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.
Neither the court nor government may referee religious disputes. Under
the Constitution, religious groups are free to urge and put into
practice their different visions of the good, of moral life, and compete
for adherents in the marketplace of ideas. Winners and losers are
determined by the “votes” of individuals and congregations, of believers
and nonbelievers, not by government bodies.
Written By: Marc D. Sterncontinue to source article at cnn.com