Tuesday, March 20, 2012

President Jimmy Carter Endorses Marriage Equality

The 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, has given an interview to Huffington Post where he explicitly endorses civil marriage equality for same-sex couples. Like our current President, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (albeit well after his Presidency) and is a Christian, a Southern Baptist. The 87-year-old Carter is the author of dozens of books and his latest is a treatise attempting to answer difficult questions from a Biblical perspective.

Joe.My.God highlights the key responses Carter gives in the interview:
A lot of people point to the Bible for reasons why gay people should not be in the church, or accepted in any way. 
Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things -– he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.[emphasis added] 
I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I’m a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs. So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to.
Unlike our current President, Carter is clearly not a graduate of Harvard Law or a constitutional law professor because it would be a very obvious violation of the First Amendment for any law to require a church to marry any individual or force a church to accept someone as a member.

Carter joins the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, as the only two living ex-presidents to endorse marriage equality. There are two other living ex-presidents, both with the surname Bush, but surprisingly(sic) they have not done the same. Clinton and Carter are Democrats...

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