October Editorial Winner

Congratulating the newlyweds

Ted Streuli, The Journal Record

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it would not hear any of the five same-sex marriage cases on appeal from lower courts. That means the decisions in those cases will stand.
The five cases, including Oklahoma’s, stand in favor of same-sex marriage. More accurately, they stand in favor of equal treatment under the law.
To many people, marriage is a religious union, and members of certain Christian denominations are particularly affronted by the judicial position.
Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, on Monday issued a written statement condemning the court’s decision.
“It is truly a shame that the courts of the land have gone against God’s word, thousands of years of tradition pertaining to the meaning of marriage, as well as the will of the people in this state and others,” he wrote.
Many have quoted Leviticus 18 denouncing male homosexuality, but Leviticus 20 is cited less often. That’s where God tells Moses that homosexuality should incur the death penalty, as should adultery and cursing your parents. Society has wisely reconsidered its adherence to most of those Old Testament decrees.
As a secular institution – one is not required to be Jewish or Christian in order to marry, after all – marriage must be regulated by the laws of the land rather than religious doctrine. The freedom of religion the Founding Fathers insisted upon was more a freedom from religion, assuring there would be no state churches, a significant sticking point among Baptists and Presbyterians of the day who feared state-sponsored Anglican and Congregationalist sects.
Christians and Jews whose denominations follow the laws found in Leviticus are free to ban their clergy from joining same-sex couples in holy matrimony. But they are not free to impose those restrictions on judges or other lawful wedding officiants.
Equal protection under the law, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, imagined that blacks would have the same rights as whites following the Civil Rights Act of 1866. We later considered that women should have the same rights as men, and now, finally, that people of all sexual orientations should be treated equally, too.
It means that Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin should be treated like all other Oklahomans.
Those two were brave enough to help change the law, which we admire. Today, we offer them our heartfelt congratulations – not as pioneers, but as newlyweds.

 

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