The Times this weekend featured an op-ed piece co-written by David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values and the author of “The Future of Marriage,” and Jonathan Rauch, guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and the author of “Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights and Good for America.”
These two opposites got together to agree that federal civil unions need to be a short-term compromise for gay marriage, provided that there are sufficient clauses protecting churches and their affiliate organizations (hospitals, day cares, etc.) from discrimination law suits if they don’t recognize gay unions:
Further sharpening the conflict is the potential interaction of same-sex marriage with antidiscrimination laws. The First Amendment may make it unlikely that a church, say, would ever be coerced by law into performing same-sex wedding rites in its sanctuary. But religious organizations are also involved in many activities outside the sanctuary. What if a church auxiliary or charity is told it must grant spousal benefits to a secretary who marries her same-sex partner or else face legal penalties for discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status? What if a faith-based nonprofit is told it will lose its tax-exempt status if it refuses to allow a same-sex wedding on its property?
For better or for worse, cases like this are already popping up, drawing parallels to Catholic hospitals’ right to abstain from performing abortions.
While I generally prefer marriage to civil unions, I think any pro-gay legislation on the federal level would be welcomed by most, since even if you’re fully gay married in your state, you’re still denied tons of federal-level privileges reserved for married people.
Read the full article here.