The Real Threat to Religious Liberty
America is not Iran. Our civil law is not supposed to track religious law. – Eric Isaacson
Wednesday, a group of faith-based organizations (listed below) submitted an amicus brief in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case. The brief, written by our wonderful attorney, Eric Isaacson, cites the sobering reality of religiously based homophobia and makes the case that Proposition 8 was used to place anti-gay religious doctrine into our shared civil law – posing a real threat to religious liberty.
I and other clergy represented by faiths on this brief were among those who joyously married same-sex couples when it finally became legal to do so – couples that had waited for decades. We were stunned to hear those supporting Proposition 8 claim that legal marriage for same-sex couples threatened their religious freedom. Now that was a twist of logic!
As explained in the brief:
Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry threatens religious liberty of Catholics no more than does allowing civilly divorced citizens to marry in contravention of Catholic doctrine.
Allowing same-sex couples to marry no more threatens the religious liberty of those who oppose such unions in their churches and synagogues than permitting interfaith marriage threatens religious liberty of synagogues and rabbis who interpret their scripture and tradition to prohibit such unions….
The real threat to religious liberty comes from enforcing as law religious doctrines of society’s most powerful sects, to outlaw marriages that others both recognize and sanctify.
Back in 1948, when the ban on interracial marriage was challenged in California (Perez v. Sharp) the CA Supreme Court decided that the law which outlawed the marriage between these two Catholics of different races should be struck down because the couple’s right to marry “is protected by the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.”
Surely, Unitarian Universalists, members of the United Church of Christ and the Metropolitan Community Churches, Reform Jews, Reconstructionist Jews, and others whose faith traditions bless marital unions without regard to the contracting parties’ race or sex, are entitled to the same religious liberty as the Catholics. Proposition 8 deprives them of that liberty.
To read the full Interfaith Amicus Brief in Perry V. Schwarzenegger click here.
The interfaith amicus brief was signed by the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, CA and the UULM Action Network, CA; CA Faith for Equality; CA Council of Churches and Church IMPACT; Progressive Jewish Alliance; General Synod of the United Church of Christ and both its Southern & Northern CA Nevada Conferences; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches; and the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis.
This blog originally appeared on the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker.