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The reality is that in the eyes of the state. All Marriages are Civil Unions [View All]

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Perky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 10:12 AM
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The reality is that in the eyes of the state. All Marriages are Civil Unions
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They bind couples together in a legal compact assigning joint rights and responsibilities. They carry not a whit of sacramental meaning. The word "marriage" is used by the state by simple and historical convention,


The problem is that within the realm of religion "marriage" has spiritual meaning and the vows spoken and the commitments made are deeply spiritual (at least in the moment...tragic though that may be), Now I don't think for a second that my marriage or anyone elses is threatened by same sex marriage. I think for people of faith however, they perceive same sex marriage as encroachment not so much on their rights, but on the relevance of their faith in an increasingly secularized world. The problem is that they want the state to enforce special protections for what is a religious issue. Ultimately I think it springs less from being anti-gay, then it does from the same frame as Intelligent Design and School Prayer. the focus in all these instances is really about state acknowledgment of tribal relevance more than it is about anything else,

They perceive that they have no other institution to rely on for the protection of their "tribe".

It is not simply that they are anti-gay (because a good portion of those who voted yes on Prop 8 are not...thousgh most assuredly a good number were). It is that they concerned about losing relevance. The problem is that the state should not afford any special protections or rights based on religion. The religious should not demand that the state protect it. Sacramental protection and orthodoxy is the responsibly of ecclesiastical authority and they can only impose those sacraments, by whatever name, on its own adherents. They should not ask the state to impose it on non-adherents.


I think some who support Gay Marriage might be missing some of the context of what the religious sense about this, What would be the reaction if the state started performing other sacramental tasks? Baptism. Communion? Last Rites? To the religious, marriage is no different. Well the religious would be up in arms about it because it demeans the value of those sacraments and it has no business encroaching on the sacred. They make no distinction for marriage because for them it is the same fundamental issue. The state should not take away the religious distinctive of marriage to satisfy a special set of people desire for "equality" .

I personally think this is a battle over semantics. Gays don't like the words "civil union" because it seems second class. Religionists want to protect the word "marriage" because it carries for the religious, deeply spiritual and sacramental value.

Proponents need to be sensitive to the perception that the adamance on the semantic front seems to the religious to be intentionally destructive and demeaning to what they hold as sacred. It is perceived as scornful of the entire religious construct. Proponent The religious need to quite asking the state to enforce spiritual belief about marriage and religious understanding about homosexuality on those who do not share that construct.

Calling religious people 'anti-gay' and bigots is overly simplistic. The religious have to find a way to separate the sacred and the secular, but those who who advocate for equality needs to find a way to let them do it. That night be accomplished by emphasizing that what is being sought is "equality in the eyes of the state"

It is my perception that "Civil Unions" are acceptable to 75% of the population, it is the term "marriage" that is where the battle line is drawn.

Perhaps the only way to resolve this is call it "Secular Marriage". (which is really what we are talking about anyway, but it conveys "marriage in the eyes of the state". "Sacramental marriage" thus would be reserved to adherents of the sect. If a sect wants to allow gays to marry under their religious laws, that should be up to the sect without interference.

Any construction that does not contain the word "secular" as distinct from sacramental is a non-starter for many people of faith...just as "union" as distinct from "marriage" is a non-starter for proponents.







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