Conservative Christians opposed to gay marriage have gone to great lengths in trying to keep same-sex couples from making lawful marital commitments.
But perhaps none have gone quite as far as one Republican Missouri state representative who is attempting to ensure that every single marriage a godly one.
State Rep. T.J. Berry put forth House Bill 1434 to put religions entirely in control of defining “marriage” and conducting those ceremonies. If you decide to get married without being a church member, you would be considered part of a “domestic union.”
[Berry said] he was “tired” of the argument about the definition of the word marriage. He wanted the issue “put to rest from a government standpoint.”
But the Supreme Court already issued a ruling that put the issue to rest - or at least it should have. For Berry, the problem isn't that gay people can be together; the problem is that they can call it marriage.
I personally don’t care how someone defines or celebrates their commitment to one another. I do believe that if an individual church chooses not to approve of someone else’s definition of the word marriage Government can not [sic] step in and force a church to except [sic] same sex marriage.
So Berry's bill would ensure that only churches can determine whose commitment constitutes a marriage, and any couple falling outside that definition would be denied the term.
Berry said it was wrong to say his bill would require “marriages” be performed by churches, insisting people “would be free to hold any ceremony they like.”
When push came to shove, however, Berry admitted that, in order to be considered a “marriage” — using that word specifically — it would have to be defined by churches (and not government) under his plan.
Berry's bill is unconstitutional - but as the Friendly Atheist notes, it shouldn't be ignored.
While it’s not likely that Berry’s bill passes, it’s important to pay attention because this type of rhetoric is becoming more and more common in our modern America, and it’s a threat to both same-sex and non-religious couples across the country.