Citizens Project is sad to say goodbye to Executive Director Kristy Milligan as she heads into her next professional adventure at Rocky Mountain PBS. please join Citizens Project in celebrating… The Legacy of Kristy Milligan December 3, 5pm-7pm Tim Gill … Continue reading
The wait is over! The 2014 Citizens Project Candidate Survey Voter Guide is here. All candidates in local and state races were invited to respond a broad range of pertinent questions that will help you inform your decision on how … Continue reading
Last night, fourteen local candidates took the stage at Stargazers Theatre to engage in respectful debate and dialogue about the issues facing Coloradans in the November 4 election. More than 100 audience members attended to learn more about their options … Continue reading
Citizens Project Election Forum Tuesday, October 14, 5:00-7:00pm- Stargazers Theatre, 10 Parkside Drive, 80910 Featuring candidates from Colorado Senate District 11, Colorado House Districts 17 & 18, and El Paso County Commission District 5, with many other local candidates in attendance. … Continue reading
Hot off the presses…the Citizens Project 2014 Citizens Project Annual Report! This is the latest on everything that Citizens Project has accomplished in the past year with 2013 financials.
by Ken Burrows
Various courts around the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have been increasingly receptive to same-sex marriage, based mainly on the need to constitutionally ensure equal rights to all citizens. What the courts have less commonly acknowledged is that laws banning such marriages have rested almost exclusively on a constitutionally dubious collusion between church and state. No matter how they’ve worded their motives, advocates of legally limiting marriage to one-man-one-woman have in the main been seeking to impose their favored religious doctrines about marriage onto all. They’ve sought to give sacramental prerogatives legal preference over secular rights.
This goal was never more overtly stated than in 2009 when a group self-identified as “Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Christians” got together to draft the “Manhattan Declaration: A Call to Christian Conscience.” Though this Declaration said “immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience,” it also advocated for traditional marriage as an “institution ordained by God” and said it is “the duty of the law to recognize and support” this definition. Never mind how this contradicted the “immunity from religious coercion” they said they esteemed.
Such religion-based reasoning about marriage has persisted, leading to enacted measures that were inimical to equality and, ironically enough, erosive of religious liberty. Why? Because they sought to establish by statute or amendment only selected religious principles about marriage, relegating to an inferior status those individuals and religions whose beliefs about marriage do not conform to the majoritarian dogmas driving such limitations.
This church-state mingling did not trouble elected officials and religious adherents who happened to see their own beliefs about marriage written into law. Indeed, they enjoyed having the numbers on their side and relished the victories that brought. The questionable constitutionality of letting religion dictate law and policy either didn’t cross their minds or was a nit they deemed not worth picking.
Though the courts have been slow to recognize this aspect of the marriage equality debate, others saw it early on. Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine once wrote: “A sacrament requires God’s blessing, not the government’s. Civil marriage is not synonymous with ‘the sacred institution of marriage.’” He said government should not be in the one-size-fits-all marriage approval business. Reverend Peter Gomes of Harvard University’s Memorial Church drew a similar distinction between the church addressing marriage for its congregations versus attempting to subordinate citizens’ civil rights to the church’s own tenets. He said such rights should never be subject to the holdings of a majority faith. Even author Huston Smith, a noted defender of the role religion plays in people’s lives, said in his book Why Religion Matters that “The state claims the prerogatives of the church at its peril.”
The effort to limit marriage to one-man-one-woman has indeed largely been a campaign to extend dogma beyond the church’s own faithful and impose onto all citizens a definition of marriage that conforms to sacramental dictates, regardless of individuals’ varying beliefs about marriage. The courts are recognizing the injury to equality and personal freedom that results. By continuing to advance marriage equality, courts reassert the vital separation of secular from sacramental when it comes to marriage. They undo this latest pervasive mixing of church and state and reinforce the individual liberties such mixing endangers.
- Community Transit Coalition- Transit Matters Rally
- Citizens Project educates, empowers local churches to protect their tax-exempt status.
- Citizens Project welcomes Deborah Walker, Associate Director
- Back-to-school resources on student rights
- Hard Work and Affecting Change: A Springs Thing
- Upcoming 2014 General Election Voter Information
- Legal Precedent, Religious Freedom, and the Hobby Lobby Court Decision
- Becoming Whole
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