The sex-obsessed Right (here and here, for example) is all atwitter about one British politician who wants to take civil marriage out of the purview of religion because some churches oppose same-sex civil partnerships. More George Weigel/Archbishop Dolan stuff.
It reminds me of a conversation overheard between one of my staff colleagues and a TP-leaning student last year. Said student didn’t want government interference in people living their lives as they thought best: fewer regulations, lower taxes, less socialism–that kind of stuff. My colleague pressed that point when the conversation turned to same-sex unions in Iowa. Why wouldn’t the same principle apply to a gay or lesbian union? Don’t other people get bothered being told what they can and can’t do in society?
I think the Right’s kerfuffle over this will get a lot more traction when a gay man forces me to divorce my wife in order to have a church marriage with him.
Then maybe I’ll line up with the conservatives on this one.
Frankly, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to turn over civil marriage to civil authorities. Religious people can always celebrate their marital commitment in any ritual, liturgical, sacramental, or other holy way they want to within the walls of their home or church. And nobody outside can do anything about that.
Personally speaking, I have more than enough relationship, sacramental, and parenting issues I share with my wife. I don’t want, and I don’t need to have a say in what other couples do. I have plenty of work to do every day to support my traditional marriage. Maybe when I get that figured out, I might have something to say about other people. For now, unless the bishops want to make a big deal about outlawing what the Church teaches is the immoral part of same-sex unions–namely the sex–this argument against same-sex unions strikes me as anti-gay. And I want no part of that.