Redefining Religious Liberty: Gay marriage and the conflict between church and state.


By Maggie Gallagher

Prop 8 won yesterday. Even in California, they could find only one supreme-court justice willing to strip 7 million people of their core civil right to amend the state constitution, guaranteed by the constitution itself. Why do I feel, absurdly, that I should be grateful?

Liberals who support gay marriage may understand what their movement is willing to endorse and where it draws the line. The rest of us have to sit back and wonder:

Why stop at marriage? Many well-defined, seemingly secure words and terms can be redefined to help remake society along sexually liberal lines.

Take "religious liberty." Religious liberty is a deeply American solution to a perennial problem. It means that every individual has a right to pursue ultimate meaning without coercion from the government. Totalitarian governments repress religion because they recognize faith communities as competitors with the state's power to define - or redefine - human rights.

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