OK – Let’s forget all the rhetoric. Stop all the back and forth. Set aside the talking points. Let’s ask some very, very basic societal questions and begin again. You can bring in the Constitution, your religious philosophies, and your political principles in answering them, but first, let’s just ask the basic questions. Let’s start with this one:
Question 1– Do we really believe in equal rights for everyone?
If you remember correctly, the language of the Declaration of Independence did not talk about exceptions (although we make the assumption they used the word “men” in a more general sense). And the founding fathers grappled with slavery for nearly a century. That was their unspoken inner conflict. They believed in the equal rights principle with their hearts but they couldn’t make it a reality in practice. We have a similar conflict today. We have made an exception to equal rights as well. We call it a moral principle but it is not. It is simply another version of discrimination. It is the question of gay rights.
In recent decisions, our courts, under the strictest interpretation of the Constitution, have stated that there is no legal reason that a gay couple cannot exercise the same rights of marriage that everyone else can. Time after time, a court jurisdiction will strike down any statute that imposes this discriminatory policy. And the push back always comes. New laws and new restrictions. The reasoning for that push back is that it is a moral imperative. A religious edict. But even if you believe that with all your heart, why is it essential to impose that on what is supposed to be a secular government and upon individuals who are not required to believe the same way?
This country was founded on religious freedom. We are free to practice our religion in any manner we choose. But that freedom also means not imposing our own beliefs on others. The Puritans came to America for that very reason. They were persecuted in England because they chose a different religious path. America offered them a chance to escape that discriminatory environment and practice what they preached for themselves. That is also a principle that has made this country stand out to the world. No theocracies here. No Imams dictating your life. No Ayatollahs making pronouncements. Religious freedom is vital to this country’s way of life. So why is it important to tell the GLBT community that they have to conform to some Christian “moral” idea about a commitment to their partner? That certainly would be against any Constitutional principle and certainly against any Libertarian principle.
And it certainly is not any kind of threat to the institution of marriage. The basic concept of marriage is monogamy. So why are heterosexuals discouraging monogamy in regards to gay couples? Every single basic principle that makes marriage a foundation of society is actually being threatend by this religious aversion to homosexuals. After all what are the component parts of marriage? A life long commitment to one person. A monogamous relationship. Two people becoming one. Looking out for and protecting each other. Becoming a legal entity for state commerce. Creation of a home. Making a life together. How can we responsibly deny gay couples such a basic part of the human experience? How do we dare say that the Constitution does not apply to all?