United Church Of Christ Is Going To Make Everyone In North Carolina Get Gay Married

There are about 70 challenges to anti-gay marriage laws making their way through the nation's courts right now, thanks to the gays wanting to wreck marriages in every state. However, this latest challenge, a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's Amendment One, a nice little piece of mob rule ballot initiative legislating that says that the state cannot legally recognize any marriage that is not between a man and a woman, is definitely a current favorite. Why? because it is totally a "give the religious zealots a taste of their own medicine" kinda thing.

In a novel legal attack on a state’s same-sex marriage ban, a liberal Protestant [the United Church of Christ] denomination on Monday filed a lawsuit arguing that North Carolina is unconstitutionally restricting religious freedom by barring clergy members from blessing gay and lesbian couples.

Say it with us: YASSSSSSSSS. About goddamn time that someone reminded Catholics and evangelicals and all their follow travelers that religious freedom is a mighty sword that cuts both ways, and if you're going to declare that your skygod prohibits you from even touching or thinking about birth control and you want the courts to buy that argument, they're also going to have to seriously consider a challenge by those hippies over at the UCC alleging that anti-gay laws restrict their religious freedoms to love love love the gays.

Let's go to the actual complaint so that we can roll around in the delicious lawsplaining words of this legal challenge, shall we?

The UCC argument starts with the fact that in North Carolina, if you perform a marriage ceremony of any sort without a license, it's illegal. So far so bad. However, UCC Church laws allow same-sex marriage and even use the exact same religious language in the ceremony. So, they're compelled by their religious beliefs to marry the gays together forever, but they are not allowed to do so by the state and face possible criminal sanctions if they do so. Ipso facto also too QED they are being oppressed and cannot freely exercise their religion by marrying all the gays. BOOM THERE IT IS.

The UCC doesn't stop there. A big chunk of the complaint is devoted to pointing out that North Carolina's "no gays, no marriage, no nothing, no ever" law was explicitly founded on the premise of a set of religious beliefs rather than any secular rationalization.

Many of the justifications offered by public officials in support of Amendment One and the other Marriage Laws and prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying have been based on a particular religious view regarding marriage and a desire to denigrate same-sex relationships and demean same-sex couples. Statements in support of Amendment One included the following:

a. State Senator James Forrester: “The Lord intended for a family to have one man and one woman.”

b. House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam: “‘In countries around the world where they have legitimized same-sex marriage, marriage itself is de-legitimized,’ Stam said. ‘About a fourth of the world allows polygamy. Polygamy would be next.’”

c. State Senator James Forrester: “We need to reach out to them and get them to change their lifestyle back to the one we accept”; “[The City of Asheville, North Carolina is] a cesspool of sin.”

d. State Senator Wesley Meredith: “‘We need to regulate marriage because I believe that marriage is between a man and woman,’ [State Senator Wesley Meredith] said. Meredith said the Bible provides the basis that marriage should be limited to a relationship between a man and a woman.”

Those are all pretty goddamn religious things, aren't they? And what is good for the evangelical goose is good for the UCC gander, so the state is hopefully going to be hard-pressed to argue this unless they come right out and say "religious freedom for me, but not for thee," which is exactly what the narrow-minded people behind North Carolina's monstrosity believe. Here's Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, being the very saddest and maddest of all.

“It’s both ironic and sad that an entire religious denomination and its clergy who purport holding to Christian teachings on marriage would look to the courts to justify their errant beliefs,” Ms. Fitzgerald said in a statement. “These individuals are simply revisionists that distort the teaching of Scripture to justify sexual revolution, not marital sanctity.”

Urm, lady, somewhere some conservative lawyer that is going to represent your amicus filing in this case is waving her hands at you and yelling at you to PLEASE STOP TALKING because this statement is actually a textbook piece of hate admitting the problems with the law. Fitzgerald's thesis boils down to "you say the Bible says this, but we know that the Bible says this, and our skygod interpretation is correct so you lose." That is not religious freedom transcendence!!

State laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are falling like dominos and oh oh oh do we hope North Carolina is next, because once a court buys this religious freedom argument, it is ON.

[NYT/UCC Complaint]


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