Calling the California high court’s decision justified, the Orange County Register, probably the state’s largest conservative newspaper, in its lead editorial on Sunday (June 22,2008), succinctly and articulately endorsed gay marriage. Money quote:
Our preference would be for the government not to be involved in marriage, the most fundamental of institutions in a civil society. Why two people who want to be married should be required to get a license from the state is something of a mystery. Marriage existed long before the California or U.S. governments came into being and will continue long after they have been consigned to history. Whether a marriage is valid should be up to the people involved and the churches, synagogues, mosques or other religious institutions that choose to perform them or not.
As a practical matter, however, the government has so entwined itself into our daily lives that state recognition is important. Filing taxes as a married couple or as individuals makes a difference, as does the ability to own real estate, make end-of-life decisions or adopt children. Considering all this and the importance of equality before the law, the high court’s decision was justified.
It is argued that allowing same-sex marriage will infringe on the religious freedom of people who have a religiously based objection to it. It is hard to see the validity. Church and state are correctly separate in this country, and the fact that the state recognizes a union as a marriage doesn’t mean that a religious person or institution has to recognize it or approve of it. It’s hard to imagine a minister, rabbi or imam who objects to same-sex marriages being forced to perform one, and we would be the first to object if anybody tried it.
We’ll see what the mood of the California electorate is in November, when citizens will vote on whether to add language to the California constitution once again banning gay marriage in the state, but right now things are looking pretty good for the equal treatment of gays under the law. To read the full editorial, here’s the link: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/marriage-state-sex-2073700-marriages-people