Gay Rights vs. Religious Rights: Who is Right?

flag_solider_sqaureIn the short time I was allowed to comment on the Daily Kos, I received the following response to one of my comments:

“But please understand that what you are doing is imposing your personal, RELIGIOUS morality on me, in a way that has absolutely no effect on YOU one way or the other.  My CIVIL marriage does not impinge on your RELIGIOUS rights in any way. But you are voting to deny ME civil rights because of your personal religion.”

I’ve heard this argument before as people defend the right of same-sex couples to be married and receive the recognition, rights and privileges of a legal marriage.  But this is simply not true.  In fact, it can have a great effect on many who disagree with same-sex marriage, to the point of civil penalties.  Let me explain.

For one, by legalizing same-sex marriage, you strip away parental rights within the public school system.  Here is an excerpt from Americans for Truth:

By the following year it was in elementary school curricula. Kindergartners were given picture books telling them that same-sex couples are just another kind of family, like their own parents. In 2005, when David Parker of Lexington, MA – a parent of a kindergartner – strongly insisted on being notified when teachers were discussing homosexuality or transgenderism with his son, the school had him arrested and put in jail overnight.

Second graders at the same school were read a book, “King and King”, about two men who have a romance and marry each other, with a picture of them kissing. When parents Rob and Robin Wirthlin complained, they were told that the school had no obligation to notify them or allow them to opt-out their child.

In 2006 the Parkers and Wirthlins filed a federal Civil Rights lawsuit to force the schools to notify parents and allow them to opt-out their elementary-school children when homosexual-related subjects were taught. The federal judges dismissed the case. The judges ruled that because same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, the school actually had a duty to normalize homosexual relationships to children, and that schools have no obligation to notify parents or let them opt-out their children! Acceptance of homosexuality had become a matter of good citizenship!

When same-sex marriage is legalized and taught in the public school system, what happens to the rights of those who disagree with it?  They are told not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.  But many who disagree with it do so on the foundation of religious freedom upon which the Constitution upholds.  Should parents have the right to refuse teaching that goes against what they believe in their faith?  And if they are denied that refusal, will the state help pay for alternative schooling?  No, as that would cause an outcry over state sponsored discrimination.  So where does that leave someone who can’t afford private school yet won’t be afforded the opportunity to refuse controversial instruction?

But like parents who lose their rights, it also strips away the right of some businesses who operate based on religious convictions or who use their convictions when choosing how they run their business.  For example, a Photographer in New Mexico “was found guilty…of breaking state law for refusing to take pictures of a lesbian ceremony.”  This photographer had told the lesbian couple that she only photographed traditional weddings.  What about her rights?  Why shouldn’t she be able to choose who she photographs?  And further, why couldn’t the couple simply choose someone else to photograph their wedding?  Why would they want a photographer to photograph their wedding who disagrees with the nature of their union? She was fined almost $7,000 and is currently appealing the decision.

Another example of this is when Catholic Charities was sued for not allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children from their agency.  Instead of complying with state law requiring them to adopt children to same-sex couples, they chose to stop adopting children to any couple, abandoning their founding mission.  The difficult thing with this case is that they were performing a public service in finding children homes.  Because they felt so strongly about their faith, they chose to stop altogether.  They had been in the adoption business for over 100 years.

There are more examples, including that of a Methodist retreat center who lost their tax exempt status and also a University of Toledo associate vice president who was fired for writing a column called “Gay rights and wrongs: another perspective.”

The end result here is that when same-sex marriage is legalized, the state has a duty to enforce it, which strips away rights of those who disagree with it.  So for those who say that there are no ramifications for those who disagree with it, they are clearly wrong.  And as same-sex marriage becomes legalized in more states, we will read even more accounts of people being punished for their religious beliefs.  Call it what you will, but sexual orientation, in the mind of this author, is not the basis for discrimination.  But we’ll save that topic for a later date.

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