Gay marriage separate from religion

 

With the Supreme Court’s historic rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8, as well as the generational shift on civil marriage equality, it is clear that same-sex marriage will one day be a reality in Florida and the rest of the nation. It’s just a question of time.

Until then, religious justifications and definitions of marriage will continue to be used in opposition to civil same-sex marriage. Less than 50 years ago, similar religious and moral justifications for prohibiting civil interracial marriage were rejected because marriage equality is not a religious issue.

The 1967 Loving decision on interracial marriage, the civil marriage equality laws that exist in 13 states and last week’s Supreme Court rulings do not attempt to compel religious groups to change their definitions of marriage. Before the high court’s rulings, many religious groups already supported same-sex marriage, and no court order was needed for them to do so.

To preserve religious liberty in America, no civil law, including marriage, should be defined by religious law. The Founding Fathers wisely understood the dangers of basing civil law on religion. They separated government and religion in the First Amendment. Ultimately, the Constitution’s requirement for equal protection, regardless of minority status or moral rejection, will result in civil marriage equality for all.

Hava Holzhauer, Florida regional director, Anti-Defamation League, Boca Raton

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