« Go back a post || Return to G-A-Y homepage || Haul tail to next post »


Stunning illogic from NOM's Thomas Peters

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 At 4.59.15 PmCalling it a "consequence of redefining marriage," National Organization For Marriage Cultural Director Thomas Peters is condemning Washington, DC's National Cathedral for choosing to exercise its religious freedom in a way that accommodates same-sex wedding ceremonies. He writes:

Examples like this remind us that when you redefine "civil" marriage you create the new possibility of same-sex ceremonies in churches. Gay marriage advocates love to artificially split these two recognitions of marriage when they think it suits their purposes but the categories always re-collapse as soon as a liberal church like this one decides it wants to conduct ceremonies with same-sex partners.

The simplest way to prevent same-sex ceremonies in churches is to fight for the recognition of marriage in civil law.

Washington's National Cathedral to Host Ceremonies for Same-Sex Partners [NOM Blog]

Yes, Thomas—there is the possibility of a same-sex ceremony in any of America's houses of worship. But the first thing that is ridiculous about your take on this is the fact—THE. FACT.—that every church in the country already has the option of performing a same-sex ceremony if that church chooses, independent of whether or not the state has civil marriage equality. That ceremony may not have any legal binding, but churches are absolutely free to perform a simple religious ceremony for just about any couple for any reason. In fact, it's folks on your side of the debate who usually admit this truth, coupled with the (false and purely political) suggestion that gays don't have to "redefine marriage" in order to have weddings.

But the biggest bag of hogwash, Thomas, is the claim that "gay marriage advocates love to artificially split these two recognitions of marriage when they think it suits their purposes." This is a stunningly anti-intellectual thing for a public thinker on the subject of marriage to publicly state. It is, again, a fact—A. FACT.—that civil marriage licensing and religious ceremony are two separate concepts. It's not an opinion—it's a fact. A couple wishing to receive state and federal recognition of their marriage is required to obtain a civil license and have said licenses solemnized. However, a religious solemnization is *ALWAYS* an option. Many couples utilize the option; quite a few don't (and some have a glen of their own determination). But any couple who wishes to have the rights and benefits attached to marriage must utilize the civil component. They must take a trip down to a thoroughly unromantic (and decidedly irreligious) government building, pay their money, and obtain their paperwork. The religious ceremony alone will not accomplish this task (which is precisely why pro-equality clergy in non-marriage states can perform same-sex commitment ceremonies).

The bottom line is that the National Cathedral made a choice to channel its religiosity in this way. That may turn off some in the faith; others will be thrilled. That's the way it should go. Those conversations should always take place within the faith. Virtually every single LGBT person in this debate supports the right of all churches, from accepting to Southern Baptist, to make these determinations for themselves. We largely support the right of any faith leader to deny any couple of any kind of ceremony for just about any reason. So long as there is no civil rights violation, churches and church staff have this freedom.

But neither religious choice, be it the one to open doors or to close the same, is a sign of whether or not the state and federal government of this church/state-separated nation of ours should recognize same-sex couples in *CIVIL* law. It's deeply offensive to suggest that it is. Yes, it's offensive to the qualified couples who are denied by (Catholic-based) groups like NOM. However, it's also offensive to America's rich and diverse faith community to suggest that the church is some sort of arm of government that sets policy. Many religious people prefer to think of their God not as a legislator or civil court judge but rather as a, well—God.

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper

Your thoughts

comments powered by Disqus

G-A-Y Comments Policy

Related Posts with Thumbnails