I got an email from the ultra-right-wing religious American Family Association yesterday that included the following claim:
“Once homosexual marriage is legal, our religious liberties will be stripped away. Even pro-homosexual marriage advocates agree with that statement.”
Well, gosh. I haven’t heard any advocates of marriage equality who have said that freedom to marry for all committed couples will strip religious liberty away from anyone. On the contrary, I’ve heard many point out that, because many religious groups believe in the sanctity of same-sex marriage, it is an attack on religious liberty to deny those religious groups to officiate marriages as they see fit.
It’s groups like the American Family Association that are trying to strip away religious liberty. Like the Massachusetts Puritans who hung Quakers for heresy, they’re determined to snuff out any dissent from their narrow interpretation of religion.
So, what do advocates for marriage equality actually say on expanding marriage freedom and religious liberty? Here’s a sample:
From Marriage Equality USA:
“Even after civil marriage becomes available to same-sex couples, churches will retain the right to decide for themselves whether to perform or recognize any marriage, just as they already do for every couple. No court decision or legislative enactment can change the basic tenets of religious faith. For example, some religions will not marry someone who has already been divorced, although the person is free to marry civilly. We respect the right of a faith to decide for itself what marriages it will embrace.”
“We respect the fact that debate and discussion continue in many of our religious communities as to the theological and liturgical issues involved. However, we draw on our many faith traditions to arrive at a common conviction: we are resolved that the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitments of civil marriage. We affirm the right to freedom of conscience in this matter: we recognize that the state may not require religious groups to officiate at, or bless, same-gender marriages. By the same token, a denial of civil recognition dishonors the religious convictions of those communities and clergy who do officiate at, and bless, same-gender marriages; the state may not favor the convictions of one religious group over another to deny individuals their fundamental right to marry and have those marriages recognized by civil law.”
From the Human Rights Campaign:
“Granting marriage rights to same-sex couples would not require Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other religions to perform these marriages. It would not require churches, synagogues or other religious institutions to permit these ceremonies to be held on their grounds. It would not even require that religious communities discuss the issue. People of faith would remain free to make their own judgments about what makes a marriage made in the eyes of God â€“ just as they are today.”
“Religious definitions of marriage are untouched by opening civil marriage to all couples, regardless of gender. Churches and other religious organizations can still marry people using the tenets of their faith. Inclusiveness in civil marriage will allow all Americans to be able to benefit from stable relationships, and committed partners, something Bush has already stated is an important to the health of our society.”
This is just a small sample of affirmations of religious liberty by marriage equality advocates. Thousands of such statements are readily available in online and offline resources. But, Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association didn’t want their supporters to know that. So, they lied. Donald Wildmon lied to his followers to keep them in line.
If you’ve ever made a donation to the American Family Association, and you’re still inclined to trust Donald Wildmon and his organization’s leadership, I encourage you to present a simple challenge. If Don Wildon was telling the truth, it should be easy for him to meet the challenge.
Ask Donald Wildmon to name one organization promoting marriage equality for all Americans that says it wants to strip away the religious liberty of right wing churches. Ask him to name just one.
Go ahead and make the call to the American Family Association, and see what they have to tell you: 1-662 844-5036