Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rights. For everybody.

This was in response to a letter to the editor in the Denver Post.  I wanted to submit it, but it was impossible to write a well reasoned and articulate response in 150 words...  

Therefore I'm posting it here.

I know this is typically my daddy blog, but this is an issue that many parents face, as Republican Senator Robb Portman recently did.  I hope my son can look at this one day and understand this as a civil rights issue, an issue of treating every human with respect and granting all men and women the exact same rights - simply because they are human beings.

Re: “Should Gay Marriage be legal in Colorado,” March 16, 2013 letters to the editor.

To state that declaring unconstitutional the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman is “an insult to Catholics, evangelical Christians and others whose religious beliefs are consistently being ignored” shows a willful lack of knowledge of The Constitution, the history of this country, and the nature of individual rights.  

Our founders did not construct The Constitution to suit Catholics, evangelical Christians or, for that matter, any religion.  Perhaps it’s helpful to remember their rebellion was against a nation with a state religion, something every founder had spoken and written against.

Secondly, the history of our nation has shown an overwhelming deference to American Christians.  It would be good to remember that the First Amendment guarantees the government will not infringe upon your right to practice your religion.  If two men are allowed to marry, in no way should it affect your ability to pray, congregate, worship, and pass along your belief in discriminating against others.

(I don’t recall the nuns in my elementary school or the Jesuits in high school teaching me anything about Jesus’ hatred for gays, or anyone for that matter.) 

The First Amendment also protects the government from religion… all religion, not only the ones you agree with, but the ones you disagree with.  The hundreds of millions of dollars that churches pumped into Prop 8 in California (in particular, one single church based a state away) blurs the line that separates religion and government and directly violates the tax exempt status of churches who are forbidden by law to fund legislation like Prop 8.  Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion.  No gay rights group could possibly compete financially with organized religious institutions. 

Finally, the assertion that giving gay and lesbian Americans the same rights as every other American is giving them special rights shows a blatant bigotry and lack of empathy and perspective.  Legislating who can have what rights and under what conditions is hateful and bigoted.  It undermines the very  idea of  America.  Insert the word “black” or “negro” or “Hispanic” or “Asian” in place of “gay” and you will see just how wrong it is to use religious freedom to deny equal rights to all citizens.  These are not “extra” rights. 

To give someone the rights you enjoy is not giving them “extra” rights, nor does it negate or lessen those rights you have long taken for granted.  It makes them stronger.

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