Last week, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision that struck down laws against gay marriage, and thus made marriage for any couple the law of the land. This was, naturally, greeted with mostly cheering and rejoicing, as couples, in some cases couples together for decades, were finally allowed to be married to their partners. It was truly overwhelming, and for once, we could all finally sigh and say the good guys won this one.
Unfortunately, not everyone is seeing it that way. And religious freedom is being cited by some as a reason why gay marriage not only shouldn’t be allowed, but is damaging to both America and democracy. In short, they’re full of shit. In long, well, that’s why we’re here.
Naturally, the case was very close, and the decision was a 5-4 vote in favor of marriage equality, which means that it was dangerously close to going the other way, but I and many others held out a firm hope that the swing votes would see the truth behind this situation. That truth is very simple, the first amendment trumps the Bible.
There’s been lots of reason thrown out as to why gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed, with the prominent ones all citing God or the Bible as the main reason. I’ve heard some far fetched ones, including some citing the Romans accepting gays as being key to their downfall, which is…I don’t even have a response for that. Either way, most arguments come back to some kind of religious sentiment. Which is exactly why the Supreme Court made the right decision.
The first Amendment clearly states that the government shall pass no law respecting the establishment of a religious institution. It’s literally the first line. Which means that the Government can’t pass laws for solely religious reasons. Which is, unfortunately for these types of people, the only reasons they have.
That definitely hasn’t stopped people from arguing. The dissenting opinions on the SCOTUS itself were horrific, the prominent ones coming from notable conservative judge Antonin Scalia, who went as far as to say that the ruling would weaken the power of the Court. While Clarence Thomas, whose own marriage used to be illegal, argued that dignity cannot be taken away from the Government, specifically saying that slaves didn’t have their dignity taken away from them, DESPITE THE FACT THEY WERE OWNED BY ANOTHER PERSON. Heavens.
Multiple GOP hopefuls have also flat out said they won’t accept this ruling. Bobby Jindal has said gay marriage isn’t like interracial marriage, because Christians aren’t racist. Mick Huckabee, who apparently hasn’t been told we aren’t a Christian nation, has been on the warpath since the ruling, which, as of this writing, has been a whopping three days. He’s flat out endorsed civil disobedience, encouraging state officials and employees to disregard the federal ruling and to stand by their religious principles. This is no real surprise, honestly, as Huckabee has established himself as the extreme right religious candidate in his early campaigning for an election still over a year away. His bellowing about religious freedom has been going on for years, and he’s definitely not one to shy away from horribly insensitive commentary, including saying he wishes he ‘felt like a woman’ during High School so he could shower with the girls. In short, fuck you, Mike Huckabee, you’re literally the embodiment of everything wrong with organized religion and politics in general.
Unfortunately, he’s hardly the only one doing this, Texas, big surprise, has had almost all of its top officials reject the ruling, encouraging similar behavior. Greg Abbott, the governor, almost immediately released statements rejecting the SCOTUS decision, saying that no man has the right to rewrite God’s word. He then issued directives basically telling all state officials and employees to disregard the SCOTUS decision if they felt that it all violated their religious freedom. Abbott also famously passed the Pastor Protection Act, which was established so gay couples couldn’t sue pastors who refused to marry them. Good ole’ Abbott, always looking out for the little guy.
But the buck doesn’t stop there! Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, during a church appearance on Sunday, said, “I’d rather be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of my belief and faith,” which really sums up his stance. He also, before the decision, made a point to ask the Attorney General what state officials could do if they opposed gay marriage, should the ban be struck down.
Then the Attorney General himself basically echoed Huckabee and Abbott’s statements, saying that any state officials should absolutely stand by their convictions and not issue same sex marriage licenses. Meaning that ALL THREE of Texas’ top officials have endorsed civil disobedience. The hat trick!
Here’s my issue with what they are saying…no one is redefining biblical marriage, which itself is hardly defined as one man and one woman, but the SCOTUS was just smart enough to realize that since we live in a land of religious freedom…you can’t use ONE religion to define marriage. Christian marriage is still one man and one woman in your eyes? Cool. Keep thinking that, but not everyone is Christian, which is a major fucking lesson these assholes need to learn. The fact they don’t see the irony in restricting society to their religious views is pathetic to me. Part of the reason this country was founded was because we thought the Church of England was bullshit, but here we are, just over 200 years later and these assholes want to enforce Christianity on everyone.
And that’s exactly why I think objecting to same sex marriage under the guise of religious freedom is absolute horse shit. Unless you are literally telling state officials to not give a license to ANY marriage you don’t agree with, then you’re just picking the ones you think are really icky. A Christian ‘shouldn’t’ approve of a Muslim marriage, a Jewish marriage, an atheist marriage, etc. But yet…Abbott isn’t telling his employees and officials to ‘stand by their convictions’ when it comes to those, because he’s WELL AWARE he’d never get away with that. So are people like Huckabee, Patrick and Paxton.
That’s always been one of my biggest fears with religious freedom laws, they open the door for active discrimination not just against homosexuals, but against ANY religion or group said person doesn’t like or agree with. And the fact Abbott and the other GOP goons AREN’T attacking other non-Christian religions or telling officials who don’t agree with divorce to not process divorce papers, or any other things the ‘Bible’ ‘says’ are ‘wrong’ proves this isn’t about religion. Or if it is, they’re just massive fucking hypocrites. Which admittedly, they are.
In short, you are fully allowed to disagree with gay marriage, it’s allowed. However, you aren’t allowed to use that disagreement to deny them the rights you enjoy. That’s literally the definition of discrimination. We are not a Christian nation. We never have been. The Bible isn’t the law of America. Banning gay marriage isn’t going to magically make people stop being gay either. It just exposes you for the bigot you are. Being ‘forced’ to coexist with gay people isn’t an attack on your religion. No more than you being ‘forced’ to coexist with Muslims, Jewish people or Buddhists. There’s no attack on Christianity in America, just like there’s no War on Christmas and just like there certainly wasn’t a War of Southern Independence, but more on that next time.