Debunking one of the religious right’s favorite anti-marriage untruths

Sorry to post another video, but I found a good one over at Sullivan. 

The untruth at question is the claim that gay marriage somehow abridges religious freedom. It’s a joke, really; nobody is saying that any particular church or religion will be forced to marry gays if that is against their (small-minded and Biblically selective) principles. So that is a null issue. The video above goes on to explain that all of those common rejoinders against gay marriage in the “religious freedom” vein really have nothing to do with the legality of gay marriage. I know I’d heard the sob story about Boston Catholic Charities having to close because it wouldn’t place adoptions with gay parents. What I didn’t know was that 

  • Boston Catholic Charities didn’t “close,” it just closed down its adoption services.
  • This had nothing to do with Massachusetts’ gay marriage laws, but rather federal and state statutes against discrimination
  • …Which Boston Catholic Charities was obliged to honor because it accepted (and accepts) federal and state money. If Boston Catholic Charities really wanted to keep providing adoption services while maintaining their discrimination against gays, they could have stopped accepting money from gay and lesbian taxpayers (like our other favorite homophobes, the Mormons, who don’t take federal money for their adoption-related charities). 

 

When the California Supreme Court permitted gay marriage, it specifically said that no religion would have to marry gays if it did not want to.

When the California Supreme Court permitted gay marriage, it specifically said that no religion would have to marry gays if it did not want to.

The idea that allowing gay people to marry somehow takes freedom away from anyone is ludicrous, but the religious right continues to use this talking point as a scare tactic to stir up anti-gay sentiment. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand the refusal on the part of those fanatics to engage in any type of critical thinking – this is incredibly simple stuff. Gay marriage will not restrict or change any religious group’s freedoms; violating anti-discrimination provisions attached to government money will. So if you’re really that much of a hater, don’t take government money. Another thing that people tend to forget about (and that was not mentioned in the video) is that “marriage” is not necessarily a religious institution. Atheists or other non-religious people have always been able to get married. The certificate of marriage has nothing to do with any religious authority; clergymen can sign a wedding certificate, but so can any civil justice of the peace (or various other state authorities). “Marriage” is just as much a civil institution as a religious one, and it really makes me mad that people don’t accept it as such. If I, for one, ever choose to get married, you can count on the fact that there will be zero religious presence in any ceremony/signing/whatever. As an atheist, my hypothetical marriage will be a completely civil, having nothing to do with religion. So why not let gays have similar, non-religious and 100% civil marriage? I just don’t get it.

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