A core principle for our government is the separation of church and state. Tuesday many states showed that the American people believe that it is acceptable to single out a group of people and deny them equal rights. They are wrong.
The ballot measures passed this Tuesday make the election bittersweet. The right person was elected president, and America showed their distrust and disgust with the way things have gone in Washington.
Why, then, such a backwards-facing and hateful election in the state arena? Keep in mind that 50% of the United States was voting for McCain. This after terrorist accusations, false socialism fear mongering, blatant hypocrisy and political scandal all at the forefront of their campaign. For me, in hindsight, the question isn’t why Obama won, but why wasn’t this race a landslide in the popular vote?
Racism? Ignorance? Intolerance? Fear? Discrimination? Fox News?!
They are alive and well in America. Americans everywhere made it clear that they don’t understand the difference between a Muslim and a terrorist. They made it clear that honesty is low on their list of priorities when it comes to choosing a presidential candidate. We learned that the content of someone’s character still competes with the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. And we learned that 50% of this nation is pretty easy to mislead if you say the right lies.
Yet we claim to be ready for change. Yeah, right. Maybe when it’s convenient for us.
We still have a lot of work to do. We have a lot to answer for and a lot to live up to. The conservative movement has damaged us, and tricked this country into abandoning two key values in many areas – separation of church and state and equality.
How can we claim to be REAL Americans when we try to create laws that impose religious beliefs on others? The constitution doesn’t say all are created equal with an asterisk. You aren’t exempt for your rights as an American if you’re Muslim or gay. You don’t make exceptions to these ideals when it suits your homophobia or religious intolerance.
Even in the highest court of our land, Larry Flynt was defended for freedom of speech. Even a pig has rights. And he said something very important that we should remember: “Majority rule only works if you’re also considering individual rights. Because you can’t have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.”
States should not have the power to trample individual rights. States with homogenized demographics and little or no minority representation should not have the power to amend their constitutions to deprive people of their right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.
So with this marriage thing — what is considered by most to be a religious institution should not be influenced by laws. State and federal rights for married couples should be completely blind to religion or value systems. In fact, in many countries such as Germany this is a clear and obvious line that has to be drawn.
What if someone belonged to a religion where it was common practice to support gay marriage, and it was a part of the beliefs of that church? Would it still be okay to prevent members of that religion from getting married?
The laws passed in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida and California are not really American at all. They subscribe to the same old beliefs that our ancestors ran from when they escaped religious persecution in England. They perpetuate the same hate and discrimination found at the center of our last civil war. These laws tear the fabric of freedom and what our country was founded on.
No matter which way you cut it, those ballot measures are being used to divide us and take rights away from a group of people who should be considered equal.
2 thoughts on “Marriage should fall under the First Amendment”
Interesting that you mention Germany. An even more clear example for laicism is France, where church and state are much more clearly divided than there.
That being said, it took Germany until 2001 to make a law for civil unions. Even after that, a civil union does not equal a marriage in some senses, for example when it comes to income tax, and the right to adopt children. Changes in that direction are still being heavily discussed and are far from generally accepted. Three states even fought the law in question at the constitutional court but lost.
Nonetheless, most of Europe (except Poland) have civil union laws now; Ireland, Italy and Greece discuss it. One of the strongest and most influential opponents there is the Catholic church.
Hear hear. I really hoped that the country would start becoming more progressive with the election of Obama. It’s one step forward, one step back. Still a big step forward, though 😀
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