Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages are now legal in all states and all states have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The ruling is especially relevant to me, living in Texas but married to my partner of almost 16 years in another state. It’s a great day for civil rights in the United States, but that’s not my reason for this post. I’ve noticed that the ruling has had a positive effect on the religious right: suddenly, they’re a lot more honest about their true motives than they have been. Let me explain.
Christian conservatives have their panties in a bunch over the ruling. Like many arguments you hear from those quarters, there’s a lot of spin and obfuscation. Some are claiming that a majority voting on the rights of a minority is a foundational part of our government. As Ben Franklin said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Other conservatives claim that states’ rights are paramount and same-sex marriage should be an issue left to the states. Ironically, the case was ruled on the 14th Amendment, which became part of our Constitution precisely because the states were abusing the rights of their people. Maybe they would prefer to have the Confederate flag above the U.S. flag on their government buildings.
In a refreshing bit of honesty, conservative Texas politicians are finally admitting that same-sex marriage has been about religion all along. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, Texans’ fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.” Nothing scandalous there. That’s what the advocates of same-sex marriage had been saying all along. Texans are still able to go to churches that condemn gays and fomenting hate. No church has to marry a same-sex couple. They can still thump their Bibles about gays, ignoring what the Bible says about witches, Jews, abortion (i.e. nothing), Amelekites, eating shellfish, figs, talking donkeys, Lot making babies with his married daughters, golden hemorrhoids, or anything that doesn’t make them money. We all know it’s not about Biblical integrity. It’s about spinning and interpretation to advance your agenda. Yes, Gov. Abbott, all that hasn’t changed.
What has changed is Christians can no longer point at gays and say they’re less in the eyes of the law and therefore Christians are somehow better. Legally, Christian marriages are exactly the same as same-sex marriages, even if same-sex marriages aren’t primarily about manufacturing the next generation of tithing believers. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has never made a major decision without getting a green light from God, stated, “It has been said that those who oppose gay marriage are on the wrong side of history. I would rather be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of my faith and my beliefs. I believe I am not alone in my view in this country.” I’m sure Dan would have been among those religiously opposed to interracial marriage, too, back in 1967, when Loving vs. Virginia was handed down. Where are those people now? They’ve either died, became less bigoted, or are now ostracized as the lunatic fringe. This too, will be the fate of Dan Patrick’s kind and I think this is the real reason the conservative Christians are quaking in fear of gay rights. The smell of obsolescence is in the air.
Gov. Abbott, Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton, Dan Patrick, and many other state legislators have expressed grave concern over the religious freedoms of Christian clerks in county marriage offices. The rights of such clerks (to put their private religious beliefs above their jobs) shall not be infringed. It is their God-given right to shove their nasty religion down the throats of anyone within their power. I have yet to hear a single conservative religious freedom “advocate” express the smallest bit of concern for the religious freedom of those minority religions who have never had an issue with same-sex marriage or those, like me, who think Christianity is steaming pile of horse manure. I never hear these folks support my analogous right discriminate against Christians because of my deeply-held beliefs (not that I’d want to). All of these people, elected to represent all Texans (or Americans), clearly have a conflict of interest and are thus unfit for public office.
So there you have it. The issue with same-sex marriage was, is, and always will be about the religious privilege of Christians. It’s nice that they are finally being more honest about it.