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Colicchio would light quick fire under marriage equality's arse

by Jeremy Hooper

On marriage equality, Tom Colicchio sizzles:

I’m going to go out on a limb and say a few words about same-sex marriage: First of all, part of the problem with the issue is that it is framed by opponents as a discussion of whether gay people should get special rights. This is specious – yes, special legislation or court decisions grant them the right to wed in a particular state, however this is done to ensure that they share equal protection under the law by finally being able to avail themselves of the same rights as Tom-125X125 0everyone else. They are not seeking special treatment, just equitable treatment. Second, religion has no business being part of the discussion. When a couple is wed in a house of worship, the officiant may be performing a religious rite, but as far as the law is concerned, that officiant has been authorized to perform a civil function, plain and simple. And even were same-sex marriage to be legalized by the state, no one would be holding a gun to the heads of the clergy to require them to perform a ceremony that their faith or personal creed does not condone. Just as some rabbis would not perform my marriage to my wife because I wasn’t Jewish, clergy can decline performing same-sex marriages; gay couples can either find clergy willing to officiate or can be wed in a civil setting. The idea that religious leaders are continuing to shape state law is just wrong. The institution of marriage should be available to all. The idea that you can have a life-long partner and not make decisions for them in a hospital, not share in insurance benefits, not automatically have parental rights unless you are the birth parent, is just flat-out wrong.
On Rites, Rights, and Cooking Right [Bravo]

Bravo, indeed.

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Your thoughts

Wow, that was an absolutely perfect argument. I would not add a thing

Posted by: Ron | Aug 28, 2009 11:50:16 AM

I've always found him intensely likable.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 28, 2009 11:54:05 AM

I like the quote.

I wonder what would happen if someone introduced state legislation that would make it illegal for religious leaders/counselors to preform the civil function of marriage. Although I think such legislation would be doomed, I think that maybe something like that would drive home the point that this is a civil issue not a religious one. Especially if it was a close vote. Sure the religious people could do whatever they want in the church/temple/whatever, but the couple would then have to go to a county clerks office or courthouse to get it recognized by the state. Just the fact that such legislation is possible and would be legal (constitutionally) would be proof that this is strictly a civil issue. Also, it would be amusing to watch all of our opponents sweat bullets :)

Posted by: DanM | Aug 28, 2009 11:59:25 AM

It is what I say all the time. It is not about special rights but civil rights and equality granted under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or in my case under Article 1 Section 2 of the Rhode Island Constitution.

Posted by: Tony P | Aug 28, 2009 12:47:31 PM

Dan M, as I remember that is how it is in France. Only valid marriages are by civil servants. Religious ones are just beginning of reception, have no legal meaning.

Posted by: LOrion | Aug 28, 2009 2:05:08 PM

I knew there was another reason for loving Tom Colicchio. I am currently reading his book Think Like a Chef. He inspires on many levels. Bravo to Mr. Colicchio and to you, Jeremy, for all the work you do.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 28, 2009 4:21:18 PM

I never liked Top Chef, but I do feel inclined to give it another chance now. Thank you for sharing this. It's what so many of us have been trying to say.

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Aug 28, 2009 9:59:22 PM

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