Religious-based restriction of gay marriage has no constitutional base
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 22:09
Religion is intruding on the rights of Americans.
A majority of Americans practice and believe in some sort of a Judeo-Christian religion. It's our natural inclination to vote for someone who is similar to us and to have our nation's leader share our morals and values. The Constitution protects our right to bend our knees everyday and pray to any God that we choose. That same Constitution also protects civil liberties and prevents a religion from infringing on these rights.
The best example of this infringement is the issue of gay marriage. Millions of Americans are missing out on their rights because of lawmakers' religious persuasions guiding laws for a secular country.
Let the churches decide whom to perform marriage services for, but don't let those decisions affect the 1,338 federal rights and protections couples get under the civil concept of marriage, rights that are not obtained through civil union.
These rights include: social security, disability, retirement, medical leave, worker's compensation, tax exemptions, and the right to visit loved ones in the hospital or make decisions in fatal medical situations.
This issue shouldn't be about America's fear of social change or issues of faith and religious doctrine. This issue is about alienating Americans by passing laws that go against everything this country stands for.
With the election year imminent, Republican presidential nominee Michele Bachmann has made her view on gay marriage clear. She likened the issue of gay marriage to Pearl Harbor soldier Orville Ethier unsuccessfully warning U.S. military control of an imminent Japanese attack: "Today we face perhaps the greatest attack on the family in our lifetime. Now is OUR time to stand up and send a message to avert an equally impending disaster."
This statement uses words like ‘attack' and ‘disaster' and, taken out of context, one may believe this quote was about foreign policy.
In reality, she's speaking of someone's right to love and marry and visit that loved one in the hospital. Bachmann can pray to whomever she wants, she can go to whatever church she wants and she can try and "pray the gay away" all she wants.
She has the right to do those things. She doesn't have the right to let her religious convictions impede on the fundamental rights of those whom she does not like.
Dr. Peter Bergerson of the Division of Public Affairs here at FGCU comments on the issue of legislation passed that restricts gay marriage.
"It doesn't reflect the values that generally the U.S. has stood for."
Dr. Bergerson also suggests that these hot topics are usually just political devices for campaigns. "For the most part it's used to rally a political party's base, it becomes campaign policy and it attracts people to their cause. Social norms are changing, and change is difficult for some groups and they feel threatened."
But using government as a catalyst to fight against the changing nature of social norms and cultural evolution is wrong, especially when it involves leaving a whole group of citizens without rights that are promised by our government.
Times are changing and fighting it only leads to a more divided and hostile America. Let's give everyone the same rights we all want to enjoy ourselves. Who was it who said, "Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them"?
Collin is a senior majoring in English. He enjoys writing on topics such as nutrition, society and the environment. Collin also enjoys writing long fiction.