I sat there wondering: What if these folks took a breath and focused more on doing what’s right and less on scoring political points?
The Senate was debating Senate Bill 2 – the legislation that would allow magistrates to choose not to perform any marriage ceremonies, if performing gay marriage ceremonies conflicted with their religious beliefs.
Joining in was tempting. But the debate quickly turned into an exercise in posturing – rather than a serious discussion.
For example, Democratic Senator Josh Stein said that it is the duty of magistrates to perform gay marriages just like selling tickets to the zoo (to a gay couple) is the duty of other state employees.
The problem with Senator Stein’s logic is obvious: There’s a big difference between performing a marriage ceremony and selling a ticket to the zoo.
And it says a lot that Senator Stein doesn’t see the difference.
Under Senate Bill 2, a gay couple may still go to all 100 county courthouses and receive a marriage license and have their marriage performed. All they cannot do is require a specific magistrate, who objects on religious grounds, to perform the ceremony.
Democratic legislators like to talk about respecting different points of view and respecting everyone’s rights equally.
But in this case they want to tramp all over the fellow who has a different point of view – the magistrate – by forcing him to do something he believes is morally wrong.