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Our Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and refused to rule on California’s Proposition 8 thereby leaving intact the Appellate Court’s decision to strike down California’s law banning same-sex marriage within that state.
What do these decisions mean? Are they a stand for individual freedoms, or misguided decisions positioning the United States to incur the wrath of God? Perhaps both, depending upon one’s upbringing and beliefs.
For me, the decisions mean the definition of marriage is a matter for individual states to decide. If the citizens of a state say same-gender couples can marry, then those unions will have the same rights and responsibilities as any other marriage. Further, our federal government will have to abide by that state’s decision.
For those who believe our country is becoming a depraved Sodom and Gomorrah sure to incur severe punishment from God Almighty, I encourage you to continue using your First Amendment rights to persuade others to your point of view. But, respect my right and freedom to behave in any way I choose within the limits of civil law.
For those who believe our country is protecting nondiscriminatory civil rights, I encourage you to avoid gloating and just live your life enjoying the freedoms our country provides. But, respect my right and freedom to exercise my religious beliefs without condemnation.
What a great country is the United States! Thanks to our governmental checks and balances, we are able to decide (if not solve) contentious issues without resorting to violence against our fellow citizens. Our churches are free to choose whether or not to recognize same-sex unions, our states can define what constitutes a marriage without interference from our federal government, and individuals can continue to enjoy equal protection under the laws in the states in which they live.
As I look across the oceans to countries being ruled by religious dogma, I am thankful to live under a secular government that protects both freedom for religion practices and freedom from religious domination. Under such a government, I am free to practice whatever religion I choose and accountable to have my behavior judged by the law and not by someone’s interpretation of religious doctrine.