Opening hearts and minds to same-sex marriage

Updated
Let me finish tonight with that ruling in California this week on same-sex marriage. I am reasonably confident that years from now this ruling will be viewed as anything but exceptional. I say that because young people, meaning young adults, don’t see it really as an issue. Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled this is a matter of liberty as guaranteed by the American constitution. The 14th Amendment says that a U.S. citizen cannot be denied “life, liberty or property” without due process of law, that citizens are entitled to “equal protection of the laws.” So there you have it. Are people or are they “not” at liberty to marry someone of the same sex? Does the constitutional protection of “liberty” include the right to choose your marital partner? Do people of the same sex have the right to “equal protection of the laws”? The Supreme Court will end up deciding this matter. If the case follows the thinking of the Lawrence case, which declared sodomy laws unconstitutional, we can expect to see an affirmative, or certainly, a close decision whether to uphold this district court decision. I know that the President opposes same-sex marriage. I know that many Americans of good character do as well. Let’s face it, this is new territory for many people, to new territory in which to make a judgment. What would be good for the country is to judge this matter wisely, fairly and with a strong degree of compassion. That would be wonderful. Perhaps it will take a few more years to make such a dramatic move as to declare a person’s right to a same sex marriage. What I’m for is for everyone who can to look at this with a fresh perspective. It is, like so many questions, not as much a matter of morality or religion as we may think at first. It’s a matter not for the church or synagogue as for the law. My church opposed divorce but acknowledges, I believe, the existence of laws that permit it. Maybe this is not a matter to be decided in the heat of an election campaign. Maybe this is not the stuff of TV debates and thirty-second ads and bumper stickers. Maybe – and let’s just say it is here – it isn’t a matter for loud voices, but for the mind and for the heart and for the best judgment of what America, this exceptional place, really means; this country founded, perhaps uniquely not just on “life” and “liberty” but, yes, on the “pursuit of happiness.”

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Opening hearts and minds to same-sex marriage

Updated