With this week’s constitutional ban in North Carolina, veep Joe Biden putting his foot in President Obama’s mouth, and then yesterday’s presidential nod to the idea, there’s a lot of buzz on same-sex marriage. There is also a lot of talk about “culture wars” and much “This is going to be the Family Values election” misdirection from the people who continue to confuse conservative politics with being on the same page with Jesus.
Personally, and a lot like President Obama, I find that I am on a journey with this discussion. I have been known to disagree with myself on a regular basis, flat-out change my mind, demonstrate pervasive inconsistency, and then shoot myself in the foot with arguments that tend to go around in circles.
I know a lot of good people – both people of faith and folk from the secular frame of reference – who are all over the map regarding many aspects of this conversation. I respect the wide diversity of opinion and conviction, and I value the ongoing dialogue that we should all be able to have with people who disagree.
DRACONIAN: But the bottom line for me is coming down to this: I have no problem with people being unwilling to say “Yes” when it comes to gay marriage, I very much understand that point of view; but I am more and more convinced that the “majority rules” tactic of state-by-state constitutional amendments is reactionary, smacks of bullying, and contrary to the American spirit.
When the majority say, “I don’t like it so you can’t do it,” “We’re making your identity as a person illegal!” and “Your relationship should be defined as outside the law” to gay Americans who want to be married, that is a huge step toward more draconian social measures that – at the very least – marginalize a vulnerable minority of our population.
I find that chilling.
I don’t have to agree that it’s OK for men to marry other men, and neither do you;
You don’t have to attend the ceremony or send a card;
Preachers can say it’s wrong all they want to… or lobby in favor inclusion;
And any one of us could write a letter of protest (or support), or we could contact the justice of the peace (or the synagogue or the church) to let them know we’re comfortable (or uncomfortable) with such a ceremony.
People have the right to hold an opinion. Knock yourself out. I mean, it’s a free country.
OR IS IT? But now I believe we’re in dicey territory with the whole “it’s a free country” thing. The last I checked, the right to marry isn’t limited to just those people who practice their religion in the same way, or think the same way as the majority of the population.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…?” Well, yes. Unless enough people believe you should be treated differently due to a lifestyle that makes the majority uncomfortable.
“With liberty and justice for all…?” Most certainly. Unless, that is, we can get a big crowd of people to go to the polls and vote that you deserve neither liberty nor justice.
I know, I know, no-one is going around saying that “We want to put gay Americans in jail.” All that’s being done is constitutional amendments making it against the law for gays to marry. Or, “We’ve taken step number one in narrowing the legal definition of what it means to be entitled to the right to stand in front of a justice of the peace and make marriage vows.”
STEP #1: Personally, I believe step number one is a big, huge, gigantic step too far. I believe that such a shift in direction is a dangerous precedent when it comes to human liberties.
The real threat to marriage and to the American family is to be found in the following (and more):
the chronic lack of faithfulness to promise
the absence of Christ-like love
the pursuit of material goods ahead of relationships
a fundamental absence of kindness in the home….
THE FIX? Taking steps to outlaw same-sex marriage is not going to begin to address the above problems. In point of fact, by turning the “it’s an attack on marriage” spotlight on gays, the people who are really doing harm to marriage in America are effectively keeping their own sins under the radar.
Yeah, we need a “Defense of Marriage” movement all right… but I’m really not sure that it has anything to do with gays….