In anticipation of the Supreme Court making gay marriage legal throughout the country, one Michigan lawmaker is attempting to circumvent the decision in advance by banning government officials (like courthouse clerks) from signing any marriage licenses at all, leaving that duty only in the hands of religious leaders. (Michigan is one of the 13 states left currently banning same-sex marriages.)
This week, state Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, introduced three House bills that would end government involvement in performing weddings and require that all marriage certificates be signed by a religious leader.
“These bills take our public officials on all levels out of the equation and frees them from sanctioning marriages that go against their beliefs,” Courser said in a statement Friday. “I stand wholeheartedly and unequivocally for traditional marriage, and feel the definition of marriage should not be within the realm of the federal government.”
“The contract that has been in place for thousands of years is between a man and his wife on one side and God on the other side,” he added.
So I guess Courser wants to nullify every atheist wedding that’s ever taken place in his state, too? If two atheists want to get married, and the only people who can solemnize the marriage are government officials and religious leaders, and government officials are taken out of the mix, where does that leave us?
What about interfaith people who don’t believe in the same God?
What about religious people who just don’t want a church leader to solemnize their marriage?
What about gay couples who want to get married by a liberal religious leader (if the Supreme Court allows it)?
Would this just mean everyone rushes to become “pastors” of the Universal Life Church?
Courser’s goal is to put a giant obstacle in front of non-Christian couples… all because a few Christian bigots might refuse to perform the job they signed up to do.
Under House Bills 4731, 4732 and 4733 the government would remain responsible for issuing marriage licenses, but municipal and judicial officials would not be able to perform wedding ceremonies.
It would make far more sense to just take religion out of the license-granting process altogether. If pastors want to solemnize marriages, they’re welcome to, but their magical words would have no weight outside the churches. Leave the licensing to government agents.
Introducing bills, of course, doesn’t mean they’ll become law. But this is how these kinds of Christian politicians work. They’ll do anything they can to make life worse for people who don’t fit into their narrow worldview. It’s bad enough they act this way in church, but it’s a travesty when they try to legislate their bigotry.
If you live in the state, please contact your representatives and ask them to speak out against these awful bills.
(Thanks to Stacy for the link)