As the debate over same-sex marriage in Rhode Island ramps up yet again, I find that by-and-large, the strongest opposition is faith-based, rather than fact-based. I want to be clear that I make no attempt here to address the topic of religion, but rather the religion-independent issue of basic human rights.
An individual’s pride in their faith and the desire to spread it is one thing, but imposing it on others of dissimilar faith or view is another matter entirely. Isn’t freedom from that sort of thing really the reason this country exists? There is plenty of precedence in our history of laws that straddle the line between church and state – or that flat out leap over it. Yet for many years it has been possible to do your shopping on Sunday, and it has even become increasingly possible to purchase liquor on Sunday.
But when the issue at hand is same-sex marriage, why then, are so many of the belief that government must dictate what is or is not God’s will through legislation? And who’s God, yours or mine? It has been widely asserted that it is the governments’ duty to “Sanctify the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.” Since when is that the duty of government? Isn’t sanctification something for religious leadership to decide?
To all those who are of the opinion that our democratic government needs laws to disallow same-sex marriage as a result of their own religious beliefs, I ask two questions…
1) Do you eat pork?
Having been born and raised Jewish, I am well aware that pork is not kosher. The particularly observant of the Jewish faith do not eat pork for this reason. Leviticus and Deuteronomy (cough cough bible cough cough) tell us that pigs are unclean, disease-ridden animals. You can tell by that cloven hoof, don’t you know! Pigs are bad animals and eating pork is wrong, don’t even touch them! Be this God’s will! So what about some modern farming techniques where the animals are kept very clean? What if we were to genetically engineer pigs without the cloven hoof? But I digress…
So, Do you eat pork? If the answer is yes, then how about I spend a little more time imposing my beliefs on you?
Not going to change your mind? Okay, then maybe it’s high time I call my Senator and float an idea for legislation banning pork at the national level?
Hell, this is important! We need to put this shit in the constitution! How can we let our citizens just go around eating bacon, ham and prosciutto, flying in the face of God like that?
I bet you’re going to tell me that eating pork is not a crime, and that it would be silly to have laws banning it. Perhaps you’d tell me that If I don’t want to eat pork because of my religion, then I am free to refrain from doing so? Maybe you’d suggest that I stop trying to interfere with “normal” citizens’ right to eat whatever delicious pork products they want?
Well, you would be right. So my second question is…
2) Why do we have to make it so difficult for any two adult human beings who so choose, to marry and live happily ever after?