Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Sex, Social Authority, Gay Marriage and Liberty

with 3 comments

my latest post over at LadyBlog.

An interesting tangential conversation has broken out in the comments concerning this NPR article on the legal conflicts between gay rights and religious liberties. I’ve formulated about six responses to this article in the past 20 minutes, but as soon as I start to be sure about one thing, I consider it for half a second and begin to think the exact opposite. Love for anyone who reads the article to give me their thoughts …


Written by Elizabeth

October 22, 2008 at 1:34 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I am a Christian, so I’m not a disinterested observer. I think this quote is on point:

    “It’s a very different situation when we’re talking about promoting a message,” Lorence says. “When it’s ‘We want to punish you for not helping us promote our message that same-sex marriage is OK,’ that for me is a very different deal. It’s compelled speech. You’re using the arm of the government for punishing people for disagreeing with you.”

    I do think the only way to get out of this is to somehow split the ideas of marriage-as-legal-institution and marriage-as-religious-institution. How can this be done, really? I’ve absolutely no idea.

    William Randolph

    October 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

  2. I agree that the best way around this is to entirely separate legal marriage from religious matrimony. But I don’t see John and Jane Doe going down to City Hall to get ‘civil unioned’ any time soon.

    I haven’t read the comments at the original post, but in your last paragraph, you wrote,
    “But allowing gay unions would not affect anyone’s ability to condemn them, or to forbid them in their church, or rail against them as unholy harbingers of end times, or whatever else they want to do. All that is lost is their right to tell others not to do something, and to expect the coercive power of government to enforce it.” I think that speaks to the socially conservative sense of heteronormitive privilege Sure, legalizing gay marriage doesn’t prohibit you from criticizing it, but in their eyes, critics think they have the right that the government enforce their worldview.


    October 22, 2008 at 6:58 pm

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    March 7, 2009 at 11:17 pm

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