Can we all be free? I don’t pose that rhetorically. Can both an evangelical who believes homosexuality is a sin and a gay man both have their own liberty. Yes is the easy answer how is harder. Marriage is both a religious and civic institution. Each equally important to their adherents. On a religious level, it is the opposite sacrament of ordination. It is a sacrament of service and the purpose and cornerstone of life. For that institution in many faiths, it is between a man and a woman to bless procreation. On a civic level, there are massive tax breaks, legal rights, and other financial implications. The right to visit a dying loved one in a hospital is one of the few non blood related paths to visitation. Simplification of Inheritance is another big legal benefit and a big one in avoiding estate disputes with family members who don’t support homosexuality. Marriage as a civic institution that affects all major aspects of life and no citizen should be excluded.
In society, the two marriages meet mostly just once: the ceremony in which both share many of the same rituals. If a person believes marriage as a central part of their religious life, should they be forced to service those who go against their beliefs? It is a tricky question, it is a different comparison then Neo Nazis and Jews or Klansmen and Blacks. Most current scientific evidence points to biology as a major portion of being homosexual. The exact source is unknown. On the Christian end, they have an issue with the sin, not the human. Their issue is what they will be participating in if they provide their services. If we accept that articles of clothing to be untouchable expressions of faith then can we saying participating or rather not participating in a ritual be considered differently.
On the opposite end is the case of Kim Davis. Her job as county clerk came with a job description that included complying with all laws. If her beliefs interfered with fulfilling her job duties then she shouldn’t have been hired. I am a strong supporter of anti discrimination laws based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability in the wide and weird array that those categories cover. We all have the God given right to Life, Liberty, and Property. While I believe in the freedom of association, I do not support businesses that receive special tax status to both benefit as an individual and as an institution. I think being open to the public and taxed as such should mean offering your services to all. I think that the solution for the religious/ civic divide may be for the religious business owners to operate by appointment or member only basis without tax exemptions or benefits.
Freedom was never intended to be defined as doing whatever you want when you want to. I think people forget the beauty that our country was founded on. They believed that people would choose the greater good over private passions and interests. Their moral character would temper Capitalism that people would choose to earn less profit and have less luxury for the benefit of their countryman. They correctly feared the path of Rome. The Roman nobles entertained themselves into Tyranny. Entrenched wealth that belonged to citizens of nowhere. It isn’t always flashy like Trump Tower. If you drive through the nooks of Los Angeles, you will hidden many hidden mansions. Sometimes a block over you’ll run into a tent city that may stand for months until the cops are called not that anything changes but the location the city is rebuilt on. When they repeal the estate tax, the only thing missing will be titles before their name. As they fly to their homes in global villages outside of the nation the land is in. People who focus more on the world then the people who live in it. Disruption for convenience. Our decadence is toxic.
Much like the Federalists of 1860, I will not give up on our union and republic. We will heal our divisions. Americans come back together.