Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Defeating gay marriage bans first step to restoring the democratic process

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Originally published on on Fri, 05/16/2008 – 9:02am

One of my scariest memories of 2004 (at least before November) was walking down the street in downtown Cincinnati. I was on vacation, well, at least a baseball, food, and blues music kind of vacation.

My friend and I walked up and saw a table and volunteers with petitions. Normally, I am one who thinks people should get on a ballot, even if I don’t agree with their philosophy – put all the names up and see who wins. So I didn’t instinctively brush off the idea of signing a petition.

However, this petition was different. The volunteer wanted us to sign a petition putting an initiative on the ballot for the fall election to ban gay marriage. In a split-second, my emotions went from “let’s help democracy” to “I am offended you want me to sign such a horrible piece of crap.” I told him there was no way I would ever sign something such as that.

I thought about this when after the announcement that the California Supreme Court had overturned the gay marriage ban, opponents were threatening a ballot initiative in California to reinstate the ban.

Clearly, the Ohio legislation in 2004 and the bills in other states did affect the presidential race. A bill in California probably won’t affect the Democrats winning in the state, but could prove an unhealthy distraction.

We do realize the Republicans will do anything to win elections, and some of that is politics. But when hatred for homosexuals or anyone else comes into the picture, a line has to be drawn.

We do find in this country — more so than in any other country on the planet with the possible exception of Vatican City — that hatred in the name of religion is accepted. The criticism of John McCain getting the endorsement of John Hagee and Rod Parsley has, for the most part, fallen on deaf ears in the MSM. The accusations range from racism to right-wing bias. But there is an unspoken reason why the press has behaved differently.

They are afraid of the right-wing preachers. Ever since the Moral Majority was created under the guise of Jerry Falwell and the rise of Pat Robertson, right-wing preachers have received special treatment by the MSM. And while Pat Robertson has had his share of cracks made by some in the mainstream press, he isn’t chastised for his outrageous statements. And their attention on Robertson hides more dangerous figures such as Hagee, Parsley, and James Dobson, among many others.

One disturbing trend in the latest “apology” from Hagee (other than the fact that his “apology” went to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights) is that he “apologized” for his anti-Catholic stance. His anti-Semitic remarks went unchallenged.

When George Stephanopoulos finally asked McCain about Hagee, McCain specifically referenced the anti-Catholic part, but spoke not one specific word on Hagee’s anti-Semitism. The only thing that came somewhat close was McCain saying, “I condemn remarks that are, in any way, viewed as anti-anything.” Anti-anything!? In other words, “if you’re pissed off, I apologize for whatever.”

Right now, the hatred of the right-wing controls the political process. They cry “activist judges” when they don’t like a decision. They cry and threaten retaliation when they don’t get their way. And they have the full backing of the establishment.

Only in this country can the radical agenda be two consenting adults of legal age and not related to each other who want to get married and build a life and the “accepted” view is to deny that.

Here are some issues the religious conservatives might want to consider:

— To pass a law denying something, there has to be a societal issue at risk to justify the law. There is a very good reason why courts are overturning these bans – because there is no societal risk. There really isn’t. You might claim there is a religious element, but you all said that 40 years ago when men and women of separate races wanted to get married.

— But let’s address your religious element. If you feel like gay marriage interferes with your right of religion – a stretch by any definition – then let’s look at that. You are against people of the same gender getting married for religious reasons, even if it agrees with their religion that they should get married. So your religion should overrule their religion.

— And within your religious element: you say lesbians shouldn’t get married. Not that I am a religious scholar, but there is no verse in the Bible that address lesbians. None. So according to your own teachings, women getting married to other women should raise no serious objection.

— Men, perhaps, might be a different story. I am aware of Biblical verses that are interpreted against homosexual men. But many of those same verses stem from sex of any kind outside of marriage, which according to those times includes adultery (especially second marriages), homosexuality, and masturbation. If your religious interpretation falls within this realm, you do have a religious right to hate homosexuals, adulterers, and those who masturbate. But when you focus on only one of the three categories, and pick on them because they are the easiest to target and have the least power, your hypocrisy shines brightly.

Sadly, religious freedom allows religious conservatives to have such hatred in their views. We consider that a price to pay so that others can worship their religions. But accepting hatred in the name of religion and incorporating it into our political structure weakens us as a nation. The first step to fight that is defeating gay marriage bans.


Written by democracysoup

May 16, 2008 at 9:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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