Many of us have been in the Marriage Equality war for a long, long time.
I remember a drag queen host taking the microphone at San Jose Pride about a dozen years ago. She saw a group with “Freedom to Marry” t-shirts, and with a twinge of sadness remarked, “Oh honeys, they are NEVER going to let us get married, ever. You may as well give that one up right now.” She was wrong.
As in all wars, there is a foe. In the United States, the foes tend to call themselves “Christians” and root their obsessive opposition in their particular interpretation of the Bible.
While these folks have had a series of wake up calls from the landmark 2012 elections where marriage equality won on the ballots in four states, to the earth shattering Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, the big anvil dropped in many of their states in these last few weeks.
The threat of same sex marriage was no longer looming as possible where they lived, it was now here, and here to stay.
Many have started to react. After a story about LGBT couples marrying, Idaho reporter Dani Hawkins bizarrely states that there are “two sides to this story” as if an anti-gay couple who has a Bible on their coffee table is personally affected by the weddings of others they don’t even know.
Hawkins presents Justin and Melanie Sease. Their “side” is to paint anti-gay statements on their car and to drive it around town in an attempt to humiliate gay people. Justin explains that his worry has a biblical origin. “The Bible says that when homosexuality is publicly accepted, basically it spreads like a cancer.”
In actuality, the Bible does not say anything about the public accepting homosexuality, nor does it say anything about a homosexuality spread, and it never mentions cancer. This is typical of the public conversations coming from the vocal “Christians.”
Misinformation, falsehoods and demonization have moved front and center displacing anything that even remotely resembles logic or reasonable discussion.
It has reached such a fevered pitch that it led The Pink Panthers Movement blogger Ken Jansen to plead with Christians at large, “Take a stand. Raise your voice, shout out to the world that not all people of faith are like the hate mongers that we keep hearing from. Prove to me that you believe in a religion of love. Give me at least a bit of hope that there is some love left in the world.”
Christian pastor and writer John Pavlovitz speaks about LGBT people he has heard from after he declared that should his children turn out to be gay, that he would unconditionally support them:
“What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally, to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families. Parents, children, siblings, and adults have confided in me (some for the first time anywhere), telling of the pain, and bullying, and shunning they’re received from churches, pastors, and church members; from professed followers of Jesus,” he said.
“Scores of people from all over the world have shared with me their devastating stories of exclusion and isolation, of unanswered prayers to change, of destructive conversion therapies, of repeated suicide attempts, and of being actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith,” said Pavlovitz.
I therefore submit the following six point guide for those people who have woken up in the past few weeks to find out that marriage equality has moved into the neighborhood.