Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Judeo-Christian principles don't justify gay marriage/domestic registry ban

In reading today's Wisconsin State Journal's Opinion page, I was dismayed by one woman's strongly worded letter to the editor regarding the domestic partnership registry that is now law here in Wisconsin.

The woman, from the village of Argyle, WI, considered the registry a violation not only of the ban on gay marriage that passed in 2006, but also on her religious convictions:
Nowhere in scriptures, our country's Judeo-Christian ethic, does it say that two of the same sex constitutes a legal marriage. In fact, it condemns it in the Old and New Testaments.

We should not give illegally-yoked persons another reason to thumb their noses at those of us who believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. They have chosen unorthodox ways to express their sexuality and want society to pick up the tab for legal and medical "rights," among others.
There are two things wrong with this woman's statement: first, she wrongly believes that our nation's laws on morality are based off of Judeo-Christian ethics, found in the scriptures of the Bible. In fact, our laws, though they often coincide with those ethics, are in no way founded upon any religious establishment, but instead come from the inherent rights we have as human beings.

  • The First Amendment establishes that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
  • One of our nation's first treaties, the Treaty of Tripoli, asserts that, "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."
  • Thomas Jefferson wrote that we should establish a wall separating church and state in our country, and was in fact a fierce opponent of establishing any religion as the nation's own.

    These factoids (and many other examples) are indicative of our nation's founding having nothing to do with religious principles. Furthermore, were we indeed a Christian-based nation (in terms of the law), wouldn't the founding fathers have made it a little more obvious? We would, for example, see the word God appear in the Constitution at least once (instead of the zero times it appears in the document), or, in the Declaration of Independence, see clearer references to a Christian Creator rather than references to Nature's God (which implies a natural law rather than a Christian one).

    The second problem with this woman's statement is that she is being highly hypocritical. She seems to despise same-sex marriage advocates who "thumb their noses" at her while they are trying to make gay marriage legal. Despite this sentiment, she herself is thumbing her own nose at these advocates. She is imposing her will and her beliefs over a group of people that want nothing more than to have the same marriage benefits that straight couples have.

    The only difference is that, by imposing her will over gay and lesbian couples, she is creating a REAL barrier for same-sex couples to have to cope with; with same-sex marriage, however, nothing would change in her personal life -- the supposed imposition made by gays on straights would be superficial. The only thing that could really bother opponents of gay and lesbian marriages would be knowing that someone, somewhere could be having a homosexual relationship acknowledged as legitimate by the government. Heaven Forbid!

    The domestic partnership registry does no harm to any marriage, invalidates no existing relationship between straight couples who have sought to exchange vows with one another. Anyone who thinks otherwise should be spending more time loving their neighbor and less time on worrying what two men or two women do in the privacy of their own homes.
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