Gay Marriage, Religious Sensitivities and Civil Rights

New Hampshire became the sixth state to let gay couples wed. The new law was approved after revisions exempted members … Continued

New Hampshire became the sixth state to let gay couples wed. The new law was approved after revisions exempted members of the clergy from having to perform same-sex weddings and religious groups and their employees from have to participate in such ceremonies. Polls say regular churchgoers are more likely to support gay marriage with these ‘religious reassurances.’

Is this a good solution to the divisive issue of gay marriage?

It is probably a necessary sop thrown to the ongoing prejudice of homophobia. It is also meaningless. No clergy person now is required to perform any wedding that he or she does not choose to perform and those businesses that do not want to take “gay” dollars are few and far between. There are plenty of vendors available for these weddings, so I see this as of no great significance. In 25 years we will be embarrassed that we had to jump through these hoops to bring justice to our world for gay and lesbian couples. If this is the battle line on which religious sensitivities are served, then let us face the fact so clear and so obvious, that the battle for equality in marriage is over and only some mopping up is required.


John Shelby Spong John Shelby "Jack" Spong is a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church.
  • cmarshdtihqcom

    At bare minimum we the uninformed Christians (we did not know our pastors have the discretion not to marry us) need to know that that is the case in a state such as New Hampshire.It doesn’t always mean we will shoot down the law. I wouldn’t. My liberty and pursuit of happiness with a woman is every bit as valuable as a gay person’s same sex rights. We all have a parking space in our heart. Most of us park a car there, a few park a pickup truck there, some even a van.15 years ago I wrote in the Marshall University Parthenon hoping one state, Hawaii, would pass gay marriage. Now we have five or six gay marriage states. Possibly more to come.They are zero threat to me. Homosexual and heterosexual marriage are parallel but in opposite directions. It is just an intellectual exercise. Nothing personal unless I had to give advice to a Christian in that situation, and perhaps I would be the wrong person to give advice. Compassion, fine. I was only asked once for advice. I was compassionate and explained that I had trials too, as everyone does.

  • cornetmustich

    Good article. It’s time America.And kudos to New England and Iowa for supporting marriage equality and fairness.Recently I officiated for two women from DC who came to CT to wed, along with their families for a long weekend. Congratulations!(One of the woman is an attorney at Bois, Schiller and Flexner in DC. Kudos to Attorney Bois. And Mr Olson too for their work on challenging Prop 8 in CA)And later this summer more couples are coming to CT to wed from CA, VA, LA, and NY because they aren’t allowed to do so in their own home states just yet.It’s time America.Cheers, Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace,Kudos to civil marriage!Sally: I enjoyed your interview with your son on C-Span Books.

  • cornetmustich

    Thanks Bishop Spong.

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