The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Brendan Madigan’s letter, “Amendment One ensures peoples’ religious liberty,” is not only wide of the mark, it runs counter to the principles of the First Amendment. The assertion “religious liberty stands at the core of this great nation,” does not cohere with support for Amendment One.

To argue that a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is necessary to protect religious liberty is to favor those religions that actively oppose homosexuality. This argument contravenes the underlying principle of the Establishment Clause—that the government must remain neutral, not favoring one religion over another.

Religious liberty means being able to freely exercise one’s religion of choice. A number of religious denominations do not condemn homosexuality and support LGBT equality.

Moreover, the comparison to the current debate over contraception is misplaced. That debate centers on an exemption from the requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for birth control to those businesses that oppose the use of contraceptives.

That is not analogous to a ban on same-sex marriage. Such a ban would affect the liberty interests of same-sex couples, not the religious liberty of those who oppose same-sex marriage.

A billboard in New York City really sums up the liberty issue: “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.”

Adam Lanier ’13
UNC School of Law

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