Dale Carpenter:

Protecting religious liberty as a "compromise" position on SSM is gaining traction. The swing vote in the state senate came from a Democrat who just last week voted against the bill in committee, but switched after more protection for religious liberty was added. The amendment, she said, is “respectful to both sides of the debate and meets our shared goals of equality under the state laws for all of the people of New Hampshire.”

Religious persons already have most these rights - but if reaffirming religious liberty will reassure those opposed to marriage equality, it's hard to see the case against incorporating them into legislation. In fact, I see the Connecticut language as an inherently good thing.

It's critical, it seems to me, that the marriage movement in no way seem hostile to religious freedom and conscience. We support religious liberty just as we support heterosexual marriage. And the fact is: this change unsettles some people. I understand that, and we need to be more cognizant of it, and sensitive to it, instead of engaging, as some sadly have, in ad feminem abuse. (Yes, I'm talking about Miss California, who may not be terribly smart but whose position is not inherently bigoted and whose qualms can be accommodated without obloquy).

Strong religious liberty clauses alongside marriage equality laws make a hell of a lot of sense. Let's embrace them.

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