Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Online Athens: Bround Should Read the Ruling

I was reading through the ABH this morning, and I saw the following editorial. I think it highlights much of what is wrong with our current representative:

Currently, it is easier to get a gun than to get health insurance in the United States. Congressman Paul Broun's priorities, however, include support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Banner-Herald's Sunday editorial criticizing Broun's action produced a critical Tuesday letter to the editor that read, in part: "We readers hope the media will offer thought-provoking editorials coupled with vision and wisdom. In this case, the Banner-Herald editorial board has taken a stance that is deplored by thousands of readers who are thoughtful and influential."

Broun and the letter writer would do well to consider the "vision and wisdom" of the "thoughtful and influential" Iowa State Supreme Court in its unanimous decision legalizing same-sex civil marriage in that state.

The court wrote that "civil marriage must be judged under our constitutional standards of equal protection and not under religious doctrines or the religious views of individuals. ... This approach does not disrespect or denigrate the religious views of many Iowans who may strongly believe in marriage as a dual-gender union, but considers, as we must, only the constitutional rights of all people, as expressed by the promise of equal protection for all. We are not permitted to do less and would damage our constitution immeasurably by trying to do more.

"In the final analysis, we give respect to the views of all Iowans on the issue of same-sex marriage - religious or otherwise - by giving respect to our constitutional principles. ... These principles require that the state recognize both opposite-sex and same-sex civil marriage. Religious doctrine and views contrary to this principle of law are unaffected ... .

"A religious denomination can still define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and a marriage ceremony performed by a minister, priest, rabbi or other ... leader of the person's religious faith does not lose its meaning as a sacrament or other religious institution."

This editorial, written my Richard Zimdars, highlights why this should not be a debate at all. We have a separation of church and state. Civil Marriage is not a religious issue, at all. It has nothing to do with religion. Any person of religion can get it, atheists and agnostics can also get it. It is a right given out by the State; and therefore, should be given to everyone equally.

Second, the ruling does not, nor should it, prevent religions from having their own sacraments. A Priest, Rabbi, Imam, or other religious figure can still give marriages from their religions without the state's approval.