Churches should determine marriage rules

According to a local pastor, the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Southern California last week was not just one of those typical seismic events that take place with some regularity in these parts. It was “(a)nother queer quake trying to get California’s attention.”

Apparently, the Lord is mad about the legalization of gay marriage in this state. He can’t be that mad, given that the quake didn’t cause any death or much destruction, but the pastor offers a warning: “We had better listen. 5.4 this time what is next!?”

It’s not fair to depict such crude opposition to gay marriage as typical of that found in the conservative evangelical communities but, ultimately, most opponents of gay marriage rely on religious judgment to justify their position.

Foes of gay marriage are backing a November initiative, Proposition 8, that would insert these words in the state constitution: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.”

The pro-Prop.-8 Web site argues that the court’s ruling “has far-reaching consequences”: “Schools will now be required to teach students that gay marriage is the same as traditional marriage, starting with kindergarteners. By saying that a marriage is between ‘any two persons’ rather than between a man and a woman, the court decision has opened the door to any kind of ‘marriage.’ This undermines the value of marriage altogether at a time when we should be restoring marriage, not undermining it.”

Those hardly sound like far-reaching problems that demand a constitutional change. The public schools already teach a great deal of buncombe, and few kids are likely to be permanently scarred by anything new they will be taught.

What other kind of marriages will be allowed? Polygamy is bizarre, but already takes place and there’s no reason for the state to be involved in banning that (except when children are being married off). I doubt there will soon be any rush of people wanting to get involved in anything more unusual than that.

Furthermore, I don’t see how state sanction in any way restores or undermines marriage.

The relationship between, say, two gay men who might live next door has no impact whatsoever on my marriage, my family, my relationships. I believe marriage to be a sacrament — but it’s not my place to impose my religious views on others.

I’m from the “it’s none of my business” school of thought when it comes to the relationships other adults choose to engage in. If, for instance, my priest announced he would be holding gay marriages, then I’d have something to say about it. But I don’t care what the state allows.