Ponderings on a Faith Journey: A Legal Analysis of the Recent Prop 8 Decision

Bob Cornwall, a consistently thoughtful, progressive voice, has a guest post from an attorney in his congregation regarding the recent Prop 8 ruling, now being considered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  I highly recommend that you read it, especially if you’re so caught up in the religious/moral aspects of same sex marriage that you haven’t really considered the legal aspects.  Here’s a taste:

In its Equal Protection analysis, the court determined that Proposition 8 was discriminatory based on gender and sexual orientation. Based on its factual findings, the court ruled that the state had no lawful basis to enforce such discrimination. The court ruled that the state had no compelling interest, and in fact no rational basis, for allowing opposite sex couples to marry the person of their choice, while denying members of same-sex couples that same right. The court also ruled that the California provision for parallel (echos of “separate but equal” institution of “domestic partnerships” was not an adequate legal substitute for the right to marry because “marriages” and “domestic partnerships” carried very different social and economic consequences.

via Ponderings on a Faith Journey: A Legal Analysis of Prop 8 Decision (John McCauslin, Guest Post).

A Call to Clergy: Stop Performing (Legal) Marriages!

In 2008, after the passage of Proposition 8 in California, I blogged about my support for gay and lesbian persons and their right to be married.  If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in the time since, it’s been how few people paid attention to the nuances of my position.  So I thought I’d take the opportunity to write a bit more about it now.

It is very odd to me that in the U.S., clergy act as agents of the government at weddings.  In my state, for instance, the bride and groom apply for the marriage license at the county court house, but they don’t actually sign the license.  Instead, it’s signed by a member of the clergy and by two witnesses.  And, of course, without the clergy signature, it is invalid.

When I talk to pastors and priests about this, almost all of them express extreme discomfort at this situation, for it actually requires the clergyperson to act as an extension of the state.  And that conflicts with the theology held by many pastors, Calvinist and Arminian, Protestant and Catholic.

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