March 6, 2009


Well, Proposition 8's fate is in the hands of the California Supreme Court.

They may overturn the whole thing on the basis of its restricting a basic human right; they may allow it to stand, but also permit the marriages conducted between the last decision and this one also to remain intact. Or they may go all the way and dissolve the marriages of the Starr-crossed lovers of the state of California and return them to the state of "fornication" — to use the old word for unmarried folks cohabiting.

In all of this, one of the common arguments about which we need to be alert is that providing civil marriage equality somehow treads on religious rights of others. It doesn't -- at all! No church will be required to perform any marriage contrary to the beliefs of the church — which would be an unconstitutional interference by the state. The problem we are facing now is religious folks as individuals and as religious bodies intruding themselves into the civil arena and treading on civil rights.

As the Woodpecker Song so eloquently says, "Get yer finger out of it; it don't belong to you!"

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Veritas said...

Thanks for keeping us posted. May God work in the hearts of those deciding!

June Butler said...

How I envy those who can come up with wickedly witty titles for blog posts, because I pretty much can't.

No one will have to go against their religion, and not one opposite-sex marriage will be harmed by same-sex marriage. Two simple ideas to keep in mind. It's not hard at all.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks, Mimi. I couldn't resist this one. And yes, isn't it sad that people feel the need so to interfere in other people's lives? See my subsequent post, though this is just one more instance of the libido dominandi the heart of all evil in deciding one has to tell others what to do, and make them do it...

Anonymous said...

"No one will have to go against their religion."


What about the Catholic shopkeeper who hires a GLBT worker and will have to provide "spousal" benefits? The current civil union law in California already tramples upon religious liberties of conservative Christians. You can forgive us for objecting to having our faith pushed even further into the closet.


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Fr Michael, how does providing a legally required entitlement to someone else violate a person's religion? The idea that providing insurance for the spouse of an employee somehow necessitates a religious belief on the part of the business owner is hardly obvious. Such a requirement may offend his sensibilities, and he may disagree with having to provide such benefits; but in no way is his own religious belief infringed. He can continue to believe whatever he wants. Religious liberty does not consist in being able to control the lives of others.

To take a less tendentious example: Roman Catholic doctrine forbids marriage after divorce, absent an annulment. A Roman Catholic woman obtains a divorce and marries civilly without obtaining an annulment. In the eyes of the church she is not properly married. This does not give her Roman Catholic employer the right to withhold spousal benefits -- but nor does it require the employer to change his opinion of the employee. He can put "spousal" in quotes and think the employee is living in sin all he wants. The employer's religious rights are untouched.

I realize that for those who think that their faith is diminished by the presence or lives of those they think unfaithful, or by having to provide nonreligious services to such persons may _feel_ that their faith is under assault. But having to coexist in a world of sinners is part of living in the real world. The zealot who thinks all must think as he does, and cannot tolerate a difference of opinion, is an unhappy man indeed.

A blessed Lent.