Monday, October 16, 2006

Whose Freedom is in Danger?

I was appalled (though not surprised) to read of a New England governor speaking to a church group claiming that gay-marriage threatens the American family. I'm so tired of this line, but mostly, I'm amazed and outraged that it works! Who really believes that? Half of all U.S. marriages in end in divorce, and census results now say that more people are single than married. Are the few people in a couple of New England states who have chosen to celebrate their commitments with legal civil unions or same-sex marriages really to blame for the unprecedented failure of heterosexual marriages across this country? I think not.

I continue to hope that the day will come when ALL marriages will be civil (rather than religious) and that the state will not use religion as an excuse to promote homophobia. Once a couple of any gender make-up exchange their vows in front of a county or city official, they would then be free to have their relationship blessed by a religious authority. And, the religious authority would be free to deny the blessing for any reason in the world. This, I believe, would be a step in the direction of "liberty and justice for all."

Religious people often claim that they are victimized because their anti-gay prejudice isn't universally protected. As long as they claim that their homophobia is a religious value, they believe they should be allowed to discriminate freely and aggressively against LBGT people. But they don't have the right to deny the rights of others. People used religion and scripture to argue for the second class status of women, for segregation, even for slavery. But just because you call your prejudice a religious value doesn't make it so. The Religious and Political Right are free to hate gay people and even to share their views publicly, but they should not be free to limit the freedom of their gay and lesbian targets.

Your beliefs about God and decency and even about sex are your own. You are entitled to them. But not everyone will agree with you. And those who want their rights are not threatening yours just because they claim their own agency. You don't have to welcome me in your church. You don't have to ordain me. You don't have bless my relationship. But that's where your rights end when I'm the topic of discussion.

I should have the right to marry the consenting adult of my choice. I should have the right to live out and proud as the person I am. I should even have the right to find a worshiping community that celebrates all of who I am. My rights do not deny you the right to dislike me. But your right to dislike me does not include the right to keep me in the margins of our "free" society.

Gay marriage or gay faith or gay bars or gay television themes or gay novels or gay celebrities do not hurt American marriage or children or puppies or sunsets. Yes, you have a right to your bigotry. You even have the right to try to disguise your bigotry as religion. But you don't have the right to legislate your bigotry against my community or any other. Instead of hating or fearing or preaching against gays, maybe we should be working on helping people love and communicate and peacefully coexist. That would help marriage more than equal rights could ever hurt it.

1 comment:

kel said...

"...helping people love, communicate and peacefully co-exist..." My God, RevD, that certainly WOULD threaten the state of SERIAL MONOGAMY that now exists amongst the lofty hetero community...dast you think, Boy!!!