Even if same-sex marriage is against your religion, we can't ban every sin

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I thought I had said my last word on gay marriage (at least for a while), but Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly made an important point about the issue that deserves to be examined, remarking that opponents of gay marriage can't just "thump the Bible."

Mr. O'Reilly is a clear thinker and articulate, and he did not make his point as artfully as he usually does -- but it is still a good point to make. And in a video that Republicans were frantically sending to each other this week, Mr. O'Reilly delivered that message on his show to another principled, thoughtful conservative, Laura Ingraham. If you can get past the awkward, cringe-inducing, frosty interaction between the two, you can see where conservatives -- and Republicans generally -- are hung up.

Many good, honest people oppose same-sex marriage, including the vast majority of Republican officeholders. But what is their public-policy vs. religious reason for holding that position?

The Bible gives us many admonitions that haven't produced legislation. We can't pass a law that bans every sin -- wouldn't that be sharia? And even the Bible is imperfect in giving guidance on the matter; depending on where you turn in the Good Book, there was a time when God permitted multiple wives and concubines. I don't think anyone is suggesting that ought to be a basis for any public policy today.

I've lost track of what public good is done by forbidding gay marriage. Someone please remind me.

opinion_commentary

Ed Rogers, a Republican co-host of The Washington Post's Insiders blog, chairs the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group.


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