A long time ago, I was taught a brief sentence in a political science class. It should be a summary of resolving all disputes between people. Its origins are cloudy, but it applies more today than ever before:

Your rights end where my nose begins.

You can swing around all you want, but if you hit me, that’s an issue. The Left does not understand or respect this, which is the genesis of all of the Culture Wars and crises of the past few years.

Think about marriage.

A secular marriage was a state-issued contract between a man and a woman. Now, it’s between any two people. Fine. Whatever. That’s the law. it was a poorly-conceived opinion in many eyes, but it created a right, so that’s the law. It also got tons of “Likes” on Facebook, which if you read the opinion, is what the Justice was apparently trying to achieve.

I think it’s bad law. I think it was a horrible decision. However, the results don’t bother me – the process that created the results do.

My belief is that there shouldn’t be a law either way. The State should not be in the marriage business. Anything the State regulates eventually causes conflict because somebody is on the wrong side of the regulation. Also, it’s not like marriages are regulated very well, since some people have collected so many of them.

A sacramental marriage is a secular marriage blessed by a minister of a Church. Each Church may have different ideas about what constitutes a valid couple for marriage than the State does. For now. A Church may also have different ideas about what it takes to invalidate a marriage, since the civil contract is relatively easy to cancel.

The point many are missing is that changing the law does not change people’s beliefs. It also does not make those beliefs invalid. The State is not in charge of beliefs. This is where the swinging is hitting peoples’ noses.

So, any two gay people can get married. However, many of the early couples seemed hellbent on finding service providers who are not comfortable (for any number of reasons) with the concept of gay marriage and then suing them out of existence when they won’t comply.

There is a word for this. Bullying. Isn’t that what the gay community has been fighting against all these years? Maybe the Human Rights Campaign should help protect those whose religious beliefs go against what some potential customers demand.

I’m happy to officiate any marriage ceremony, but I’m happier if I know the couple ahead of time. I’m an ordained minister. I have a laminated card and everything. I think it’s up to you who you choose as a life partner. I also do hope it lasts forever, because I’m divorced, and the divorce was one of the most painful periods of my life, and forever altered my relationships with my family, my friends and my Church. If your partnership is legal, since the State pushed its way into it, I’ll officiate it and try not to judge. However, if I was not comfortable performing the ceremony, why couldn’t you just find a minister who is? It’s not like I’m the only lapsed Catholic, divorced and re-married, online-ordained minister out there. Do you really want unhappy people forced to work at your most important day?

There are levels in the Universe.

I can fight for your rights. I can support your rights. I can accept your rights. I can tolerate your rights. I shouldn’t have to participate, if it is against my beliefs. My not participating does not prevent your right to get married.

Why is the Left not happy until everyone believes what they believe? You won. Stop being sore winners.

You have the right to get married. People have the right to follow their religious beliefs. Neither right is stronger than the other. However, the State should not compel people to go against their religious beliefs for commerce, and that is what is happening. This is not “I hate those people because of their color or condition”. This is “I fervently believe this ceremony is invalid in the eyes of my God, and I do not want to take part in this ceremony.” It’s about the ceremony, it’s not about the people. All of the recent decisions basically say the right to be gay is better than the right to be religious.

I am not very religious. I’m more spiritual, as in, “There is a God, but He’s not paying much attention to what’s going on down here, except apparently for global warming – and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t actually give a shit about global warming”. I do not feel particularly welcome in my Church because of my divorce. However, we all have the right to believe what we believe, as long as it doesn’t harm others, and we shouldn’t have others tell us that we’re wrong and we have to do it their way. If I don’t have Baptists or Methodists dragging me to services every Sunday, why do gay people want to drag me to their weddings?

It certainly would be easier for the religious people to just do the gay weddings, smug in the knowledge that the happy couple will someday burn in Hell for all eternity. However, that’s not how many of those people believe. They don’t want to be involved at all. They don’t want to become collateral damage. Why can’t those people just be left out of it?

If you wouldn’t take your vegetarian, PETA-supporting, lesbian friend to a dog fight, maybe you shouldn’t force religious strangers to celebrate your gay wedding.

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