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A bright Independence day

July 4, 2015

For advocates of personal liberty, this Independence day is brightened by the Supreme Court’s decision handed down last week legalizing gay marriage. Social conservatives are crying over that, their notion of “freedom” well captured by the cartoon above.

It’s important to recognize what will not happen because of Obergefell. No church will be required to perform gay weddings. No fundamentalist preacher, rabbi, or imam will be stopped from damning gay sex. How do I know? Because religious and civil marriage long ago went their separate ways. The Catholic Church has followed its own laws on marriage, different from civil laws from before our nation was founded. As has rabbinical law. Loving was decided in 1967, yet there still are churches that preach against miscegenation. Bob Jones University, where Republican presidential candidates regularly pay homage to the religious right, banned interracial dating only fifteen years past. Religious independence in the US is guaranteed by the 1st and 14th amendments. Obergefell simply removes yet one more religious claim on civil law. Lets make them more independent yet! American law must serve and respect Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Wiccan, and atheist alike. None of those traditions may lay claim to it, though members of all benefit from its protections.

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