For most Americans, gay equality trumps religious objections

Same-sex marriage supporter Vin Testa of the District waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court.Bill O’Leary / … Continued


Same-sex marriage supporter Vin Testa of the District waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court.Bill O’Leary / The Washington Pos

In the wake of two favorable Supreme Court decisions, gay rights proponents got another boost this month with the release of “State of the First Amendment: 2013,” a public opinion survey supported by the First Amendment Center.

According to the new poll, a majority of Americans (62 percent) now agrees that religiously affiliated groups receiving government funds can be required to provide health benefits to same-sex couples, even if the group has religious objections to same-sex marriage or partnerships.

Support for equal treatment of gay couples is highest among young people ages 18-30 (68 percent) and among Americans who identify as liberal (82 percent).

But a surprising number of evangelicals (41 percent) and conservatives (44 percent) groups usually identified as opponents of same-sex marriage also favor requiring religiously affiliated groups receiving tax dollars to provide health benefits to same-sex partners.

When government funds aren’t involved, public support for equal treatment of gay couples drops to a slim majority.

Fifty-two percent of Americans believe that businesses providing wedding services to the public can be required by government to provide services to same-sex couples, even if the business owner has religious objections to same-sex marriage.

Here again, support for nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is highest among people under 30 (62 percent) and liberals (70 percent) and lowest among conservatives (34 percent).

Non-religious (59 percent) and Catholic (61 percent) Americans are more likely than Protestants (39 percent) to support requiring businesses to serve gay couples on the same basis as other couples.

These findings suggest that the gay civil rights movement has reached a tipping point in the United States. For a growing majority of Americans, sexual orientation is fast joining race and gender as a human trait that should not subject any person to discrimination.

For people with religious objections to homosexuality, this trend toward equal treatment for same-sex couples is seen as a threat to religious freedom.

Religiously affiliated groups, they argue, must be free to follow the teachings of their faith even when taxpayers fund the social services they offer. And private business owners offering wedding services should have the right to turn away same-sex couples on grounds of religious conscience.

Proponents of same-sex marriage have acknowledged the need to guard religious freedom but in much more limited ways.

States that recognize same-sex marriage, for example, have re-stated in various ways the right of religious groups to define marriage according to the tenets of their faith. Under the First Amendment and various state laws, no house of worship or religious leader can be forced to marry same-sex couples or recognize same-sex marriages.

But advocates for marriage equality now supported by a majority of Americans draw the line on religious freedom when religious groups take government funds or when private businesses open their doors to the public.

When two cherished rights clash the right to be free from discrimination and the right to follow the dictates of religious conscience society must make painful choices that inevitably uphold one at the expense of the other.

According to the latest numbers, most citizens now believe that our commitment to non-discrimination must trump religious objections to homosexuality in the public square of America.

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  • arwash

    jay- It was in fact in all cultures between a man and woman. Now I didn’t say that it was taken out of context before in history. Men have always abused this law from the beginning of the curse until now. There have been many civilizations that have practiced outside of the one recognized unison. And it was banned before Christianity. Sex other than man an woman was practiced in secret until the division or Rome where the east practice more openly than the west which took on the Christian view.

  • arwash

    How do I look like a complete idiot? By the way, here we go with the name calling. What you and I call pedophilia was common in previous cultures and is still practiced today in some areas of the world. Idiot and ignorance are 2 different things by the way. By calling me an idiot you claiming I am either mentally retarded or know information but speak incorrectly. That is not the case. Calling me ignorant is saying that I have no knowledge of what I am speaking about which is also incorrect. In the broad spectrum of pedophilia which leads to people being charged as a sex offender, it works both ways for consenting and non-consenting. And just to note, they have been researching for years and will soon piggy back on the whole I was born this way phrase which will eventually win over everyone because this is all a sexual revolution started long ago. I guess no one sees this though because every group has their own agenda and is not looking out for the greater good.

  • arwash

    So I am harming their children but no one is harming mine. That is just so typical right. Because I don’t agree and don’t want my children exposed, so what. But if your children are being harmed, then it is a crime against humanity. Everyday people are pushing for homosexuality to be taught in history, celebrated publicly, etc. I don’t even want to celebrate a STRAIGHT DAY so why does America acknowledge a GAY DAY? I don’t care how much people want to argue about who was gay or straight in history. There sexual behavior had nothing to do with what they did for this country.

  • jay2drummer

    I didn’t list sex, I listed MARRIAGES or similar arrangements. And no, it was not banned in Rome before Christianity. It was banned by the Roman Emperor in roughly 342AD in an effort to conform the laws of the Empire with the laws of Christianity as part of the Theodosian Code. Tat’s not at all taking marriage out of context, it’s simply showing that it wasn’t ONLY between man and woman, and the fact that was a man and many women show it wasn’t simply a man and woman.

  • jay2drummer

    I already pointed out how you look like a complete idiot, since you can’t understand the difference between 2 consenting ADULTS and an adult and a CHILD who by law cannot consent.

    “Idiot and ignorance are 2 different things by the way. By calling me an idiot you claiming I am either mentally retarded or know information but speak incorrectly. That is not the case. Calling me ignorant is saying that I have no knowledge of what I am speaking about which is also incorrect.” In your case, BOTH applied to your statement, hence my use of both. You showed yourself to be an idiot by presenting incorrect facts, such as consenting adults and a minor with an adult being the same thing, when they clearly aren’t to anyone who isn’t ignorant of consent laws.

    “In the broad spectrum of pedophilia which leads to people being charged as a sex offender, it works both ways for consenting and non-consenting.” No, it doesn’t, because in the case of pedophilia, THERE IS NO CONSENTING. It always, by definition, involves a minor, someone who, by law, cannot consent.

    “And just to note, they have been researching for years and will soon piggy back on the whole I was born this way phrase which will eventually win over everyone because this is all a sexual revolution started long ago.” An argument that will still be irrelevant because even if the are born that way, they still can’t get around consent laws.

    “I guess no one sees this though because every group has their own agenda and is not looking out for the greater good.” No, it’s just that nobody intelligent fails to realize the consent issue.

  • arwash

    jarendah- I beg to differ. We always need to look back on history because apparently, it keeps repeating itself. Why? Because people don’t care and think we can overcome it this time. New data is old data reinterpreted. Our race has been dealing with what you call religion and opposition to it before Christ walked this earth. It is well documented in European history.

    So if I am marginalized, then I am being harmed right? Your words not mine. Personal beliefs cannot be kept out because that is the reason why homosexuals are advocating policy for this. There have a personal belief that people of the same gender should be together. I have the opposite view. Second, it should not be policy because it is a private act of 2 people of the same gender sleeping together. Where in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights is sex a public policy that Congress should be involved in. As far as amendments, go back and tell me where peoples rights are being violated because they choose to sleep with the same gender. The only thing I hear is rights being violated and the only stance I say you have is that same sex couples cannot be heir to benefits or be on the others insurance policy. That is all changing but you want to go further than civil unions and tell a group of religious people to marry us or else. I don’t care if you don’t believe just marry us. Bully tactics I tell you.

  • jay2drummer

    “So I am harming their children but no one is harming mine.” No, nobody is harming your children. Assuming you’ve chosen to marry, you have complete access to all the legal protections attached to marriage, meaning your children have them. Preventing same sex couples from having access to those protections means their children don’t get them, which harms children.

    “Because I don’t agree and don’t want my children exposed, so what.” Not wanting your children “exposed” to the fact that people who are different exist is not even remotely close to denying families legal protection just because you don’t like who they are attracted to.

    “I don’t even want to celebrate a STRAIGHT DAY so why does America acknowledge a GAY DAY?” I assume you are referring to the “Gay Pride” movement, which was a stance to make it clear that gays were not going to stand for being bullied and told to be ashamed of who they are.

  • arwash

    I saw your point but the fact of the matter is children do have the right to emancipate for one. The other fact is that you missed my point. Children are having sex today as early as 9 years old. Whether you believe they understand enough to consent will end up coming down to a comprehension(competency) hearing. If you have not been in a juvenile court or above, they do those quite often. I am not saying this is going to happen tomorrow just like the gay pride movement didn’t happen overnight. It takes time and just you wait, it will come.

  • arwash

    Jay- Please elaborate on these protections you speak of that my children have and your 2 aunts don’t. Also I don’t deny my children to know that people who live in this world that may not agree with them don’t exist. I just don’t want it displayed 24/7 saying that your wrong if you believe this way and we are right. Fight your battle without trying to use every avenue possible. You it kills me that people who are homosexual scream that it is ok to be different. Well being different means that you don’t always agree on everything. Yet you want to force me to agree with your views. I am not forcing you to agree with my views. I am sorry if you feel you need a day to celebrate not being bullied and ashamed. I never told you to be ashamed or not stand up for yourself. I just don’t agree. I am not going to name call though.

  • jay2drummer

    Emancipation for youths is only in extreme circumstances. That children have sex at a young age is not at all relevant, since minors having sex with minors and minors having sex with adults are very different things legally. Gay sex is legal, and laws banning it have been overturned and ruled completely unconstitutional. Consent laws have been held up in court.

  • jay2drummer

    Tax rates, legal recognition of parenthood, survivor benefits, spousal and family medical coverage from employers, and about 1000 other legal protections attached to marriage.

  • arwash

    Oh, going back to earlier comment on Rome, all pagan acts were banned before Christ walked the earth including Judaism. This was around 20’s B.C. The acts were though performed in private by not so conservative Romans who practiced what the Romans deemed as magic. Christianity when it came on the scene as well was seen a pagan worshipping. But all of history in reading, you should note that the Romans and also the house of David at times had it wrong with taking on more wives whether it was for greed or protection. God created the union of man and woman. He made the covenant and as long as he abides with the couples, it’s all good. He didn’t intend for man and woman or same gender to enter into this without him. This is calling him a lie if pastors marry outside of the covenant he set aside. That in itself is harming Christians. Does that bother you?

  • arwash

    Let’s see, that was all being changed even when civil unions were intact. The other thousand I have no idea what you are talking about. But I don’t think you can list them all. You are on the clock. Go

  • arwash

    Emancipation for youths is only in extreme circumstances. That children have sex at a young age is not at all relevant, since minors having sex with minors and minors having sex with adults are very different things legally. Gay sex is legal, and laws banning it have been overturned and ruled completely unconstitutional. Consent laws have been held up in court
    =============================
    It will get to the point where it is extreme. And minors have sex with minors? Are you kidding me? Minors are having sex with people 18 and up. Gay sex is not legal when men in prison are not consenting to it. I don’t know about the last statement. In what states was gay sex illegal?

  • jay2drummer

    Yes, rape is rape. Rape (sex with ANYONE who doesn’t consent) is illegal. Which has nothing to do with the issue at hand. When marrying, by definition, you are consenting, because you are willfully entering into contract. Minors may have sex with adults, but that doesn’t make it legal. A minor CANNOT consent to sex with an adult. That is the law. And if it gets reported, it is prosecuted like what it is, rape. As for your statement about in which states was gay sex illegal, Google “awrence v Texas”. There was a whole Supreme Court case about it, declaring such laws unconstitutional. Again showing both your ignorance and your lack of intelligence.

  • jay2drummer

    “Separate but equal” ring any bells? Look up Varnum v. Brien from Iowa, which points out exactly how civil unions do not, in fact, change that.

  • arwash

    Since we have this back and forth answer these questions:
    1. If gay sex is natural, then why does it happen that straight men have sex in prison; most times one party is not willing so that is rape. BTW that statistic is not counted when it comes to reported and un-reported rapes in this country.

    2.LGBT- If all 4 say we are born this way then doesn’t the 3rd and 4th contradict the first 2?

    3. Why do you have to be different? By definition that word is unlike in nature, unusual. In other words, it is unnatural. Oxymoron

    4. Why does the gay movement try to compare itself to the civil rights movement? It pisses me off because my older relatives and ancestors went through too much and they can’t change their color which brings me to my final question.

    5. Why after so many years of being gay can someone say they are not gay anymore? This gets me because their is a growing number of people who are saying this but there voice is never heard. Why suppress what they have to say?

  • arwash

    It doesn’t make it legal because the law has not changed on it. It used to be in many of these states when this country was very young, minors married older men. And I will say ignorance but it doesn’t show my lack of intelligence just because I did not research. I can admit my ignorance but can you?

  • jay2drummer

    Paganism was far from banned before Christ. It wasn’t until Constantine declared Christianity the religion of the state and outlawed all Pagan rituals that Paganism was banned.

    “God created the union of man and woman. He made the covenant and as long as he abides with the couples, it’s all good. He didn’t intend for man and woman or same gender to enter into this without him. This is calling him a lie if pastors marry outside of the covenant he set aside. That in itself is harming Christians. Does that bother you?” How are Christians harmed? The law is secular. Christians can recognize whatever marriages they want. They don’t get to make laws that force non-Christians to follow Christianity. Christians are in no way harmed, as they lose not a singe freedom.

  • arwash

    Separate but equal” ring any bells? Look up Varnum v. Brien from Iowa, which points out exactly how civil unions do not, in fact, change that
    =======================
    I said being changed, never said it was definitely happening everywhere.

  • jay2drummer

    “It used to be in many of these states when this country was very young, minors married older men.” And then we created consent laws, which were created to protect minors, and which have been held up b the courts a number of times for that reason. The fact that you can’t distinguish between marriage and rape shows your lack of intelligence. The fact that you are ignorant of laws that banned homosexuality shows you are ignorant. I will not admit to any ignorance when my statements show none and are, in fact, backed by historical FACTS, laws, and Supreme Court rulings.

  • jay2drummer

    And, again, you ignore what was said. Civil unions, by fact of not being the same thing as marriages, don’t have the same legal standing, and therefore don’t offer the same legal protections. Separate but equal is inherently not equal. And the Iowa Court showed exactly in which ways that was true, if you actually read it.

  • arwash

    The law is secular. Christians can recognize whatever marriages they want. They don’t get to make laws that force non-Christians to follow Christianity. Christians are in no way harmed, as they lose not a singe freedom

    =====
    wrong. The law is not secular in the house of the Lord. They are trying to make pastors marry people in church under the word of God. That is not state anymore but church. So yes that is harming Christians. You trampling on what we believe in our own home. Why can’t you see that. I believe your ignorance is showing on this matter.

  • jay2drummer

    Marriage laws have nothing to do with what goes on in “the house of the Lord”. They have to do with LEGAL RECOGNITION of marriage, not religious recognition. No church is, has been, or can be forced to perform, recognize, or hold same sex marriages. These laws apply to marriages from the state only. What you believe in your own home is your business. What the law believes is different. And taking what you believe in your home into the law is where you run into problems.

  • arwash

    Constantine came later and I applaud him for that. You may scold him but every emperor trying to unify his empire has to have everyone on the same accord. That is the reason why our country is slipping now. Every emperor has done that as well. And when Rome was a republic, it did discard pagan acts, which included any kind of unusual sexual behavior other than a man and woman.

  • arwash

    That is where you are wrong. There are people now trying to hire lawyers to take to trial churches who will not perform same sex ceremonies in their church. They are forcing military chaplains to do the same. A lieutenant in the Air Force is not having his contract renewed just because he wrote a letter to his superior stating that he did not believe a marriage should be performed. He did not go out and protests publicly, loud- mouth anyone. He wrote a letter. He has never been disciplined for anything and works side by side with gay men and lesbian women. That is utter ridiculousness to take a man who has been serving his country for over 20 years and tell him your letter has cost you re-enlistment because of you wrote a letter disagreeing with something.

  • jay2drummer

    1) By that logic, heterosexual sex is unnatural too, since there is plenty of heterosexual rape that takes place. The fact that there are some people who are messed up and commit rape is really not even remotely relevant to people getting married or whether the sex is natural.

    2) Not at all. The 3rd simply recognizes that there are people who are attracted to both sexes. The 4th implies that people don’t believe the bod they were born with matches the gender they identify with. That one as less to do with attraction than it does with personal identity.

    3) Being different is in no way unnatural. People are born attracted tot he sex they attracted to. That is natural. Homosexuality occurs in nature, in just about every species of mammal. Again, that shows that it is natural.

    4) Because they are fighting for civil rights. Sexual orientation, like skin color, can’t be changed. Marriage is a civil right, as stated by the Supreme Court. So is equal protection, as stated by the US Constitution.

    5) Because some people are bisexual. They are attracted to both sexes. Other people, generally the result of bullying, suppress their attractions, which is shown to be very unhealthy.

  • jay2drummer

    Homosexuality was outlawed AFTER Constantine (who died before 342 AD, when it was outlawed). Pagan outlaws were outlawed in the Empire specifically by Constantine, who issued a decree outlawing them at a time when Paganism and the growing Christian movement were fighting for religious dominance in the Empire.

  • jay2drummer

    And those churches are protected by something called “the first amendment.” No military chaplains are being forced to perform anything. The issue with the chaplain was that an enlisted man didn’t like the fact that a non-denominational church had been used by a chaplain to perform a same sex marriage that the chaplain CHOSE to officiate. The lieutenant was punished for insubordination towards an officer of higher rank.

  • arwash

    The fact that you can’t distinguish between marriage and rape shows your lack of intelligence.
    ============
    Wow! 2+2=4. I definitely distinguish between the 2 but you don’t. I brought up that just to show that laws may change to support something or not but it does not mean that it’s right. And your answers to my questions are typical. 1. Heterosexuality is not unnatural. It’s just that in cases where men want to have a sexual desire met, they will go to the extreme or raping another man to have it fulfilled. 2. The 3rd contradicts the first 2 because again it is having a sexual desire met. The 4th is simply stating that God, mother nature or whatever they believe made a mistake. That is contradiction to previous 3 by your explanation. How can nature make a mistake with them but not the other 3? 4.Sexual orientation can be changed as to my last question which proves the whole hypothesis(because I can’t even recognize it as a theory) is wrong. Last, over half of the people who I am talking about were not even influenced to change their minds and have a relationship to the opposite gender. Seems like your lack of knowledge is showing as well. Separate but equal……….

  • arwash

    It was also outlawed by the Republic and Augustus. Go back and read.

  • arwash

    Insubordination for what. He wrote a letter. He did not disobey a command. And you are wrong. There have been 2 chaplains that I know of who have left the military because of this.

  • arwash

    Have to go. Catch you on another blog or this same one. Have a good evening.

  • jay2drummer

    Insubordination for criticizing a superior officer, which is exactly what insubordination is. One of the military’s rules within the chain of command is not criticizing superior officers. It’s in the Uniform Code. And you may have had 2 chaplains CHOOSE to leave because the military was allowing same sex couples to wed, perhaps in the same chapel (many bases have non-denominational chapels that serve various sects of Christianity at different times, some of which have nothing against same sex marriage). But that’s not being forced to conduct a wedding, that’s just not liking that other people are conducting one or the military recognizing them.

  • jay2drummer

    ” I brought up that just to show that laws may change to support something or not but it does not mean that it’s right.” Except the laws DON’T change to support rape. Laws change to create legal protections.

    And not one of your counter points is based in facts or logic, nor do any of them refute my claims. You claim that prison rape proves homosexuality is unnatural. By that logic, so is heterosexuality, since there are men who rape women all the time. The fact is, anyone who actually knows anything about rape will tell you it’s not about sexual desire or attraction, it’s about power and shaming the victim. The 3rd in no way contradicts the first 2, as I pointed out, unless one assumes, contrary to any evidence, that orientation is 100% black and white, gay/straight, and while it may be for many, again, anyone credible will tell you that for many people they lie somewhere in between, not on either end. That nature made a mistake with transsexuals doesn’t imply it made a mistake with the others. It simply means it made a mistake with THOSE INDIVIDUALS. Anything can be changed if you bully, pressure, or physically/mentally abuse people enough. Other people are, as I said below, bisexuals. That’s not choosing to change anything, that’s simply being attracted to different people.

    You have yet to show any lack of knowledge in me. I’ll admit I have areas where my knowledge is lacking. This is far from being one of them.

  • arwash

    How is it not based in logic. Men can’t rape women in prison unless it is a female guard. I am referring to being in a enclosed environment with the same gender. Most of these offenders never encountered a man outside of prison. Yet the resort to this sexual act within an enclosed environment and yes sexual desire is involved. It just it comes to the point where they don’t care what gender as long as gratification comes. I thought you would see the obvious logic in that. A desire has to be their for rape other wise the person would not commit it. Power and shame is a by-product that help to drive the person to actually commit rape again and again. And I know something about sexual assault thank you.

  • arwash

    unless one assumes, contrary to any evidence, that orientation is 100% black and white, gay/straight, and while it may be for many, again, anyone credible will tell you that for many people they lie somewhere in between, not on either end. That nature made a mistake with transsexuals doesn’t imply it made a mistake with the others. It simply means it made a mistake with THOSE INDIVIDUALS.
    =========================
    What evidence are you referring to? And your credible people or groups may not be as solid as you think. It is black and white and you are right people lie to try to convince themselves that what they are doing is right just because it makes them feel good. Who are these many people that you are referring to? And your last statement makes no sense and transsexuals do contradict the others because all of you fall under the same blanket LGBT. One for all and all for one right? So they feel nature made a mistake and the others don’t says a lot about how unified the thinking is the entire group. I predict soon it will be dropped to LGB. Also by your last statement are you implying that nature is imperfect. Why can’t you just admit people are imperfect and until we reel ourselves back in with these over indulgences in everything we do, we will morally bankrupt this nation and eventually this world. There are boundaries to everything including sex. This is one of the many reasons why Rome fell. Read about the decline of Rome and see how similar it is to the way America is now.

  • jay2drummer

    The APA, the AMA, and various other psychological and medical institutions are the people I’m referring to, and they have these things called “studies” and “evidence” to back them up. ” There are boundaries to everything including sex.” And the only Constitutional restriction on it in the US are consent laws. Anything else violates the Constitution, as stated clearly in the ruling for Lawrence v. Texas.

    Of course people are imperfect. That does make homosexuality, bisexuality, or transsexuality are flaws.

    “And your last statement makes no sense and transsexuals do contradict the others because all of you fall under the same blanket LGBT.” No, again, there is no contradiction, though I am running out of ways to explain this. The first 3 refer to the sex you are attracted to. They refer to the sex you find attractive in other people. The last one refers to the gender you believe YOU are, and has no relation to the sex you re attracted to.

  • jay2drummer

    But men rape women outside of prison all the time. Rape in prison and rape outside of prison are the exact same thing (the possible exception being date rape, which actually is about physical attraction, and is only rape because intoxication makes one unable to give legal consent). Rape in prison is not about sexual urges. It’s about, as I already stated, humiliating a person and asserting power over them. That IS the purpose, not a by-product, of rape.