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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM)


Different views on SSM and marriage equality:
Contrasting the beliefs of conservatives & liberals;
Republicans and Democrats.

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"LGBT" is an acronym referring to the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.

"SSM" is an acronym referring to marriage by same-sex couples.

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2014-JAN: Different views on key moral and ethical topics:

In the United States during the 2010's, the two most intense conflicts with a legal, sexual, moral, and religious content appear to be:

  • Whether women should have access to abortion and

  • Whether lesbians, gays and bisexuals should be free to marry the person of the same sex that they love and to whom they want to commit a lifetime of support.

This essay deals with the latter topic. It appears to be the more active of the two conflicts at this time -- at least in terms of the number of active court cases.

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A problem in communication:

It is part of human nature for individuals to want to read articles in the media, watch TV programs, and listen to radio programs that agree with their own opinions and beliefs. So religious, social and political conservatives tend to seek out, read and watch conservative programming like Fox-TV and the Patriot Channel 125 on Sirius Radio. Religious, social and political liberals tend to seek out, read and watch liberal programming like that provided by MSNBC and the Progress Channel 127 on Sirius Radio.

Unfortunately, these news sources tend to be highly biased. Sometimes they distort reality by omitting parts of the story while emphasizing others. But they almost guarantee that the consumer will not receive a full and balanced picture.

This is particular troublesome in the field of religion. Often religious TV programs, radio programs, internet web sites, etc. will promote their personal beliefs, the beliefs of their faith group, and the beliefs of their religion as the only ones that are valid. They may present other religions as inspired by Satan and from the pit of Hell. They may present other faith groups within their religion as misguided, confused, and spreading error.

As of 2014-JAN-28, a Google search for "God" finds 372 million hits. "Religion" returned 218 million. That must mean that an enormous number of religious web sites are accessible on the Internet. Almost all such web sites appear to promote only the beliefs of the webmaster or sponsoring group. The web site that you are looking at now is one of a small handful of web sites that tries to explain all sides of each topic and therefore present a balanced picture of reality.

There are few topics over which there are more dramatically opposing topics than marriage -- specifically which couples should governments allow to marry. In some countries, a same-sex couple getting married is typically a joyous and exciting occasion for families and friends to celebrate as two people who are very much in love commit themselves to live and support each other "till death do them part." In other areas of the world, typically in some conservative predominately Muslin countries, a same-sex marriage is a death-defying feat, because when a person openly admits that they are a sexually active lesbian, gay or bisexual, they can be arrested, tried. found guilty, and executed. Fortunately nowhere in North America -- this web site's main catchment area -- can members of the LGBT community be tried for a capital crime for merely being what they are.

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Current status of marriage for same-sex couples in North America:

Canada legalized same-sex marriages across all ten provinces and three territories in 2005-JUN. Same-sex marriage has now become largely a non-issue. It is rarely mentioned in the media, and is generally accepted as part of the Canadian culture.

In the United States, as of 2014-FEB, loving, committed same-sex couples can freely marry in 17 states and in the District of Columbia, which together contain about 40% of the American population. In addition, four federal District Court judges have recently ruled in favor of legalizing marriage in four very conservative states: Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Still another District Court judge has ruled that Kentucky must recognize marriages by same-sex couples solemnized out-of-state; he is about to rule whether Kentucky must allow same-sex couples to marry within the state.. However, these court rulings have been stayed, pending the result of appeals to various US. Circuit Court of Appeals. Over a dozen lawsuits attempting to legalize SSM are active in many of the remaining 31 states.

Beliefs about SSM differ greatly between:

  • Political, religious, and social conservatives who tend to be opposed to marriage equality, largely on religious grounds, and

  • Political, religious, and social liberals who tend to favor marriage equality as a fundamental human right.

As one might expect, many Republicans and Democrats also hold opposing views as well.

The disagreements extend beyond SSM itself to include:

  • People's basic understandings of the political structure of the United States, and

  • The roles that the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitutions have in deciding which restrictions on marriage are permissible, and

  • Whether Attorneys General in states are automatically expected or required to support their state's constitution and marriage laws, even if the latter violate the U.S. Constitution.
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Conflicts examined in this section:

  • Background and overview: Who defines marriage? What criteria are used? The U.S. Constitution & Congress in conflict. Conservatives vs. Liberals in conflict.

  • Part A:
    • Question 1: Who defines which couples are eligible to marry -- the federal or state governments?
      Answer 1:
      Since mid-2013, here has been a general agreement that defining who is eligible to marry is a state responsibility.

    • Question 2: Can states define marriage in any way that the majority of their population wishes?
      Answer 2: Opinions differ.

  • Part B:
    • Question 3: Must a state's Attorney General always support their state's constitution?
      Answer 3: Opinions differ.

  • Part C:
    • Question 4: Comparing opposing beliefs about SSM among Christian and secular groups.
      Answer 4: Opinions really differ!

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Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-JAN-29
Latest update: 2014-JUL-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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