I was reading a collection of essays by religious intellectuals and theologians, and a couple of them described the recent trend toward allowing gay marriage as the state interfering with the freedom of religion.
On the face of it, this seems absurd. After all, if the state recognizes a certain status for gay couples, including accompanying legal rights, how does this impede the freedom of religion? No one is forcing any religious community to perform marriage ceremonies for gay people. No religion is required to modify their doctrines about sexual morality. Marriage as a legal status is something in between the state and individual citizens.
But then, maybe that’s precisely the issue. Some of the opposition to gay marriage takes place in the context of the long-standing conservative religious resistance to secular liberalism’s individualism. Liberals bypass “intermediate institutions” such as religious communities that interpose themselves between the individual and the state. Conservative theologians continue to object to religious communities beıng relegated to the status of private associations with only minimal, typically contract-based coercive powers over individuals.