‘Society cannot prevail where a few obstruct it …’

To the editor:

The key to an honest and healthy society is balanced perspective.

The Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal prompted diverse responses. Many celebrated what they see as equality and justice. Others were openly disappointed, believing it violates their particular Biblical interpretation.

The interesting thing is the varied reactions among those unhappy with the ruling. Some express disagreement with it – but quickly accept the court’s word is law. They’re ready to move on.

Others, however, are more than disappointed. They’re angry and defiant. Some simply vow to fight the ruling legislatively. But others have begun to defy it. In some conservative counties, officials refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They claim doing so violates their religious beliefs.

One can admire their strong principles. I’m convinced, however, that their stance lacks the needed balanced perspective. We live in a society so complex and diverse that every day law and conscience are in conflict — requiring a balanced perspective.

• Pacifists cannot choose to avoid federal taxes just because so much goes to warfare.

• Protestant taxes support busing students to Catholic schools which teach children some things contrary to Protestant convictions.

• African-Americans have long paid taxes to governments which have provided uneven – even discriminatory – levels of service to blacks.

• Medical personnel treat patients whose needs resulted from irresponsible action that’s anathema to the doctors’ beliefs.

• Social workers must provide supportive service to those whose lifestyle offends the care-giver’s moral views.

The list could go on. In each case, people see the larger picture and balance matters of conscience and legal responsibility. Thus the honest question: Why does one category of public servants, like recalcitrant county clerks, believe they’re different from other persons – who also have strong religious and/or moral convictions?

Society cannot prevail where a few obstruct it by obsessively observing one narrow conviction. Rather citizens must be committed to the larger, balanced perspective.

If a person still is unable to fulfill his/her legal responsibility, based on moral grounds, it’s completely honorable to resign that position, and let a person with a balanced perspective take over.

William A. McCartney