Are Gay Rights More Akin to Civil Rights or Religious Rights?

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This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider two gay marriage cases.

Tomorrow, they hear arguments on Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case that centers on the state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages in California — also known as Proposition 8. A federal appeals court ruled it unconstitutional in 2012, but supporters are asking for the Supreme Court to review the ruling.

On Wednesday, there's United States v. Windsor. This case challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act, adopted in 1996, which prohibits most federal benefits from going to gay married couples.

Reverend Oliver White is the pastor of Grace Community United Church of Christ, a predominantly black congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota. He announced his acceptance of same-sex marriage in 2005, when, at a United Church of Christ assembly, he voted in favor of a church resolution for gay marriage. He sees gay rights as akin to black civil rights.

But Ann Pellegrini disagrees. She is white and gay and says she does not think gay rights are the same as civil rights. As she sees it, they are more akin to religious rights and should be thought of as such. Pellegrini is associate professor of religious studies and director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University, as well as the author of "Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance."