Wow, who would have thunk that my state of Indiana, my backward crimson red state, would ever have allowed gay marriage? I would have assumed we'd be one of the very last to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century!
Of course, our controlling Republican legislature didn't do it of their own free will. It took the actions of federal judge, Richard Young, to rule that our ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional (which incidentally is the same decision of every judge who has heard these suits across the country). And, of course, our attorney general is going to appeal the decision, and hoping for a stay while that process is going on.
But in the meantime, gay couples are filling the county clerks' offices in Indiana. And the majority of counties are performing same-sex marriages. These couples could find themselves in a legal limbo if the attorney general wins his appeal but bless those who are plowing forward - the more weddings that are performed, the harder it will be to regress. Even if it happens, I can just about guarantee that the governing powers will only win temporarily. They are on the wrong side of history and the culture so it is only a matter of time.
Because marriage is a civil right. The United States Declaration of Independence states as follows:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.I don't know a better definition of the Pursuit of Happiness than being able to declare your love for another through the sanctity of marriage.
And it's not like many straight couples aren't exactly role models for that sanctity, honoring it mostly in the breach, as they cheat and beat their spouses and get divorced as easily as going through a revolving door. So maybe it is a question of glass houses......
I've read many articles and blog posts about how fundamentalists believe they have copyrighted marriage and only they have the right to use the term or define who may or may not have their couplings blessed by God. That's fine. They have the right to believe whatever they choose but they do not have the right to force others to live by those beliefs.
In fact, the first recorded evidence of marriage occurred 4,000 years ago in Egypt. Back then, marriages were mostly done for the consolidation of power and wealth as high-ups married their daughters off to the sons of other prominent and affluent families.
Male bonding ceremonies used to be common, particularly in the Mediterranean areas. They included marriage prayers, holding hands at the altar and ended with a ceremonial kiss.
Religion didn't really enter in to marriage much until the collapse of the Roman Empire when church ceremonies took over for civil courts. As the Church grew more powerful in the Middle Ages, it claimed marriage for its very own.
In early America, marriages were extremely lop-sided. Men were the masters while women were considered property. Weddings were less about love and more about financial negotiations. (This is still true, of course, in many parts of the world). As women began fighting for equal rights, marriages eventually became the pairing of equals.
So conservative Christians don't "own" the concept of marriage. They can refuse to bless gay marriage. Their own churches can refuse to perform them but they can't mandate that other churches follow their lead. They are going to lose in the end as younger Americans....and even many of us old ones....don't see the big deal.
The future is here in Indiana. There may be some bumps in the road but they will only be temporary setbacks and to that I say, "yes, ALL men are created equal"!