The recognition of the constitutional right for homosexuals to marry has created the worry that pastors may be asked to marry a homosexual couple … or refer them to another pastor who will. There is a simple remedy for this fear: pastors should stop performing civic marriages. The continued practice of pastors performing civic duties is a leftover from a long-defunct Christendom, and the current conflict provides the perfect occasion to separate secular and religious marriage.
In short, I propose that Christians ought to go to their church to be married according to the dictates of their religious tradition. And then they can go to the courthouse to have a legally recognized marriage by way of the secular magistrate. In this way there is no confusion between roles and no conflict between the values of the religious leader and the state.
This may work fine for the religious leaders, but what about the magistrate who has a religious objection to marrying homosexuals for the state? The answer to this dilemma is simple: this person should not be a magistrate by the same reasoning that a religious pacifist should not be a soldier.
Frankly, the current debate over gay marriage seems to me to provide an excellent motivation for the church to disentangle itself from the state. Unfortunately, many Christians seem more concerned to use it as an occasion to worry about discrimination.