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Weekly Dose of Dialogue: Marriage

Two newlyweds are fighting for the dismissal of the justice of the peace who refused them a marriage license because they are of different races. Full story on CNN.com.

If you change race to gender/sexuality, does this story arouse the same response from the government? From the public? Within the past century (or even within the past 50 years?) the country's stance on inter-racial marriage has gone from a point where this story would be "nothing new", to where we are today, where it is the exception, rather than the rule. Will same-sex marriage make the same transition? Where are we in the process?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
I don't believe interracial marriage tipped past 50% of acceptance until the late 1980's or early 1990's.

So, gay marriage will take quite a long time too, likely.
Oct. 21st, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Or religion...
I know firsthand how much it stings to have someone refuse to perform a marriage ceremony because he would consider the marriage invalid. In my case, it was a clergyman who refused because my sweetie and I have different religions. It hurt more because the clergyman is a good friend of both of us. (He's since relaxed a bit if certain conditions are met; the funny thing is we met all his conditions so he'd probably marry us today.) For religious officials, I guess I can understand if they can't or won't do something they find invalid or immoral. I even consider that tolerable, because there are plenty of alternatives available. For public officials, though, it's different; if the clerk refuses to accept the paperwork and/or nobody will officiate, the people are out of luck. Better hope they can file somewhere else.
Oct. 21st, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Or religion...
You raise two points.

(1) Is marriage a religious or secular institution, or both? I believe it is both. Rather, I believe there are both religious and secular (civil) marriages.

(2) In so far as marriage is a religious institution, does the State have any place requiring religious organizations to perform marriage according to State mandates? I believe it does not.

The State can say that (secular) marriage licenses must be granted to any pair of consenting adults such that no such license will be granted to an individual already in possession of a valid license, regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. etc. etc. However, it cannot require that your friend the clergyman perform the ceremony. Neither can it prohibit a Church from recognizing polygamous marriage, marriage between an adult and a minor, etc.

If you want to be married in the eyes of the State, you must meet the State's requirements and no others.

If you want to be married in the eyes of God, you must meet God's requirements and no others.

Oct. 21st, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Civil Unions, in some parts.
In most of the blue states, it seems like "Civil Unions" (legally recognized partnerships) are accepted, as long as they're not called "marriage".

In red states, or even rural parts of the midwest or blue-states, there are still lots of rednecks who haven't ever had an openly gay friend or coworker. For them, marriage between gay or lesbian people is a repulsive idea. They're often not keen on interracial relationships either. It's easy to tune them out, but they're there and they vote.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Galen Wolffit

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