Thursday, May 15, 2008

California joins Massachusetts

Andrew Sullivan astutely points out that the ruling in California today is not judicial activism, as the religious right will no doubt spin it. Far from ramming this ruling past the legislature, the California legislature has already voted in favor of full marriage rights for gay couples twice. All the court has done is refuse to buy into the "civil unions" rationale, which says, "Gay couples can have all the legal benefits of marriage but let's stop short of actually calling it marriage." Instead, they have chosen to do what is legally fair.

As I have said many times before, when it comes to the civil arena the only justification I can see for stopping short of calling such unions "marriage" is bigotry. We do not live in a theocracy. As a society we do not require that our government withhold the title of "marriage" from all couples whose marriages do not conform to biblical standards (logically, that would include a lot of marriages). You cannot withhold the label "marriage" from gay couples seeking legal recognition of their unions by appealing to a Christian definition of marriage, unless of course you want to start by attacking the Buddhist married couple down the street. You have to find some other excuse. And speaking for myself, I've been hard pressed to find one over the past eight years of studying this issue.

If you're a Christian, look on the bright side. For years we've pounded on gays, condemning their "lifestyle." Well, there is no better remedy for a sexually promiscuous and irresponsible lifestyle than entering into a marriage union, where your gay spouse would be much more effective in keeping you on the straight and narrow than a Focus On the Family broadcast. Let's prove that Christians can be smart, consistent and fair-minded by at least giving a nod of approval in that direction.