But the Vermont same-sex marriage bill was a breakthrough in another way which has received zero attention in the press. For the very first time, a legislature has formally acknowledged that gay marriage poses a serious threat to the religious liberties of Vermonters who disagree with the government's new definition of marriage. And the gay marriage movement has permitted -- if not exactly trumpeted -- that legislature to enact some imperfect yet substantive religious liberty protections, instead of the fake religious liberty protections generally offered to deflect voters' attention from the real issues at stake.
Same-sex marriage is quite different from bans on interracial marriage in one powerful respect: It asks religious Americans to surrender a core belief -- no, not Leviticus (disapproval of gay sexual acts), but Genesis -- the idea that God himself made man male and female and commanded men and women to come together in a special way to image the fruitfulness of God.
Many religious people and groups will bow to, if not exactly endorse, the power of gay activists. Witness Rev. Rick Warren, who on "Larry King Live" this week came very close to recanting his support for Proposition 8. Rick did not quite do so. What he did, instead, is what many good people will do in the face of the massive campaign of intimidation and harassment designed to silence Christians and others of good will who support marriage: He dodged. Rick said, more or less: I am not now and never have been an anti-gay marriage "activist."
(Follow the "He dodged" link to watch a clip of Warren on Larry King. He absolutely dodged. King asked him a direct question. He should have given a direct answer, yes or no. But he changed the subject.)
Anyway, here's an FAQ in PDF form from the Vermont Legislature, explaining the religious liberty protections in the legislation. I'm grateful that they're there. If same-sex marriage is achieved statutorily, it is possible to provide religious liberty protections. If it's decided in court, there's no guarantee of this. Of course, if a same-sex couple wishes to challenge the religious liberty parts of this law as discriminatory, these protections could be thrown out. I expect that's just a matter of time, because I don't think activists will rest until all those who disagree with them are marginalized and silenced.
Still, if we are going to have gay marriage, getting it via legislative action that provides clear protections for religious organizations is about the best deal religious traditionalists can hope for. Ask yourself, though: if those who say that religious-liberty fears around gay marriage are baseless are correct, why did the Vermont legislature feel obligated to put them into its same-sex marriage law?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Vermont Gay 'Marriage' and consequences...
From Maggie Gallagher's latest column: