at 5:34 AM on April 27, 2011


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