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March 25th, 2013
10:10 AM ET

My Take: Will gay rights infringe on religious liberty?

Editor's note: Marc D. Stern is the general counsel of the American Jewish Committee and a contributor to the book, "Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty."

By Marc D. Stern, Special to CNN

(CNN) – It was inevitable that the debate over same-sex marriage would have a strong religious component. This is partly because it involves such questions as the interpretation of biblical passages that, on their face, condemn homosexuality as a sin. But it also involves squaring the authority of ancient texts with modern theological understanding and developments in biology. And of course, the importance of love and human autonomy as religious values should be considered.

Those issues surfaced in the various briefs filed in the Supreme Court, some of which are written as if the court must inevitably choose one religious point of view as the winner and the other as the loser. This is a false choice. The Court can make all winners, or at least avoid allowing one side to suppress the other's deepest beliefs.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not been asked - nor could it possibly answer - the question of what God or the Bible thinks about same-sex marriage. Religious groups are divided on that question, some supporting and others opposing same-sex marriage. And even if the religious viewpoint were clear, it should play no direct role in deciding whether the Constitution requires the states or the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage. Our government should not act to further one or another religious view of contested moral issues.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Gay marriage • Gay rights • My Take

soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. My complaint.

    Why is marriage any of the government's business to begin with? Why is it anybody's business? What religion to have and who you marry are our personal lives. Government is too invasive to both sides.

    April 28, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  2. Erik

    So far, I don't see how this is infringing on anyone's religious liberties AT ALL. However, where there's a will, there's a way, and that way is eventually likely to be the tax system. Declare any organization that discriminates against gays a hate group, and voila, they lose their tax exemption. That would put the hurt on a lot of churches. It was a very close thing with the Scouts, and obviously, in another few years, that ruling would have gone the other way. So, yes, I do see that as of now it's not about religious liberties, unless someone's claiming the liberty to have a legal advantage over others because of their particular faith. But don't think there's absolutely no way this can pass a point where it restricts the freedom to run a church, a synagogue, or a mosque as the worshipper sees fit. There is most definitely a way.

    April 16, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Personally, I don't see that happening, but I also see a very simple solution. Take away tax exempt status from all churches/synagogues, temples, etc. Tax the land, tax the building, tax the income.

      The government gets more income (which we obviously need, considering the deficit) and the churches freedoms are secured. Churches are free to continue to hold to and preach their archaic points of view, espouse hate, do the hokey pokey, whatever it is they find sacred. Include celebrate the unions of two men or two women who love one another if they so choose.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • No way

      My weight you assume the government will share with the public. That's not true. It will just give the government more power and more control, that's not a good thing. Unless you're part of the government (which you may very well be).

      April 18, 2013 at 6:26 am |
    • lol??

      Socies, burn your Hitler Oath and take the new and improved Obama Oath. Why do socies always need strong leadership??
      Oh not well, for some socie fun watch this movie, Welcome to Woop Woop.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:39 am |
    • Science

      298,000 resultsAny time

      Wow Bill a link from Bing................the matrix no red horn-y beast required doogie !

      My Take: Will gay rights infringe on religious liberty? – CNN ...

      religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/25/my-take-will-gay-rights-infringe...

      Mar 25, 2013 · Science. Hey doogie you too ! Hey Chad ... and ocean and provided one of the conditions necessary for animal ... god(s) did NOT create US ! NO red horn-y ...

      June 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  3. Mdale

    Shouldn't the tile read "Will Gay Rights Infringe on My Right to be a Bigot by Using the Bible?"

    April 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • frespech

      No , but it could read are my gay rights infringing on my right to be saved according to the bible.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  4. Felix Sinclair

    "Will gay rights infringe on religious liberty?"

    Maybe, but too bad if it does.

    April 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  5. rosethornne

    NOT permitting equal rights to persons of the gay variety based on one group's offended mutterings is infringement of religious freedom.
    Specifically, the right to be free from religion in our secular/legal lives.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  6. Douglas

    No church will be forced to marry gays.

    Chrisitian churches, for example, can't marry gays becuase gay marriage is
    not accepted in the Holy Bible.

    April 3, 2013 at 5:15 am |
    • Paul

      What an idiot. There are already Christian churches marrying people. I even heard they will soon start doing it at Washington National Cathedral. Typical Christian only tells a story the way they want to see it.

      April 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Erik

      You will be amazed how fast Christian churches get used to gay marriage. I was an elder in a Presbyterian church, and the older folks absolutely couldn't stomach it, but the younger folk had zero problem with it. In fact, get a few gay families in there for a few Sundays running, contributing to events and you'll see that they get past it rather quickly. If you think the bible is an impediment, consider how many biblical rules (wearing white, not cutting hair, killing neighbor for doing yardwork on Sabbath) already get blown off as being impractical. The threat today is not gays trying to get in, it's how many people just don't care and don't attend anymore.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Science

      Hey doogie you too !

      Hey Chad,faith the peach and all creationists what color JELL- O you stuck IN. ? Star Dusts (chondrites) and water !

      Scientists Offer First Definitive Proof of Bacteria-Feeding Behavior in Green Algae

      May 23, 2013 — A team of researchers has captured images of green alga consuming bacteria, offering a glimpse at how early organisms dating back more than 1 billion years may have acquired free-living photosynthetic cells. This acquisition is thought to have been a critical first step in the evolution of photosynthetic algae and land plants, which, in turn, contributed to the increase in oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere and ocean and provided one of the conditions necessary for animal evolution.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523143741.htm

      Game over .................god(s) did NOT create US !

      NO red horn-y devil either........ NEVER has been one.!

      The DINOSAUR ?...............Chomp Chomp !...Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red devil to get the

      HELL out of the way.....................Stem Cell research !

      Allosaurus Fed More Like a Falcon Than a Crocodile: Engineering, Anatomy Work Reveals Differences in Dinosaur Feeding Styles

      May 21, 2013 — The mighty T. rex may have thrashed its massive head from side to side to dismember prey, but a new study shows that its smaller cousin Allosaurus was a more dexterous hunter and tugged at prey more like a modern-day falcon.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521152638.htm

      PLUS

      Better than Comedy GOLD................it is THE PEARLY GATES !.............what a JOKE !

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-18/#respond

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      faith

      personally, as a former agnostic, i don't hate all the hypocrites in their faith. joe, sally and susie stole everything from everyone and kept it all. but harry, gary and ashley only stole from religious fanatics which i supported.

      May 25, 2013 at 6:44 am | Report abuse | Reply

      Science

      Hey faith the peachy one you know !

      Game over .................god(s) did NOT create US !

      NO red horn-y devil either........ NEVER has been one.!

      The DINOSAUR ?...............Chomp Chomp !...Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red devil to get the

      HELL out of the way.....................Stem Cell research !

      Allosaurus Fed More Like a Falcon Than a Crocodile: Engineering, Anatomy Work Reveals Differences in Dinosaur Feeding Styles

      May 21, 2013 — The mighty T. rex may have thrashed its massive head from side to side to dismember prey, but a new study shows that its smaller cousin Allosaurus was a more dexterous hunter and tugged at prey more like a modern-day falcon.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521152638.htm

      PLUS

      Better than Comedy GOLD................it is THE PEARLY GATES !.............what a JOKE !

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-18/#respond

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      Peace

      May 25, 2013 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |

      May 25, 2013 at 7:04 am |
  7. Name*VincentThieu

    Christians are Divided over the issue????? The largest Christian denomination in the world, and most other small ones, has been consistent for 2000 years that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    'Divided' is not historically or contemporarily accurate. Now when, it comes to what is called 'honest' journalism....I think we disagree on that one for sure.

    March 31, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Saraswati

      At what percent, on your definition, does a split reach the level of "divided"?

      April 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  8. S.R.

    Here is a prayer to anyone willing to recieve Christ as Savior. Thank you and may God bless you all. In Jesus Name. Amen.

    "Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I ask forgiveness for my sins and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for giving me the gift of eternal life. I want to turn and live a new life with you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jesus. Amen."

    March 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Francisco

      SR this is a forum for discussion . If you want to make a sermon go to your place of worship.

      April 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  9. inky

    Being born blind or being born deaf are physical defects.. But being born with Female desires, yet into a Male body
    (0r vice versa) carries DOUBLE jepordy defects.. Both the MORALS and the physical defects are affected..

    March 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It's tragic that you were born stupid.

      March 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.