Yesterday was a landmark day in the history of Illinois. To say that marriage equality has had a difficult road in this state would be an understatement. But finally we, as a state, join only 14 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing that all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve the right to be married.
Many of you know that I have supported this bill for marriage equality for some time now. I also know that many of you ask how a Christian can support anything that has to do with gay rights?
I am not the most eloquent of speakers or writers but I feel that I need to draw the line in the sand and give you my answer.
Plain and simple, whether or not a person can marry whom ever they want is not a matter of religion. As Christians, we have to remember that not everyone believes the same things we do. Our beliefs should not and can not dictate the rights, the legal rights of others.
We have to be mindful that the Bill of Rights of the United States lays out that the government shall "make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Is that not what we would be doing in part if the state banned marriage equality? Is not banning same sex couple from marrying based on religious beliefs?
Regardless of whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Shinto, if you want to get married in this state, you must have a license from the state. The church has no power to enforce a marriage with out the backing of the governing body. At every wedding ceremony I have ever attended, the pastor or priest ends with the phrase ". . . and now by the power vested in me by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you . . . ".
The state gave you the power to marry. The state can dictate who can marry.
The questions go beyond how can you dictate to another person who you can and can not love? It is about the right of couples to be fully recognized as a family.
How is it that the religious leaders of this state, that spoke up against this bill, have such an arrogance to think that they have the right to deny a same-sex couple the same rights as a heterosexual couple based on personal religious beliefs? How do those that spoke out against this bill think they have the control of who sanctions the institution of marriage?
My question to each one of the married folks out there is how does a gay couple having the same rights as you, infringe on your rights? How does the right to visit a loved one in the hospital infringe on you? Does a same-sex couple filing a joint tax return in any way affect you? How does a loving parent having the right to be listed as a parent on medical records, school documents, etc. have any bearing your family? How does a man being able to cover his loving committed husband on his health insurance hinder you from covering you family?
I'll tell you straight out - it doesn't.
If you think that same-sex marriage to going to some how infringe on your rights as a heterosexual couple - you are sorely mistaken. If you think that same-sex marriage is the down fall of humanity, I ask you to think again and really consider the logic you are using to defend your argument.
I have posted a link to the language of the bill and If you can read through the entire bill and point out where the rights of a same-sex couple should be denied - please I encourage your comments.
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