Separation of Church and State / Same-sex marriage is a civil matter – SFGate

The Separation of Church and State in America Essay

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https://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Separation-of-Church-and-State-Same-sex-2598550.php

Separation of Church and State / Same-sex marriage is a civil matter

Deirdre Bourdet

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Most Americans agree with our Constitution that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. It seems odd, then, that so many Americans of late have taken a stand against same-sex marriage. How and why can we oppose extending basic civil rights to a group of people trying to join mainstream society by establishing permanent family units? What makes this issue, a simple question of equal access to the law, so profoundly contentious?

The answer is the longest word in the dictionary: antidisestablishmentarianism, a.k.a. opposing the separation of church and state. Opponents of same-sex marriage (including President Bush) almost always cite the preservation of “the sanctity of marriage” as their primary motivation. This argument overlooks that there are actually two distinct versions of marriage in this country — religious marriage under the auspices of a church and civil marriage under federal or state law. The two are entirely separate and unrelated; getting a marriage license from City Hall doesn’t make you married in the eyes of your religious community or God, and having a church celebrate your union doesn’t change your legal status.

The issue on the table now is legal marriage. Granting same-sex unions the same civil rights accorded heterosexual married couples will not affect or diminish the way religious communities choose to define and celebrate marriage.

Every church and religious organization is free to forbid or encourage whatever behavior they choose. If your church wants to forbid religious marriage of same-sex couples, no government action can stop it.

Our government’s role is to guarantee the freedom and equality of every citizen under the law, however. A church’s teachings regarding the definition and “sanctity” of marriage have no place in federal law. Let’s not forget what the First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Legislation (such as the Defense of Marriage Act and the “no gay marriage ” statute Bush promises/threatens) imposes a religious definition of marriage on the entire country. More accurately, they impose the definition of a few specific religions on the entire country — some churches in America actually do choose to recognize same-sex marriages. Such action flies in the face of a secular government, and we the voters must speak out now to eliminate religiously motivated discrimination and overrule its proponents.

Bush’s attempt to codify his religious convictions should offend every American who believes in the separation of church and state. Civil marriage is not a religious sacrament, and American citizens must learn to recognize the difference.

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The Separation of Church and State in America Essay

2177 Words
9 Pages

“Prayer has been banished from schools and the ACLU rampages to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Moreover, “Separation of Church and State” is nowhere found in the Constitution or any other founding legislation. Our forefathers would never countenance the restrictions on religion exacted today.” — Bill Flax, Forbes, 2011

Church and State seem to be two words which are entirely inseparable from each other. Religion in politics and the government has been present since the federal government was first put into place. The issue of

…show more content…

After the Civil War, President Grant moved for the state governments, in addition to the federal government, to be kept out of the citizens religious affairs.

In 1876 James G. Blaine proposed an Amendment to congress to accomplish this task, extending the religious clauses of the first amendment, and adding a prohibition of aid to parochial schools. Senator Frelinghuysen, who opposed the Blaine amendment, stated that “The Blaine Amendment very properly extends the prohibition of the first amendment of the Constitution to the States. Thus the Blaine Amendment prohibits the States, for the first time, from the establishment of religion, from prohibiting its free exercise, and from making any religious test a qualification to office.” Senator Eaton of Connecticut, and others with the same objections to the Blaine Amendment, felt that the Constitution prevented congressional involvement in the peoples religious lives, and that the states should be left to make their own decisions on the matter. The Blaine Amendment was proposed to the House, passed, and then defeated in the Senate. It would be proposed to congress and defeated over and over again for the next 50 years, but not abandoned until the Supreme Court decided that the

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