Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-MAY: Part 4: Still more reactions,
mostly by U.S. religious leaders; some positive.
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
This is a continuation from Part 3
2012-MAY-08 and later: USA: Reactions by Americans to President Obama's disclosure (Cont'd):
The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy from the Interfaith Alliance holds a completely different position than the above three. He is pleased with President Obama's support of same-sex marriage. He said:
President Obama's affirmation of the right to same gender marriage today is an important and historic moment in the life of the nation. His statement shows that he understands his role is to protect Constitutional principles over sectarian ideology. While I appreciate that the president thinks his position is consistent with his faith -– a belief I have long held -- it is the Constitution, not his religion that should form the basis of his position
The continued denial of equality to the LGBT community is an anachronism in today's world. I hope and trust that the President will now lead us down a path towards public policy that codifies the right to marriage equality for the LGBT community." 1
lan van Capelle is CEO of Bend the Arc, a Jewish partnership for justice. He promotes same-sex marriage as a fundamental human right, and thus is supportive of President Obama's position. He said:
"Tonight when I go home and look at my six-month-old son it will be the first time I will be able to tell him that our president believes we are a family. For many Americans, this is a political issue. For millions more, it's deeply personal. I applaud President Obama for coming out in support of marriage equality. Today, he showed himself as a leader who is in step with a majority of Americans, and millions of people of faith all over this country who support the right of gay and lesbian people to marry, including 76 percent of American Jews. It is also particularly timely and gratifying in light of North Carolina's misguided, out of step vote to exclude LGBT couples and families from legal recognition. On behalf of my family and millions more, thank you Mr. President."
His reference to the North Carolina vote relates to Amendment One -- a stealth amendment that writes discrimination into that state's constitution. It was promoted by religious and social conservatives as a way of banning same-sex marriage. In reality, it was written to prevent the Legislature from recognizing relationships by same-sex couples in any way: civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc. Laws will only be constitutional if they view same-sex couples as legal strangers to each other -- as people who merely occupy the same living quarters. Most of the voters in North Carolina were unaware of the extensive denial of human rights as a result of the amendment. They thought that it would only ban same-sex marriage. More details about North Carolina's amendment.
The Rev. Mark Harris is president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He was one of the main promoters of North Carolina's stealth amendment. He said:
"It is really a fascinating turn of events to come out [on the issue] the day after the 31st state in the United States voted overwhelmingly that marriage, under our constitution, is between one man and one woman, and that will be the only domestic union recognized in the state."
"For the president to boldly state that 31 of our states have gotten it so wrong, that they believe so wrong, is absolutely a very fascinating decision to make. I have no idea of his rationale, of course I personally think he's wrong." 1
The Rev. Harris is apparently unaware of:
- Numerous recent polls that show a small but growing majority of American voters to favor making marriage available to same-sex committed couples.
- Numerous past polls extending over decades that have shown a gradual rise in support for, and a gradual dropping in opposition to, same-sex marriage.
- Arguments by many secularists, many liberal/progressive Christian groups, some mainline Christian groups, and others, that same-sex marriage should be human right.
Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate, said that President Obama's position on same-sex marriage contradicts teachings by the Catholic Church. He issued a statement saying:
"Once again, the President is spending time advancing an anti-Catholic agenda. Marriage was created long before any government came into existence. It is a settled issue in the eyes of the Catholic Church and should not be redefined,"
"First, the Obama administration takes away grant money helping victims of sex-trafficking over the Church refusing to refer the victims for abortions. Then the Obama administration violates our religious liberties by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as the President's health care law is being implemented. And now, should his advocacy for same-sex marriage succeed, Catholic institutions could be forced once again to violate our beliefs." 2
It is unclear how legalizing same-sex marriage would force the Catholic church or its institutions to violate their beliefs. Clergy and religious denominations have always had the right to deny marriage to any couple. In the past they have refused to marry couples for many different reasons, including physical disability. In those states where same-sex marriage has been made available, Catholic priests routinely refuse to marry same-sex couples without any problems.
Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA -- one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the U.S. He said:
"Although it has become popular to quote Scripture grossly out of context to serve a personal or political agenda, it still doesn't change what God's Word clearly states. ... The growing cultural acceptance of homosexual identity and behavior, male and female, is symptomatic of a broader spiritual disorder that threatens the family, the government, and the church. ... Homosexual activities of every kind are contrary to the moral commandments God has given us." 2
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis was interviewed in advance of a performance in Toronto, ON. When asked:
"You’ve fought for gay rights for years. What’s your take on President Barack Obama’s public declaration of support for same-sex marriage?" 4
It’s appropriate and timely that the President of the United States supports it. I’ve been waiting for him to demonstrate the leadership that I elected him to do and I feel very strongly now that he’s the right choice not only for our country but for me. That courage and leadership and statesmanship is exactly what I want for the president of my country. 4
Bristol Palin is a daughter of the former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Bristol now allegedly earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as an expert on teen pregnancy prevention! 5 She weighed in on a Pantheos blog with her thoughts on President Obama's evolution on same-sex marriage. She criticized the president for valuing his daughters opinion on some of their school classmates' families which are led by two parents of the same gender. She wrote:
"While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that -– as great as her friends may be –- we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.
Inthis situation, it was the other way around. I guess we can be glad that Malia and Sasha aren’t younger, or perhaps today’s press conference might have been about appointing Dora the Explorer as Attorney General because of her success in stopping Swiper the Fox.
Sometimes dads should lead their family in the right ways of thinking. In this case, it would’ve been nice if the President would’ve been an actual leader and helped shape their thoughts instead of merely reflecting what many teenagers think after one too many episodes of Glee." 6
Her blog received 2,847 mixed comments during the first four days.
The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) issued a statement on 2012-MAY-09:
"President Obama’s announcement today that he supports the right of same sex couples to marry is a courageous step forward in the direction of justice and equality for all Americans. I applaud the President’s decision to declare his support for the freedom to marry for all loving couples. Like many Americans, President Obama says his position on this issue has evolved over the years, and today it seems clear that the arc of the universe is bending toward justice."
"The Unitarian Universalist Association called for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in 1996. Unitarian Universalists will continue to stand on the side of love for marriage equality until the freedom to marry belongs to all." 7
This topic is continued in Part 5
These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Stoyan Zaimov, "Christian Leaders Not Surprised by Obama's Support of Same-Sex Marriage," Christian Post, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- Michael Gryboski, "Assemblies of God Opposes Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance," Christian Post, 2012-MAY-11, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- Diana Swift, "Obama’s affirmation of same-sex marriage strikes a chord," Anglican Journal, 2012-MAY-11, at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/
- Barbara Turnbll, "Jamie Lee Curtis feels 'stronger, smarter, faster' than ever," Toronto Star, 2012-MAY-14, at: http://www.thestar.com/
- Nick Chiles, "Bristol Palin Mocks the President and His Daughters," 5 Atlanta BlackStar, 2012-MAY-11, at: http://atlantablackstar.com/
- Brostol Palin, "Hailto the Chiefs -- Malia andSasha Obama," Patheos, 2012-MAY-10, at: http://www.patheos.com/
- Email from the Unitarian Universalilst Association on 2012-MAY-12.
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-MAY-09
Latest update: 2012-MAY-22
Author: B.A. Robinson