On CBS’s Face the Nation this Sunday, gay rights advocate Evan Wolfson confronted Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on his assertion that gay marriage is an assault on “religious freedom.”
CBS host Bob Schieffer posed a question to the panel asking if dropping same sex marriage bans and allowing churches to decide if they wanted to include gay and lesbian couples would make more sense.
“If you want to talk about rights, let’s talk about those rights that have been lost in the wake of same sex marriage,” Perkins said. “And religious freedom has been among them. You’ve got Catholic charities no longer doing adoptions, not providing vital services right here in this city as a result of same sex marriage in D.C. You’ve got parental rights that have been lost, parents no longer being able to determine what their children are taught, whose moral values they are taught in school. We have small businessmen losing their rights because they won’t participate in same sex ceremonies. So you talk about rights, let’s talk about rights.”
“This ultimately is not about the marriage altar, it’s not about marriage,” he added. “It’s about fundamentally altering society. And so you can’t divide the two […] This will be a major public policy shift that will move us further away from that ideal goal of giving kids a mom and a dad. Because by law, we would be denying kids a mom and a dad.”
Wolfson then focused the discussion back to the question of religion, noting that the government doesn’t issue “Bar Mitzvah licenses” or “communion licenses,” but it issues marriage licenses because marriages are a “legal and civil status.”
“What we’re talking about here is who can get the civil marriage license from the government in order to strengthen their family under the law,” Wolfson explained. “It’s not about telling any religion what it must do.”
“Marriage is not defined by who is denied it,” he continued. “When gay people share in the freedom to marry, it doesn’t change your marriage, it doesn’t change Tony Perkins’ marriage. My marriage is my marriage. And it means that I’m able to share in the same aspirations of commitment and love and support and dedication and connectedness, and that my parents are able to dance at our wedding, and that our family and friends are able to support and celebrate and hold us accountable for the commitment we’ve made to one another.”
“That takes nothing away from anyone else. The gay people are not going to use up all the marriage licenses when we enter marriage.”
Watch the Face the Nation segment in the video below.