Frank Bruni in yesterday’s New York Times:
I’ve been called many unpleasant things in my life, and I’ve deserved no small number of them. But I chafe at this latest label:
A threat to your religious liberty.
I don’t mean me alone. I mean me and my evidently menacing kind: men who have romantic relationships with other men and maybe want to marry them, and women in analogous situations. According to many of the Americans who still cast judgment on us, our “I do” somehow tramples you, not merely running counter to your creed but running roughshod over it.
That’s absurd. And the deference that many politicians show to such thinking is an example not of religion getting the protection it must but of religious people getting a pass that isn’t warranted. It’s an illustration of religion’s favored status in a country that’s still working out this separation-of-church-and-state business and hasn’t yet gotten it quite right.
We’re at an interesting crossroads, brought about by the rapid advance of same-sex marriage. It’s now legal in 36 states, including, as of last week, Florida. Equality is increasingly being enshrined into law, and one response from those opposed to it is that the law shouldn’t apply to them.
Why? Because it contradicts their religious beliefs, which they use as a fig leaf for intolerance.
Fifty years ago the opponents of civil rights and integration asserted that “states’ rights” affirmed their belief that discrimination should stand. Today “religious liberty” bears the same burden, and it fails to carry the weight.