Or something like that.

From the way the American Family Institute makes it sound, The Gay is no less than the most perfidious of evils, perhaps even more frightening than Communism and feminism combined.

On June 6th the U.S. Senate will vote on the constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Time is short! It is critical that you contact your senators and ask them to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA).

Once homosexual marriage is legal, our religious liberties will be stripped away. Even pro-homosexual marriage advocates agree with that statement. To understand how this will happen, please take time read Dr. Maggie Gallagher’s rather long and accurate article by clicking here. Print it out and give a copy to your pastor!

Dr. Gallagher’s article is for the Weekly Standard, admittedly a conservative rag but considerably more nuanced than the AFA, which of course makes me laugh, because the article says, in effect, “The conflict between Church and State will be exacerbated by gay marriage,” while the AFA says “Oh sweet Jesus! If the homos win, then Christians will be completely disenfranchised and stripped of our religious liberties!” As you can imagine, there is a veritable chasm between Gallagher’s logic and the AFA’s.

Precisely because support for marriage is public policy, once marriage includes gay couples, groups who oppose gay marriage are likely to be judged in violation of public policy, triggering a host of negative consequences, including the loss of tax-exempt status. Because marriage is not a private act, but a protected public status, the legalization of gay marriage sends a strong signal that orientation is now on a par with race in the nondiscrimination game. And when we get gay marriage because courts have declared it a constitutional right, the signal is stronger still.

The method and the mechanism for achieving protected status may be different for orientation and for race. Even the Massachusetts supreme court, for example, declined to rule explicitly that orientation is a protected class, subject to strict scrutiny. But in Massachusetts, the end result may be similar. If state courts declare gay marriage a constitutional right, they are likely to see support for gay marriage as state public policy.

On the cultural level, the declaration by a court that only animus explains why anyone would treat two men differently from a husband and wife represents an unfolding civil rights logic that has real consequences. As Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman put it, “But if you give one church permission to discriminate against gays, what’s next? Permission to discriminate against blacks or Jews who want to adopt?”

This, I feel, is the crux of the problem. As I recall, “religious liberty” is the freedom to worship without fear of repression, not the right to apply this or that religious precept at the intersection of faith and public policy. Faith is not a magic pass to discriminate against whoever you want: the “inalienable rights” of American democracy trump any perceived right by churches and church members to exclude or persecute people based on their race, orientation, &c. One of Gallagher’s examples—the recent trouble with Catholic Charities of Boston being forced to either adopt children to gay couples or get out of the adoption business altogether—underscores my point: “religious liberty” in the case is synonymous with “discrimination.” There’s no evidence that gay parents only raised troubled children, or only raise gay children, or are sexually abusive. These are all canards perpetuated by hysterical fundamentalists who view homosexuality as sort of evil that warps and twists the soul, as if homosexuality was The Dark Side, or something. Well, put away the lightsabre, Obi-Wan: if your only reason for excluding gay couples from helping this nation’s tragic surplus of orphans is because some officious ass in a funny robe says that it’s a sin, then no, you don’t get that right. You can blast homosexuals and feminists and whoever your want in your pulpits; your priests can refuse to marry gay couples; however, discrimination in the public square is not a prerogative or a religious liberty.

Georgia just overturned the gay marriage ban that its slackjawed consituents voted for in 2004 (based on a technicality, however). I don’t think that this marriage amendment is going to get anywhere in the Senate. The majority of senators might not be for gay marriage, but I’m guessing a majority is against a constitutional amendment specifically proscribing it.

§1134 · May 18, 2006 · Tags: , , , ·

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