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  • Ken Ilgunas

Banning Gay Marriage

Can’t you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we’ll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind! —Inherit the Wind

North Carolina is thinking about passing an amendment that will declare that marriage is between “one man and one woman [and that it] is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” This Amendment will, in other words, ban gay marriage. (Gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina law, but the opponents of gay marriage felt the need to include the ban in the constitution, too.)

Last week, Stokes County’s five county commissioners were scheduled to vote on whether or not to support the amendment. Their decision would have no legal bearing, but it would be a symbolic showing (or not showing) of support.

As well as writing a letter to the editor for the local paper, I delivered a speech to the commissioners protesting this resolution and amendment.

The people who are against the amendment—and there are many of us—point out how the amendment discriminates, how it makes a minority into second-class citizens, and to how it is unfair, unethical, unjust, and un-American.

What about the people who are for it? Basically it boils down to this: Jesus. ::cue high-pitched choir::

Here are some snippets from letters to the editors that have been featured in local newspapers:

“The Bible calls homosexuality an abomination. Abomination defined by Webster’s: something greatly disliked or abhorred. Sounds like God is against it. Let’s be what God is for, and against (abhor) what God is against and abhors.” Source “I’ll tell you why! It’s a sin and you know it is if you are a Christian. Athiest are afraid of Christians as they should be, because we have God on our side. Read the Bible. Source

“Our rights were given to us by GOD. I know too that many say they want Freedom from Religion, well we don’t have that, it is officially Freedom of Religion. Our Government is a Republic and not a Democracy and our Constitution is not a ‘Living Document ‘. Source

“Upholding the true dignity of human people requires renouncing those immoral behaviors that denigrate our likeness to God, because they do not reflect his divine nature. Neither does accepting and enshrining into law what he rejects in his divine moral law as written in Scripture…. Tampering with the authentic revelation of marriage will further erode the stability and security of the family and society and any redefinition of marriage is counterfeit and discriminates against God.” Source

“I believe that those who vote against Amendment One will do so because they do not believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority in distinguishing right from wrong, since they will be ignoring biblical teachings against homosexual behavior and fornication…” Source

There are a hundred more letters and speeches just like these. And those people who spoke in favor of the amendment at the county commissioner’s meeting had similar nonsense to say.

I’m tempted to call all these people insane, but I’d be giving them too much credit. Insanity is something we can’t control. Insanity is a disease that inflicts itself upon us. These Christians aren’t insane; they’re bigoted by choice. And they lack any sense of (reality-based) historical perspective.

How do they not see that this is Jim Crow for a different era, for a different minority? How do they not see—just as we segregated whites from blacks—that we’re now segregating straights from gays? Marriage is the new “no colors allowed” diner, the new front of the bus, the new voting booth. How do they not see—just as we laugh at and pity the racists of the ’60s and the slaveholders of a century before—that they, too, will one day be laughed at and pitied as backwards, ignorant, intolerant and prejudiced? This amendment—for all the talk about love and marriage and god and divine law and all these supposedly “high-minded” things—is nothing but bigotry, homophobia, and redneck ridiculousness. It’s plain old discrimination.

On a slightly unrelated note: How unbecoming it is in a person—a man especially—to worship another man! I’m sure Jesus shat, and masturbated, and bit his toenails, too. Why must we all slavishly live according to someone else’s teachings? Aren’t the dictates of our individual consciences good enough?

And what good is it when these Christians condemn a loose reading of the Bible, while completely cherry-picking some sections, disregarding others, and warping its words to fit the political agenda of the day?

Anyway, after a riveting public comment session at the Stokes County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the Amendment. The amendment will be put to a vote on the May 8, 2012 ballot, giving all of North Carolina eligible residents a say in the matter.

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