The 1st amendment part 1Posted Monday, September 5, 2011, at 10:29 PM
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
The 1st amendment is broken into 4 sections as can be seen above. This blog is about the 1st section. It is also referred to as Freedom of Religion. There can be no freedom of religion without the freedom from religion. The 2 are tied together. As I read it, the forefathers saw the need to keep religion out of the relationship between the people and the federal government. At the moment this concept is under assault, lead by those who seek to impose their religious views on others. They seek to invalidate certain actions of churches such as the Episcopalian church, which is in clear violation of the free exercise clause. Of course this isn't the first time the free exercise clause has been tossed under the bus. Prior to the territory of Utah becoming a state, it was required to ban the practice of polygamy, which was a practice of the LDS.
All churches are allowed by rule of law to perform marriages between consenting adults, or between a minor and a consenting adult, with parental consent and subject to certain age restrictions. This appears to be questionable under the 1st amendment.
I'm sure by now most of you know where this is going. Certain sects of the Episcopalian Church, as well as other major denominations have chosen to perform same sex marriages. That is their right.
This where things get sticky. If marriage is both a religious ceremony as well as a legal civil contract, then the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as all state constitutional amendments and laws banning same sex marriages, are unconstitutional under the 1st amendment. If marriage is a religious ceremony that bestows legal privileges, then it is both a religious ceremony as well as a civil contract. Civil contracts that discriminate based on gender have been held to be unconstitutional.
If 2 consenting adults of legal age join in a civil contract via a ceremony performed by a Judge or other designated civil servant, is it still a marriage? If not, then what is it?
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Almost 65 and retired. Raised by an East Coast liberal. I am also a child of the sixties.
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