Sunday, February 22, 2009
SSM opponent David Blankenhorn and SSM supporter Jonathan Rauch have co-authored a New York Times op-ed laying out a culture war "compromise." They propose::
Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill.
So the federal government would support, not supplant, states' decisions on marriage and civil unions. For someone (like me) who believes that the legal treatment of same-sex relationships should remain a state-level responsibility, who believes that the law will (and should) do more to support long-term, committed relationships among gays and lesbians, and who is concerned that the rhetoric of "marriage equality" has shown a tendency to minimize the importance of religious liberty (especially institutional religious liberty), what's not to like about this proposal?