A front-page puff piece on same-sex marriage

The Sacramento Bee published this breaking news on its front page this week:

Gays are not guaranteed the right to wed in church

Who knew?

I vaguely recall some mention of freedom of religion in the U.S. Constitution, but apparently, the Bee has confirmed this.

Not that the California newspaper is happy about it.

The top of the puff piece — er, news story:

The congregation cheered.

When Barbara Brecher and Terry Allen married in June 2008, during the brief window that year when same-sex marriage was legal in California, they asked the entire membership of Congregation B'nai Israel to witness the ceremony. Hundreds of congregants took them up on the invitation.

Senior rabbi Mona Alfi, a longtime supporter ofsame-sex unions, pronounced the couple legally wed, and the congregation erupted in applause.

"People went nuts," said Barbara Allen-Brecher, now 57, an administrative law judge. "They were hooting and hollering. Did I cry? Oh, of course."

What it meant to her to marry within her faith – not just in the eyes of the state but also the eyes of her congregation – is simple: It meant everything.

"I couldn't imagine not doing it that way," she said. "I can't express the joy we experienced having the opportunity to do it in the sanctuary."

Alas, that's not the end of the story. Prepare to be shocked. SHOCKED:

Gay and lesbian couples can legally marry today in 13 states, including California. But if they want to marry within their faith, like Barbara and Terry Allen-Brecher, options vary widely from denomination to denomination across the religious spectrum.

From the viewpoint of America's religious institutions, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent landmark decisions on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 changed nothing.

Why don't all churches allow same-sex marriage ceremonies? Does it have anything to do with 2,000-year-old teachings and beliefs?

No, not really.

Denominations change their positions slowly, Schlosser said, not in a matter of months but over years. And many religious bodies have yet to make any change in their stance on whether to include same-sex marriage as a rite.

Under the U.S. Constitution, they don't have to.

But probably, it's just a matter of time, right?

Fortunately, there are some religious folks — such as "committed Roman Catholic" Jan Seaman — rallying for change despite the antiquated traditions of their churches.

Sadly, the story does veer off course in a spot or two and quote religious leaders who oppose same-sex marriage. But fortunately, even in those cases, the writer immediately detours and provides more rational and reasoned voices:

In Granite Bay, Bayside Church doesn't perform same-sex marriages, either. But Curt Harlow, one of the pastors at the 14,000-member nondenominational Christian church, said it's likely someone has asked.

"We would tell them that everyone is welcome here," he said. "But we hold to the biblical view that marriage is between one man and one woman. That's the long and short of it."

Clergy members from other faiths disagree with that interpretation of the Scriptures.

Hip, hip, hurrah for enlightened clergy members! Right, Sacramento Bee?

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