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Explain to me seperation of church and state...

If we cannot require the pledge in schools because of the God reference, then how can the state dictate that same sex couples cannot wed because of a religious dictation?

Per the state, a marriage is a legal act, per the church, it's a religious one. So how does state (if seperation exists) say they cannot marry?


Asked by Jademom07 at 11:25 AM on Aug. 13, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (11)
  • The above comments make it obvious that a big reason for this controversy is that the word "marriage" is used for two entirely different things: a sacrament giving God's blessing on a couple's union, and a gov't recognition of an economic/business partnership.

    Again and again, I see the debate flip from the religious context to the legal one and back, with the opponents misunderstanding each other because they are talking about different things. ...

    It's like the Abbot and Costello bit "Who's on first", where Abbot is saying that a Mr. Who is on first base, and Costello is hearing Abbot ASK, "Who? is on first base?"

    Both sides in the marriage debate are correct. All the stuff about religious sacraments is correct, and all the stuff about state's regulations is correct too. Because they are talking about two different things, which are both CALLED marriage.

    We should call the gov't thing a civil union ...

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:43 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • As far as marriage goes, it has been a sacrament in the Catholic Church since the 11th century and has been standard practice of other religions for centuries. These marriages have always been between 2 different sexes. There are many scriptures about marriage and man/woman.

    Marriage has been a property arrangement for thousands of years dating back to the early Mesopotamian societies around 3100 BC. It is not restricted to opposite gender couples, and even among native americans traditionally accepted same gender couples. Marriage pre-dates your bible and your Christian morality. It was never yours to define in the first place.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:56 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Although the phrase "separation of church and state" wasn't used in the Constitution (it was used by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Assoc. in 1802 and by James Madison in his Memorial Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, a letter to Jasper Adams, a 1792 article, and his Detatched Memoranda) the concept is there in the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause dictates secularization of government by prohibiting the govt' from privileging any religion or set of beliefs above others or in other words, from "establishing" a state religion. The Free Exercise Clause bans prohibition of religious exercise.


    Answer by KelleyP77 at 12:09 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • the pledge shouldn't be required, whether the actual or bastardized version (under god), because it is meaningless unless it's taken freely.
    Some schools DO still say it, no court has ruled it can't be said.

    as for Prop 8, that's why it was overturned, because "I don't like it" is no legal basis for the suspension of legal rights.

    Answer by autodidact at 12:39 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Grandma Susan, I'm an atheist and I don't have a civil union certificate, I have a marriage certificate. and there ARE churches who perform weddings for gay couples.

    Answer by autodidact at 12:42 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I'm with you on this one!

    Answer by ToriBabe1221 at 11:30 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • First, there is no such thing as "The Seperation of Church and State" in the constitution. It is:
    Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .

    Some of the first colonists of the nation for which the Constitution was written had been seeking to escape religious persecution.
    It would have been disgraceful for anyone to wish to leave the United States because of religious persecution. So the authors decided it best to keep the government out of religion.

    Marriage is a biblical principle, therefore the government should stay out of it. The government can regulate civial unions, which is the secular terminology for couples who want to make a contract of union with each other.


    Answer by GrammaSusan at 12:01 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • No technically saying they can't marry goes against every thing the constitution stands for. If it was more commonly practices back then I am sure it would already be allowed. The amendment actually protects both the church and the marraige of gays all at ones. Though few are willing to step out side of delusions and realize it.

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 10:31 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I still say grant a legal marriage certificate for one and all, and let the religious ones get a "special" holy matrimony certificate from their church - that way both the legal AND religious aspects are covered and people can have what they want.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:41 AM on Aug. 14, 2010

  • waldorfmom You are missing something here. The name is just the excuse of the week. When ever a compromise is given to fix their weekly issue with same sex marriage they turn around and come up with a new issue. Not to mention the FACT that marriage is as always has been a legal issue as well as word. Then religion adopted it and now are trying to make it theirs. However what they don't realize is when they adopted it, it was called Holy Matrimony not marriage. So in fact they use to have different names until religions decided they wanted to use the name marriage to.

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 10:22 PM on Aug. 14, 2010