Sunday, May 10, 2009
RELIGIONS SHOULD STAY OUT OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LAWS
On May 6th, Governor Baldacci of Maine signed into law a bill allowing same sex marriage. The Governor said, “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.” He went on to say, “This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs, it does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of church and state.”
Does this put the matter to rest in the State of Maine? Unfortunately, no. “We feel he kind of shortchanged us all,” said The Rev. Bob Emrich, pastor of Emmanuel Bible Baptist Church in Plymouth and a founder of the Maine Marriage Alliance, which opposes the law. “But that’s his prerogative. He’s the governor.” According to AP writer Glenn Adams, Marc Mutty of the Roman Catholic Diocese said challengers expect to get the go-ahead by May 21 to begin collecting signatures to get a referendum on the bill, which was signed Wednesday by Gov. John Baldacci. The Maine Jeremiah Project, a church based public policy group and The National Association of Marriage Enhancement are starting a petition drive to get the issue on the November ballot as a referendum question.
In my opinion, these church groups should really mind their own business! If church and state are to be separate, as provided by our Constitution, then they should stick to their own concerns rather than trying to foist their ‘worn out dogma’ on others. Nothing in this bill requires them to conduct same sex marriages. They can continue to do practice their faith as they so choose. The fact that they are trying to force their values on others is just another example of the evils of organized religion. Why must everyone live the way they want people to live? Why must they insist that they are right and everyone else is wrong? There are other religions belief systems and that is why separation is guaranteed. One could easily argue that the state should not accept religious marriage ceremonies as legal unless it is accompanied by a civil union as well. Why should marriage be only what these religious leaders claim it should be?
Yes, we are one nation under God, but we are not one nation under the Baptist or Catholic version of God. Christians need to get off this ‘everyone must believe as we do’ train. This attitude has caused the world way too much suffering and strife and division. Christianity is perhaps the only religion that purposely sets out to force others to act in its own image. Maybe if religions practiced the true meaning of their teachings and acted with tolerance, love and compassion towards others, the world just might be a safer place.