It would certainly give greater unity to his previously nuanced stance on gay issues. On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama struggled to convey a stance supportive of pro-gay rights while he officially opposed same-sex marriage, citing religious reservations.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the majority of Americans are in favor of homosexual matrimony, while in the staunchly “blue” state of Maryland gay marriage faces a fair amount of opposition, largely from Christian congregations.
For those Marylanders who view marriage as God’s sacred institution, here is some food for thought. The early Christian church held marriage in no high regard; Paul considered it an acceptable alternative to fornication, but favored a single, celibate lifestyle. Marriage wasn’t even a sacrament in the Christian church until the 12th century.
I would also like to point out that, in this country, marriage is and has been primarily a civil contract. It’s no uncommon thing to be married outside of the church, by a justice of the peace. Certainly these same churches that oppose gay marriage are not up in arms about secular marriages in general. The legalization of gay marriage would not impinge on the rights of churches. No church would be forced to sanction a same-sex union.
Here’s hoping that recent worries about the economy don’t put an important civil rights issue like marriage equality on the political back burner in 2012, the way it has the issue of unlawful detention and torture at Guantanamo Bay.
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