Okay, so I lied. I have no particular reason why a conservative, especially an evangelical conservative, should support gay marriage. Well, I do, but those arguments have all been rejected time and time again, no matter how much validity I believe them to have.
However, there is a reason why conservatives should support the government at least getting the hell out of way.
My Facebook feed is routinely peppered with people who claim that the idea of seperation of church and state (which they note has no specific mention in the Constitution) had absolutely nothing to do with keeping the church out of government, but existed solely to keep government from having any sway over what churches do or say. Now, I personally adhere to the belief that it’s really a two way street, but that’s neither here nor there.
So, Christian conservatives do not want Uncle Sam telling the First Baptist Church of Podunk, Mississippi what they can and can’t do, correct? Well, guess what? I agree with that completely. I can’t think of a single contributor to this site that doesn’t feel the same way. So, we’re all on the same page, right?
Now that we’re at least looking in the same basic direction, I’m forced to ask why conservatives are comfortable letting the government determine which ceremonies performed by a church are valid, and which aren’t?
You see, there are churches in this country that don’t seem to have any issue with performing marriage ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples. However, the government of the United States refuses to accept those ceremonies as valid, even in states where the law allows them. In is insinuating itself into the internal actions of a church by declaring its sacraments less valid in some circumstances than others.
No church or pastor should ever be forced to perform a marriage ceremony. That can never be stated enough. Religious freedom must mean that pastors and churches should decide for themselves how to approach the issue. This isn’t unusual. In fact, the pastor my wife and I wanted to perform our marriage declined. He had a covenant with his church that he wouldn’t perform a marriage for any couple that he believed would end up divorced. As my wife and I are both the children of divorced parents, he felt the odds were stacked against us. While it hurt both of us, we respected his position. This no different than how it should work if a same sex couple wants to get married, but are told no due to religious reasons.
On the flip side though, why does the government on any level at all get to decide who a church or pastor is allowed to legally marry?
Opponents may claim that the church can perform the ceremony, but the government has no grounds to recognize it. My question has been, “Why?” Why does the government need to be involved in the affairs of a church? Why not let this be settled by governing bodies and individual congregations who will make the decision best for themselves and their faith?
Here’s the plan. Get government out of recognizing marriage in any way, insure that churches can decide for themselves how to deal with it, and then let things sort themselves out. Seems like the best way to me.