In 1791, the First Amendment was
ratified by the states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or promoting the free exercise thereof,” in
Jefferson’s words “thus building a wall of separation between church
and state.” All our Upper Mohawk Valley legislators, with the
lone exception of RoAnn Destito, want to impose their personal
religious doctrine on the rest of us. “Marriage is only between One Man
and One Woman!” they chant.
It sickens me to hear people using the
Bible or Christ’s Gospel to put down whole classes of people. There is
great harm inflicted on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
youth caused when religion is misused to justify prejudice,
discrimination and violence against people based solely on their sexual
orientation. Misusing religion in a way that subjects gay teens to
traumatic depression, fear, rejection, persecution and even physical
violence is one of the greatest moral failures of our times.
The majority of our local state
legislators are advancing this failure. It feels like they will grant
“those” people only this much and “they” should be grateful. Remember
the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s? It was called Jim Crow
and segregation. It’s happening again.
New York State Assemblyman David
Townsend went so far as to say, “you don’t see two bucks getting it on
in nature!” A homophobic, good ole boy, knee slapping reply if I ever
heard one! If he were better informed (or cared to read) he’d realize
that in fact you do see homosexual species in hundreds of other
animals, even deer. Perhaps with this grain of knowledge he’ll change
Should I grant some apparently
fair-minded leaders a bit of wiggle room? “I prefer civil unions,”
claim New York State Senators James Seward and David Valesky. Do they
see the inequality and injustice? What is a civil union anyway? Sounds
like a separate drinking fountain or being forced to the back of the
bus. Certainly it is less than marriage.
In New Jersey, insurance companies
refused to grant benefits to partners of “civil unionized” couples
because they weren’t married. Vermont realizing the disparity voted to
do away with civil unions, converting them to the equal status of
marriage. Many cannot “freely exercise” their religion because
they would allow LGBT members to wed. Highlighting how our errant
legislators are allowing the minority to abuse the Constitution by
forcing their faith over those allowing gays to marry (United Church of
Christ, Unitarian Universalist, some Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian,
Methodist and Jewish faiths).
The answer is clear and should be
acceptable to everyone—allow all couples the right to a civil marriage.
Churches, synagogues, ashrams, temples and mosques may or may not then bless these unions as they see fit.