Everyone who has read at least some of my blog articles knows where I stand on the topic of Marriage Equality. In this entry, I will attempt to posit some of the reasons behind my stance so that you, my fine young readers, might be better enlightened.
Let’s start right at the top, with our nation’s own “Pledge of Allegiance.” This pledge, originally written in 1892 by Christian Socialist Francis Bellamy, then altered here and there in the intervening years, the pledge that every patriotic American knows by heart, reads as follows:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”(1)
The words that I would like to focus on are the six at the end. They are a noble and profound statement of how the people should be treated. These six words, “with liberty and justice for all” convey the idea that every American is entitled to enjoy the same freedoms, and be protected under the same judicial standards regardless of age, gender, race, religious preference, creed, sexual orientation or otherwise.
Now, let’s look at marriage from a purely legal perspective. The legal dictionary defines marriage thus:
“The legal status, condition, or relationship that results from a contract by which one man and one woman, who have the capacity to enter into such an agreement, mutually promise to live together in the relationship of husband and wife in law for life, or until the legal termination of the relationship.”
In essence, “marriage” is a civil union between two persons of an age where they are legally able to consent to and enter into the contract, for the purpose of creating kinship, facilitating long-term cohabitation and having the ability to access all rights, privileges and liberties granted by law to both parties in the marriage. It is a liberty that every American enjoys….EXCEPT those in the LGBT community!
Measures such as California’s “Proposition 8: California Marriage Protection Act”(2) and the federal government’s 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)”(3) have been introduced by social conservatives and Dominionists in an attempt to solidify the traditional legal definition of marriage. Both of these measures have been challenged in court lately in respect to their constitutionality.
When the principles of DOMA and Proposition 8 are placed against the Pledge of Allegiance, we get something to the effect of; “…with liberty and justice for all, except gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.” Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t recall the Pledge reading that way. In my opinion, both DOMA and Prop 8 should be stricken down permanently, and “marriage” as a legal arrangement should be redefined to meet current demographic considerations.
From a theological standpoint, the tired arguments of the “Religious Right” appear at face value, to be nothing more than an attempt to force their own perceptions of the morality aspects of a belief system on others. As I recall, this was not the “Great Commission” that believers were given. The commission was to deliver the “Good News” of salvation through faith in Christ, not to force it upon others, either at the ballot box or otherwise. The addage that I have always equated to this is;
“You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. If you try to force the horse to drink, you will only succeed in drowning the horse.”
I have my own personal suspicions that this may be exactly what the people backing initiatives like DOMA and Prop 8 are attempting to do. They’re actively trying to “drown the horse.” More often than not, this endeavor is being undertaken with the same intolerance for the LGBT community that some of the forerunners, the great-great-grandparents of these same Fundamentalists and social conservatives, applied to African-Americans a mere century ago. The more one looks, the more similarities become apparent.
In regards to the “Great Commission,” the Bible instructs the believer to deliver the message of salvation to all who have ears to hear. In the “Parable of the Sower,” Jesus describes the varying results of delivering the Gospel, also referred to as “sowing the seeds:”
Mark 4:13 “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” (KJV)
Again, nowhere in the above passage do I read anything regarding forcing seeds to grow where otherwise they’re not meant to. Regardless of what I personally hold to be true about the Bible, faith, morality and such, it is not my place to force others to live by my beliefs.
Clint Eastwood, self-avowed Libertarian actor and former Mayor of Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, granted an interview to GQ magazine last month in which he stated the following:
“These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don’t give a [expletive] about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”(4)
I tend to agree.