Letter: Religious freedom

143

To the author of “Prop 8” (1/9): The legal effort to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman is not an issue of civil rights. It’s an issue of religious rights. Prop 8 did not prohibit people from engaging in homosexual behavior nor from living together. It simply constructed a narrow definition of the word “marriage.”

Marriage is an essentially religious institution: if non-religious people want to live together, they are able to have a “civil union” (an option still open to gay couples under Prop 8). Marriage is a legal or “civil” union coupled with a deep religious commitment. Prop 8 was simply protecting the religious definition of marriage. Without this assurance, churches are subject to legal retribution for “discrimination” if they refuse — on the basis of morality — to legitimize or perform services for a homosexual marriage (lawsuits related to homosexuality and churches have already occurred). Allowing gay “marriage” is essentially an attack on the freedom of religious institutions to set standards of right and wrong. The recent ruling overturning Prop 8 wasn’t an affirmation of constitutional civil rights: it was an attack on the religious rights found in the first amendment.

MICHAEL MURDOCK
Marana, Ariz.

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