The idea of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that these documents protect the rights of all Americans. Theoretically no person or group has more or less rights than any other person or group. However, some recent decisions by courts and lawmakers have put the idea of protecting the rights of all Americans in danger. Britain is learning a lesson that I fear America will soon be learning.
On Saturday, the International Business Times reported the story of Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow. In 1999, these two men were the first gay couple to be named as parents on a British birth certificate when they adopted a baby. The men entered a civil partnership in 2006. Now they are ready for the next step.
The article reports:
Now the pair, who entered a civil partnership in 2006, are planning to take another pivotal step forward for gay rights in the UK, after running out of options in their attempts to get married in church.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said: “I want to go into my church and marry my husband.
“The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the Church.”
So why am I bringing this up? If a church believes what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, doesn’t the Pastor have the right to refuse to perform gay weddings based on his right to practice his religion? The only way to avoid this dilemma is to put marriage under the jurisdiction of civil law and let church weddings be a private church issue. If a church chooses to perform a gay wedding, they should be free to do so, but it is wrong to use the law to coerce a Pastor to do something that is against a fundamental belief.
Civil unions for everyone is one way to protect everyone’s rights on the issue of gay marriage. We need to protect the rights of Americans to practice their religion.