This was already addressed partly, as believers we should already know where correct belief comes from more or less (if this is not the case then that is a separate issue that's outside the scope of this thread).I think we may be getting to the heart of the disagreement here.
Who is the one who determines whether or not the belief is "correct?" Is it the government that legislates morality in this nation? Is it the individual communities? Is it the individual?
Outside of that context, it is up to society as a whole to realize that truth. Barring an inability to come to this (cause lets face it that is not always possible), we will have to settle for coming up with a standard that remains as true as possible to the ideals of this country and that allows for the rights of all parties involved to be preserved insofar as it is possible.
It isn't just the government, it isn't just one group or another, it isn't just the individual. It is society's job as a whole. In this regard, I think our society as a whole has failed, partly cause most people don't care or want to put in the real effort required. It is a social and cultural problem that plagues pretty much every major issue these days.
So at this point since our society seems to be content with not doing what it needs to do, well, now what? Do we have to settle for one of these other options that in my opinion are all bad in their own way? Seems the consensus here is leave it up to the individual, and while I am not entirely sure where my final position will be I currently lean somewhat towards the government. Seems in the case of the former the government is said not to have that authority and not to be trusted even if it did, and my thinking is I'd at least rather have some form of established authority do something instead of leaving this up to what I think is a moral free for all. In both cases the issue is that the source of morality comes from subjective sources, the only difference being which subjective source "wins". To me they are both two sides of the same coin.
I don't see how we can be comfortable with this knowing that genuine truth exists outside of ourselves and remains timeless regardless of any human made thing that comes up. To me, the more I think about it the more I think that each of the current prevailing mentalities here essentially concede the point that there exists no higher, external truth, much less an objective one. Even leaving it up to the individual concedes this point. We talk about a secular government having only subjective moral foundations, but in a pluaralistic society such as ours, leaving it all up to the individual will easily be just as subjective. Heck, even amongst believers, leaving everything up to the individual is also conceding this point and is not the best way to approach the faith.
It is our responsibility as a society to shoot for something more. Even if it is not the absolute best, it can definitely be better than what we have now. The problem is that our society as a whole really doesn't care.
Some rights are given by God, some by our Constitution (though they aren't necessarily mutually exclusive). There are rights that are not unique to American Citizens only and transcend all nations and cultures, most of which (note, not all) I believe come from the Almighty. The concept of rights are put in place for us to use in this fallen world. If human nature wasn't fallen, we wouldn't need this concept of rights cause we would never have to worry about human rights violations.
On a related note, where do you believe our rights come from?
Now, this doesn't mean to imply that we have rights in the sense that we have any rights before God of course. That's a different matter entirely.
Now having said all this, there some that are uniquely American ones too. This doesn't lessen their value though necessarily but it does provide perspective for which ones take priority should there be conundrums like this.
As far as how that applies here? Well, that's a good question cause in general I believe both the freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination are in the first category. The line between discriminating against a religion and discriminating against sexual orientation isn't as clear cut as say, whether or not a Muslim should be forced to make a cake with Mohammed on it.
Speaking of which, let me move on to related statements made afterwards:
It really is the form this culture war has taken but it shouldn't be. Personally I think both sides have blown this way out of proportion and meanwhile both sides are getting persecuted and executed elsewhere in the world and no one bats an eye cause we are all too busy complaining about wedding cakes.
I posted that pic because it's a great example of another moral dilemma that has nothing to do with either Christianity or homosexuality. This whole debate (and I mean in general, not just this thread) keeps being all about a culture war between homosexuals and Christianity. Maybe that's because, on some level, that's what it's really about. Islamic owned bakeries, photography studios and wedding venues aren't being attacked the way Christian ones are, and nobody's being attacked over any issue other than gay weddings.
On a different note, the thing for me is that the moral dilemma for Islam presented here isn't the same type. It goes under the category of an explicit anti-Muslim message, which as I have said before is unacceptable even regarding the gay marriage issue. That is clear cut while some of the example scenarios mentioned on this thread and in general are not like that.
I think a better approach with regards to this is opening up with what other religions have said on the issue of gay marriage specifically. The Dalai Lama is of course the most interesting. On one hand he says it is ok as long as it does not violate any religious tenets of ones faith (he called it religious vows). Of course, he still maintains (and always has) that one such tenet is in Tibetan Buddhism under their own take on proper sexual conduct. Not every branch of Buddhism agrees, but that's how it is in Tibetan Buddhism and all the nuances need to be understood for it to be taken in the right context. It forces both sides to either come out of their shells or dodge the issue entirely. This to me is a good indicator of who is really looking to hear someone else out or not. Both sides of course try to pidgeonhole the Dalai Lama into saying what they want him to say so it is a good chance to show that yes, other religions have their stances but you must understand why they do.
So here are the links for those (one for his original views and one of how his current statements are to be taken in light of them and whether they are consistent):
http://buddhism.about.com/od/becomingab ... rriage.htm
This would be a better, more close to home challenge and potentially open up a real discussion on faith and gay marriage. That is ultimately the real goal here if this issue is to ever be resolved. Open, honest, genuine dialogue is what is required and I can't see many other ways to get that process started. Many of them easily devolve into whichever side is the majority giving themselves pats on the back rather than engaging the other side to work something out, understand where the other is coming from, and share the real truth.
Finally, I will close this rather lengthy response with something regarding this:
I understand what you're trying to say here, although, I disagree as to how extensive this really has become. Outside of specific issues like the wedding cakes, it still doesn't really affect us I don't think. To put this in perspective, I remember Christians talking about how the very definition of marriage itself was now under direct attack, how this or that cardinal was saying that this will unravel modern civilization, and how it will destroy the sacrament of marriage itself. I think a lot of those claims are still overblown as no one is forcing Churches to adopt this secular definition of marriage and how countries define civil marriage has no effect on what the Church teaches on the matter and we should not feel threatened at this time. None of the claims a lot of prominent Christians from various denominations have made lately have come to pass.
My only aggravation is when legalizing gay marriage was the big debate a few years ago the claim was "This wouldn't affect anyone but homosexuals who want to get married, so you have no right to deny us!"...We knew better than that then, but we were shouted down for being paranoid. And now that lie has been revealed and there is no acknowledgement of that fact, nor will there ever be, from the pro-gay marriage folks.
And that makes me bitter.
Yes, it is bad that now we have a situation like this one in the first place, but still, given the fact that it still isn't a clear cut case, I'm still gonna hold off on making a judgment call. My line in the sand is if attempts to force churches to conduct gay weddings starts becoming widespread or wedding cakes that have explicit messages (like the Bert and Ernie one I mentioned before, not just having two man or woman figurines on top of the cake) are being forced to be made via government rulings. I don't even recall seeing any incidents but even if there are, again, until it becomes representative of the LGBT community as a whole and not just the work of a few extremist nuts, I can't conclude that we are actually under attack at this time.