Freedom to Worship, Not Freedom to Shun: Accommodating Pluralism in American Public Life
It was disappointing, if not truly surprising, that the World Day of Peace message with which Pope Benedict XVI welcomed this new year warns, among other things, that those who would treat loving same-sex couples and their families equally under civil law are “harm[ing] and help[ing] to destabilize marriage.” That isn’t a new claim. It still echoes in nearly every marriage equality case, even as the social, scientific, and legal records ever-more-thoroughly show it is baseless. Then the Day of Peace message adds a more sharply cutting charge—that civil marriage equality “constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.” I scan the international headlines. There are wars raging and constant, and horrifying assaults on justice. But lesbian and gay couples in love and building families are nowhere the cause.
Change is coming, with nine states and the District of Columbia now respecting same-sex couples’ freedom to marry and well over 100,000 same-sex couples identifying as married. Voters rejected antigay discrimination in all four of the state ballot contests concerning marriage this past November; in Maine, Maryland and Washington, voters opened marriage by approving past legislative action doing so. As we begin 2013, plans for marriage equality bills are underway in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota and Rhode Island.
Read the full blog by Jennifer C. Pizer here.
Jennifer C. Pizer is Senior Counsel and Law and Policy Project Director for Lambda Legal.