Late last night, I decided to check on the status of the marriage equality bill currently making its way through the state House of Representatives. The bill has already passed the Senate, but is facing its greatest challenge yet in the House, with last night’s vote being whether or not to advance the bill out of committee. Looking at the vote tally (it did make its way out of committee, thankfully), I was curious as to who voted against it. As I suspected, one of the dissenting votes came from Renée Kosel, the woman who has been the state representative for my hometown district since 1997. Her reasoning, again, as I suspected was that “the bill runs counter to her faith.” Sigh.
When will public servants realize that their own personal faith should have nothing to do with what the law of the land should be? To say, “it’s against my faith, so I don’t think this should be the law” is essentially saying, “I believe in x, and that’s protected by my right to religious freedom; and while you may not believe in x, I’m going to force my religious beliefs on you under penalty of law.” Isn’t that hugely flawed? Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, but you don’t see anyone proposing a law that would make the sale of beef and chicken on those days illegal, right? And why is that? It’s because it would be absurd to do that – just like it’s absurd that someone’s personal religious beliefs should be forced on others when it comes to marriage equality.
Speaking of religion, and those who proclaim that their opposition to marriage equality stems from simply a desire to “preserve the original intent of marriage;” have these people read that 2000 year old book they claim to follow?
The below comes from patheos.com, outlining the “biblical definition of marriage”:
Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.
When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).
A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).
A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually heirs, so they were safe outlets for sex without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).
A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.
A male rapist and his victim
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.
A male and female slave
A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.
and of course …
Monogamous, heterosexual marriage
What you might think of as the standard form of marriage, provided you think of arranged marriages as the standard. Also remember that inter-faith or cross-ethnic marriage were forbidden for large chunks of biblical history.
So which is it? Whose form of marriage are you trying to preserve? The hypocrisy is astounding. Shame on you.