Shane Crone, left, and Diane Wiltshire take a photo in celebration
of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage in
Friday, June 26, 2015. Mark that date on your calendar. That’s the day the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down its historic ruling that, in accordance with Article XIV of the Constitution of the United States, same-sex marriage is the law of the land.
Some say that date will go down in history; others say it will live in infamy.
I’ve heard all the arguments for and against marriage equality, and a few things stand out in my mind:
- Most arguments against marriage equality are based on religious beliefs
- Many arguments speak to the idea that “gays want special rights”
- They also claim that “we’re redefining marriage”
There are many more arguments against, but I’m going to limit myself to these three. I don’t want to spend hours writing any more than you do in reading. So let’s take each of these arguments in turn:
Arguments Based on Religious Beliefs
Far too many people claim that their objections are based on their religious beliefs. But let’s face it: in the United States, “religious beliefs” usually means Christianity. And all too often, Christianity means fundamentalist, Bible-pounding, hell-fire-and-brimstone interpretations of the Bible, for which there is no Biblical justification. I maintain that the Bible and software EULAs (End User License Agreements) have this in common: nobody ever reads the whole thing; they just scroll down to the bottom and click on “I AGREE.”
“But the United States is a Christian nation!” “The United States was founded on Christian principles.” I’m sorry to rain on your parade, but these claims demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge of United States history. I won’t go into details here, but instead suggest you Google® “Treaty of Tripoli,” or “Deism and the Founding Fathers” and educate yourself on the facts.
I have no problems with your religious beliefs just so long as they don’t trample my individual rights. As my father (the retired evangelical Lutheran minister) was fond of repeating, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” Pithy, but apt.
For centuries, religionists have cited scripture to justify enslaving, torturing, burning, and otherwise oppressing other people; when they were called to account for it, they screamed “You’re oppressing me! Religious freedom!”
For the longest time in the United States, the Bible was used to justify slavery. But fortunately, the bedrock of our legal system is NOT the Bible but rather the United States Constitution—imperfect as it is. When people are sworn into public office, they place their hands on a Bible or Koran or some other religious document and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don’t place their hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold scripture.
Gays Want Special Rights
Here’s a partial list of legal rights that heterosexuals have, that are denied to the gay population:
- Have legal equal employment: according to a Federal law, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) are not protected against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the private sector.
- Donate blood.
- In many states, we can’t adopt
- Be safe from educational discrimination based on sexual orientation
- Live in certain communities: the Fair Housing Act lends no protection to LBGTs when purchasing, renting, or leasing a home on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Be Boy Scout leaders (although this is slowly changing)
- Trans folk are still forbidding from serving in the military
If someone would explain to me how wanting the same rights as everyone else amounts to wanting “special rights,” I’d certainly appreciate it.
Gays Are Redefining Marriage
POINT: Marriage Is a Civil, Not a Religious Union
Yes, there are many religious ceremonies used to solemnize marriages. But consider: where do you go to obtain your marriage license? You go to your county clerk, and have the license issued by the government. That’s because the government considers marriage a civil arrangement, not a religious one.
And rather than complain that gay marriage threatens your religion, there is no law, statute, regulation or court decision requiring any religious person to perform, officiate over, or otherwise participate in a same-sex marriage. Yesterday’s SCOTUS decision doesn’t change that fact. If same-sex marriage is against your religion, nothing requires you to change your beliefs. All it does is prevents you from denying my right to marry whomever I wish.
Marriage equality (same-sex marriage [or, as I like to call it, “marriage]) is now the law of the land, and while that is a significant historic victory, we still have a long was to go on our march to what the Constitution promises us: Equal rights under the law.
A promise that for far too many of us still remains unfulfilled.