Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2014

Currently: 91° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Marriage is for churches to decide

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

Why is the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage?

There were two columns in the Sun recently on homosexual marriage. One was about the court taking a cowardly approach, and the other was about letting the states decide. Homosexual marriage should not be an issue. Marriage is not the problem. The problem is a financial issue.

We keep hearing about separation of church and state but only when it is about keeping the church separate from the state. When the state wants to interfere with the church, it is forgotten.

An issue like redefining marriage is actually the state interfering in church matters.

Marriage is a religious institution. In fact, before 1837, only the church performed marriages. If you feel that homosexuals are being deprived by government agencies, then change those laws by using a partnership agreement or something.

By changing the laws, homosexuals could have all the benefits of married couples.

You cannot pray in schools because of separation of church and state, but the state can define a religious institution like marriage. What hypocrisy. You do not have to interfere with a religious institution and redefine marriage to give homosexuals equal financial benefits.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 17 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The truth is that marriage is social, legal and religious. If some churches wish to refuse to hold marriage ceremonies for same sex couples, they should be allowed to do that. They are private institutions. However if same sex couples wish to get married, in a church, if they can find one that will perform a marriage ceremony, or in another venue, they should be allowed to marry and have the same recognition and rights as any other married couple.

    Michael

  2. The truth of the matter is that once the State legally recognizes the marriage, it makes no difference what the Church thinks and believes. The State's position is the law, not the Church's position.

    Carmine D

  3. Marriage may be a religious institution when blessed by a religious ceremony but has no secular validity unless licensed and recorded by the State. And what of the many who choose not to participate in organized religion? Are they to be denied marriage whether homosexual or heterosexual?

    It's a false premise or implication that marriage is exclusively a religious institution.

  4. "Why is the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage? . . . . .Marriage is a religious institution. . .If you feel that homosexuals are being deprived by government agencies, then change those laws by using a partnership agreement or something. By changing the laws, homosexuals could have all the benefits of married couples."

    Jones -- so much ignorance in your letter. The real question may be why do you religious types have such a problem with the concept of equal rights?

    "The truth is that marriage is social, legal and religious."

    wtplv -- actually it's whatever the partners want it to be. It's only government involvement making it complicated.

    " The State's position is the law, not the Church's position."

    CarmineD -- well said!

    "It's a false premise or implication that marriage is exclusively a religious institution."

    pisces -- glad to see this from you. I smell fear from the churches!

    "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion." -- Arthur C. Clarke, 1999, from "God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke" in Free Inquiry magazine

  5. I think it's a church's job to decide what marriage means to that church. It is not a church's job to decide who qualifies for the 1200 marital rights under federal law, and who doesn't.

    Personally, I don't believe in your imaginary friend. I've ready your 2000ish year old book of lore, and while I think it has a lot of interesting stories in it, I could care less how you interpret a few verses of it. It certainly doesn't give any church the right to deny others the freedom to live the way they want to live. The United States of America is not now, nor has it every been a theocracy.

  6. "I think it's a church's job to decide what marriage means to that church. It is not a church's job to decide who qualifies for the 1200 marital rights under federal law. . ."

    VegasEngineer -- excellent post!

    "After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888 "Ecce Homo - Why I Am a Destiny"

  7. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    The author asked, "Why is the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage?" He also comments that marriages are a church function. Does that mean only Christians are truly married? As far as the SCOTUS, marriage is a right of freedom. Very much the same as over turning the ban of interracials marriages or what religion one can practice.

  8. "As far as the SCOTUS, marriage is a right of freedom. Very much the same as over turning the ban of interracials marriages or what religion one can practice."

    VernosB -- here's support for your post

    "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. . .To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State." -- Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967)

  9. Author, you think all marriages are religious? Wrong. You can't speak for everyone.

  10. I have said several times now that a large part of the problem comes from the word "marriage" being used for both secular and sectarian purposes. The word should be removed from all government usage.

    The government (at any level) has a legitimate interest in establishing laws for what kind of relationship will be recognized for purposes of tax and other purposes. But there is no need to bring in a word that is burdened with heavy religious baggage.

    Removing the word "marriage" from government usage also makes the issue of equal protection much more clear, as it should be. It should be obvious that all laws regarding domestic unions need to be gender neutral.

    A religious institution or group would still be perfectly free to choose whom they would perform ceremonies for, but it is the act of recording the domestic union with the state that confers legal status upon it.

    One consequence of this would be that it would be perfectly acceptable for a church to allow a group marriage, but the state would recognize only a primary couple for the legal union.

    DOMA is patently un-Constitutional in that it clearly violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. There are NO arguments against same-sex unions at the federal level other than those based on religious dogma.

  11. "The primary purpose of marriage is [to] support procreation and supporting a family unit to properly raise children." - SgtRock

    There are two purposes given here. The first, procreation, simply is not an issue for government concern. Beyond that, there is certainly no need for people to be married in order procreate.

    The second purpose, to promote the family unit for the raising of children, does not require parents of opposite gender.

    The only purpose for marriage, or rather a domestic contract, from the government's view, especially at the federal level, is for defining such issues as tax benefits and property rights. Procreation is CLEARLY not a consideration, especially when one considers a union involving a woman who has already reached menopause.

    The Federal government should simply recognize any domestic contract that any given State sanctions for purposes of federal law. While it can be argued that States have the power to define what domestic contracts are valid, they must be gender neutral or else they run afoul of the Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Clause via the Fourteenth Amendment.

    On the other hand, it would be completely wrong, for the very same reasons, for a government entity to dictate to a religious institution the conditions under which they must or must not perform a marriage ceremony.

    Again, take the word "marriage" out of the law and the true civil rights issue becomes obvious.

  12. ""The primary purpose of marriage is [to] support procreation and supporting a family unit to properly raise children." - SgtRock"

    Perhaps primary but not only. Hypothetical case. Two social security beneficiaries who were married and their spouses died. They fall in love and decide to marry. They already have adult families and don't and won't have children. Shouldn't they be allowed to marry?

    Carmine D

  13. "" The State's position is the law, not the Church's position."

    Carmine D -- well said!"

    Thank you Killer B. And it has the added benefit of being true!

    Carmine D

  14. "I agree, Carmine.

    I also want to note to the author that anyone can pray in schools. Just because you can't make anyone else join in with you praying doesn't mean that you can't pray." Shannon K

    Amen. I do too all the time. Most don't even realize I am. Private daily aspirational prayers. They go right up to the ears of God.

    Carmine D

  15. "If we are too accept that homosexuality is a choice of partnership between two loving consenting adults, then why is polygamy so frowned upon?"

    anchorbine -- excellent point. As a descendant of Mormon polygamists it's one I've made several times in the past.

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac H Tiffany (1819)

  16. Marriage can be decided by churches AFTER you get the GOVERNMENT TO STOP PAYING people to call themselves married--the tax code, inheritance law, family courts.... Really, get the feds out of paying people to say they are married by paying reduced taxes compared to singles. Fix the laws in general by ENDING EXTRA BENEFITS for married people. Then and only then can we consider "marriage" as a religious decision.

  17. Legalizing gay marriages will likely lead [under the equal rights protection law] to legalizing plural marriages.

    Carmine D