Separating religion and state

  • (Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

    (Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)


When you start a journey in the wrong direction one can only hope to end up in the right place. On the issue of same-sex marriage, my dominant point is to separate religion from state.

Ideas of marriage are religious in nature. Ideas of relationships, which invariably requires contracts, are civil and require state involvement.

I believe there is an absolute author and fashioner of the universe, referred to under various names, including God.

As adamantly as I can argue my own beliefs, I realise that everyone, like me, has their own beliefs and is entitled to them. The state, in my view, should not try, or attempt to determine whose belief is right, but rather recognise the right of each.

The role of an ideal state that supports differences and plurality would be to acknowledge the contractual obligations of a relationship, in this case of cohabitants.

The matter of whether it’s a man and a woman, or other formats, the state will uphold the contract made.

Should it matter either, how many are party to the contract, or if there are multiple contracts?

The issue of whether it is called marriage, civil union or for the sake of it, concubinage, is purely a religious matter, is it not?

Each government to date has approached the subject based on a belief and arguing it has the right to defend the belief of the majority sector of Bermuda as a political function.

In so doing they are taking a religious position and even if one were to agree with the position, one would be doing so on the basis of their belief and denying others the right of theirs.

I don’t support this partial approach, because while one sector jumps for joy over achieving the right to marry, they do so while discriminating against another sector.

I name polygamy as one such sector discriminated against, which has been around as long as the idea of marriage and probably existed before the institution of marriage was established, yet is illegal.

In my view, all arguments to the contrary are based on religious positions and not the principle of equality or respect for adult decisions.

The only way the government and society can get out of this hypocrisy is to reapproach the whole legislative agenda on the role of the state as it relates to relationships and cohabitation and amends the Human Rights Act to give effect to total religious freedom.

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Published Dec 27, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 27, 2018 at 8:00 am)

Separating religion and state

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