Two Unitarian ministers in upstate New York have become the first clergy members to face criminal charges for performing wedding ceremonies for gay couples. The local D.A. views it as a simple issue of seperating church and state. Gay marriage is fine, he says — so long as it’s religious. Does this mean opponents of gay marriage sanctioned by the state will accept it if the weddings take place in a house of worship? Not likely. The D.A.’s strategy is likely a cynical one, but it does open up a new front in the conflict, and one worth investigating not just in other gay marriage hot spots — San Francisco, Multnomah County — but in the halls of academe, where scholars may shed light on the tortured history of church v. state, never as simple as it seems.

Read Keith Eddings’ report.