Thursday, October 16, 2008

Connecticut decision on (spiritual significance of) Same-Sex Marriage

Richard Just describes the recent Connecticut decision on same-sex marriage for the New Republic. The lengthy legal decision (cited in the article) includes the following paragraph:

Indeed, marriage has been characterized as ‘‘intimate to the degree of being sacred’’; Griswold
v.Connecticut,381U.S.479,486,85S.Ct.1678,14L. Ed.2d510(1965);see also Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 96, 107S.Ct.2254,96 L.Ed.2d64(1987) (‘‘many religions recognize marriage as having spiritual significance’’); and‘‘an institution more basic in our civilization than any other.’’ Williams v. North Carolina,317 U.S.287,303,63S.Ct.207,87 L.Ed.279(1942).

Marriage, therefore, is not merely shorthand for a discrete set of legal rights and responsibilities but is ‘‘one of the most fundamental of human relationships....’’Davis v. Davis, 119 Conn. 194, 203, 175A. 574 (1934).‘‘Marriage...bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family....Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution....’’Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309, 322, 798 N.E.2d941 (2003).

This is a perspective that needs a hearing in our faith communities.

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