Last week The New York Times published an op-ed declaring, “I’m Holding Firm Against Gay Marriage.” The opinion piece was written by the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. He states,
“Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?”
I’m guessing the “sincerely held religious belief” is that gay people do not deserve the same rights as straight people.
Freedom of religion is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. The 14th amendment explicitly states,
“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
This amendment was put in place to prohibit discrimination. Governor Jindal is arguing people should be allowed to discriminate against the LGBTQ community because of their religious views. But what about the rights of the LGBTQ community as citizens of the United States? Why do they not deserve equal protection?
He also claims that Christians are being bullied.
Just before my husband and I left for our honeymoon, we received a letter from a member of my extended family. This person wrote that he/she was sure we could understand why he/she can’t view our commitment as a marriage. It was an extremely hurtful letter to receive from a member of my family, someone I loved and respected.
In that moment, the only person being bullied was me. Bullied simply because I had decided to marry the man I love.
Last year, I attended the wedding of a good friend with my husband. One of his cousins used the “f” word multiple times in front of us. (If you don’t know what that is, google ‘gay f word’.) It eventually dawned on her it’s not a word we like to hear, and she apologized.
Hearing that word or being called that word doesn’t offend me, it hurts me. There is a difference. People are offended when an acquaintance forgets their name or says their haircut is ugly. There are certain words designed to hurt people. That ‘f’ word is one of them.
These are just two examples of hundreds I’ve experienced. It is still incredibly common for LGBTQ people to encounter hate and discrimination, whether at a wedding, walking down the street or simply opening up the mail.
Passing a “no gays allowed” bill pours salt in these still fresh wounds. What Jindal doesn’t understand (or maybe he does and just doesn’t care) is that advocating against marriage equality is bullying the LGBTQ community. He is out there name-calling, suggesting we are lesser than the rest of U.S. citizens.
Jindal is using his power as governor to pass the “Marriage and Conscious Act.” This act “protects” any Louisiana resident from having to provide services to a gay person. Essentially, Betty, the pizza maker, won’t have to make a rainbow-colored pizza for a gay wedding.
We don’t want your damn pizza, Betty. Nobody gets pizza for a wedding anyway.
The Bible never specifically condemns marriage between two men or two women. Some people interpret these marriages as forbidden because of some other passages in the Bible, but it is only that: their personal interpretation.
Condemnation of marriage between two men or two women is written nowhere in the Bible.
It’s very possible you were told that this type of marriage is sinful or wrong growing up, so that’s why you believe it to be true. This would then make it your personal belief, not your religious liberty. And I am not aware of any law that protects you from discriminating against someone based on your personal beliefs. In fact, I think there are several laws prohibiting that.
This week SCOTUS held a historic hearing, listening to arguments for marriage equality. They are expected to rule on the case in June. Assuming the ruling goes in favor of equality, marriage will be legal for us in all 50 states. A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal determined that over 50% of the US population is in favor of legalizing marriage. This is a significant increase in support compared to 1996 when only 25% of Americans were in favor of equal marital rights.
Things are getting better for us. Hopefully within a few months, the Supreme Court will stand on the right side of history, and the legality of marriage in the United States will no longer be up for debate.
Read the full version of Governor Jindal’s article here: