We've been warned!
Gay Equality Needs to Get Out of the Religious Civil Wars!
Ever notice that the history of homophobia has nearly always been rooted in religious dogma?
With the halting progress that gay equality has achieved in America, we've seen the spectacle of religious hypocrites advocating for strict opposite--gender marriage laws which they claim will strengthen the "natural, god ordained" institution of marriage.
But these same loud, in-your-face, self-appointed advocates of piety are very quiet when you ask them about opposing divorce, the undoing of marriage. Nope, nary a negative word drops from their slavering lips.
As they proclaim marriage to be a religious rite, they forget, or disingenuously disguise that they ever knew, that this right of marriage is only possible due to the issuance by the state in which they are living a license to marry. That is, the civil authority, not any religious corporation, is what makes a religious marriage ceremony valid under state and federal law.
No one is compelled by law to have a religious prelate validate the state-issued marriage license. Any official described by law can complete the marriage license and the opposite-gendered couple is as married as if they had the Pope or any other suitably costumed officiate, doing the honors.
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When legislators trumpet that marriage is a religious bond between heteros that should not be tampered with, they are mixing the emotion-laden desires of religion with the neutral point-of-view that civil justice requires.
They are violating the First Amendment of the Constitution: Congress shall make no law honoring religion nor interfering with its practice.
By this long-established legal precedent, the states which refuse to honor the request of same-gendered people for a marriage license are violating the basic premise of justice--previous decisions are used to provide consistency to the implementation of laws deemed necessary for a just society.
Why is the dogma of the United Church of Christ which performs same-gender blessings suppressed by the dogma of the Southern Baptist Convention?
Why is Reformed Judaism held hostage to its cousin, Hasidim Judaism?
Why is Roman Catholic dogma more authoritative than the Episcopal Church?
(Interesting side note being that the Anglican Church of which the American branch is called Episcopal is only here as an historical relic of the need for Henry VIII to get a divorce.)
Why should American civil law be immersed in the hornet's nest of religious doctrinal disputes--the verbal equivalent of civil war? Why does the "god" of the legislators and homophobes only seem to speak for the public record to them?
The word "marriage" is a loaded religious word that carries hundreds of years of tradition that doesn't include gay people.
"Civil union" is self-defining--no supernatural intrusion has weighed this phrase with oppression.
That's why I'm going to be agitating for laws to be passed that legalize civil unions, domestic partnerships, reciprocal benefits, whatever civil language is developed that recognizes the full citizenship of America's gay people who want all the rights and benefits received by straight people.
As Ms. Jo-Ann Adams of the Hawaii GLBT Caucus said recently in regard to Hawaii's tabling of a marriage rights bill, "If you can't give us the word, give us the rights."
Spiritual gay people can always find a welcoming minister, rabbi, or priest that will bless them for as long as necessary. No homophobic religious building will ever be required to host a same gendered marriage ceremony.
And what sane couple would try to force such an imposition on that denomination's property anyway?
The time is here that our gay equality leaders recognize that our civil equality will not be won in an endless contest of dueling bible verses.
Religious teachings are based on historical conflicts of a Bronze Age mentality that has very little to do with us here in the 2st century other than as examples how ignorance should not be used to advance human decency.
We need to declare victory and, indeed, march to our own drummer.
James Nimmo is active in progressive issues and believes no one should be denied their equality because of the accidents of birth and circumstances.