Sex talk 121
Three Ways Redefining marriage Will Burden Religious Liberty Redefining marriage will create or amplify at least three types of burdens for religious individuals and institutions that continue to believe marriage is an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman.
Like the high court in Massachusetts five years earlier, the Connecticut and California courts removed the fundamental social issue of how to define marriage from the democratic process and imposed same-sex marriage by judicial fiat. Observers have noted the potential nationwide significance of decisions like these. Because neither California nor Connecticut imposes a residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license, and because Massachusetts lawmakers recently repealed the residency requirement in place when judges redefined marriage in that state, same-sex couples may travel to any of these three states, get married, and return home to argue that their states must recognize their same-sex union as marriage under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, which requires each state to recognize the public acts, records, and judicial rulings of other states. The Full Faith and Credit Clause also permits Congress to prescribe the effect of such acts, records and proceedings. Acting under that authority, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the defense of marriage Act (DOMA), which clarifies that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state. Thus, DOMA prevents one state's same-sex marriage decision from being legally imposed on another state in the way described above.
Specifically, in a society that redefines marriage to include same-sex unions, those who continue to believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman can expect to face three types of burdens.
First, institutions that support the traditional understanding of marriage may be denied access to several types of government benefits, and individuals who work in the public sector may face censorship, disciplinary action, and even loss of employment.
In some cases, for example, the state might condition the granting of government benefits -- including government contracts, government financial assistance, access to public facilities, and tax exemptions -- on recipients renouncing support for limiting marriage to relationships between men and women.
In other cases the state might censor the views of public employees who openly support limiting marriage to male-female couples, require instruction about same-sex unions in public schools, and use the bully pulpit to condemn individuals and groups that express views at odds with "official" doctrines of the state.