Catholic Charities Issue

Ed Brayton stcynic at
Sun Mar 12 08:29:39 PST 2006

Rick Duncan wrote:

> This is why some of us fight so hard against gay rights and gay 
> marriage--gay rights/marriage are incompatible (at least in certain 
> situations) with religious liberty. As in Massachusetts, the state has 
> to choose between religious liberty and gay rights.

I could not disagree with this more. There is no religious liberty issue 
at stake here. The Church has retained all of its religious liberty. In 
fact, it has chosen to exercise that religious liberty by refusing to 
take part in something it finds sinful. I would go so far as to argue 
that religious liberty and gay rights are not only compatible, they are 
based on exactly the same set of basic principles; do away with one and 
you do away with both. That is why I am every bit as opposed to, for 
example, policies forcing churches to perform gay marriages (which no 
one has suggested, thank goodness) as I am the prohibition on gay 
marriage in the first place. It's why I write as often about the free 
speech rights of anti-gay ministers (in the context of punishing such 
people regularly in Canada, England and other places) as I do about 
anti-sodomy laws. You cannot subdivide rights. The right to speak out 
against homosexuality and the right to engage in sodomy, for example, 
are based upon the very same principles - the right to pursue happiness 
so long as your actions do not deprive another of the same, the fact of 
self-ownership, and the principle that government's authority is limited 
by the need to protect one from another. In neither case does any 
government have legitimate authority to use its power, in my view.

Ed Brayton

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