Laura G Owens ~ Writer

Humanity. Health. Happiness.

Tag: Same Sex Marriage

Supreme Court rules for baker in same-sex wedding cake case. Not a clear win for either side.

Marry who you love.

Marry who you love.

This is an interesting yet ambiguous Supreme Court ruling. It’s not a clear win for social conservatives or the LGBTQ community.

A baker in Colorado refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding citing religious objections.

He says he has no problem selling a gay customer baked goods. But he refuses to bake a wedding cake due to his beliefs.

The Court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was intolerant and hostile towards religious beliefs based on comments the CCRC made while they reviewed the case.

They did not however, rule that refusing service to a gay person was Constitutional. Same-sex marriage is legal in all states.

This leaves room for future lawsuits by LGBTQ citizens refused service, but it also demands a tone of respect and religious tolerance by lower courts and commissions.

“These disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Justice Kennedy.

Okay I’m all for religious tolerance. Believe what you want. Until your belief stomps on Constitutional rights.

Because in no world is it okay to deny service to a gay couple who want to purchase items for their marriage. That’s not a religious belief without consequence. It’s discrimination. Period.

So let’s for a moment pretend I’m a baker.

My faith tradition happens to include doctrine that says HETEROSEXUAL marriage is sinful. Why? Because my God/god said so, as recorded in my faith’s sacred text.

Feels wrong, doesn’t it?

But forget that for a minute. Let’s look at religious objections to gay marriage. What’s the core belief?

Because God through sacred text, the Bible, commands that sex is for marital procreation. To make babies. Same-sex couples can’t make babies, therefore same-sex — sex, is against God’s will, against “natural” law.

Fine.

Then anyone who has religious objections to same-sex marriage for the *above reason (see footnote) should stop using birth control or stop having sex.

Right? Sex as commanded by God is to make babies.

Seems reasonable (note sarcasm).

Come on.

Younger generations are laughing, not out of disrespect for religion or lack of faith, out of disgust over an archaic belief that views a LGBTQ person as less inherently (and Constitutionally) deserving of marital rights.

Younger generations (and people who believe as I do) are saying, who cares if gay people get married, it’s not affecting your connection to God, or your marriage, or tax rate, or income or health or…..

My deep thanks to clergy across all denominations who always have, or eventually, embraced same-sex marriage. You get it. Or you eventually got it. Either way. THAT is Godly.

 

*It’s noteworthy that some socially conservative Christians believe homosexuality on its own is a sin.

And that’s loving, how? I’m born this way but it’s a sin? Hmm. Seems the anti-thesis to a Jesus message.

Is that like if my sacred text (for argument sake), says that blue-eyed babies are Godly, but brown-eyed babies are not? Or blond hair vs. blue?

From Focus on the Family website: “Further, we are convinced that the Bible leaves no room whatsoever for confusion or ambiguity where homosexual behavior is concerned. The Scripture both explicitly and implicitly regards it as falling outside of God’s intention in creating man and woman as sexual beings who bear His image as male and female.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/04/supreme-court-rules-against-gay-wedding-exemptions/1052989001/

 

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Kim Davis: At least we have this in common

I sickened myself as I cheered, celebrating this Christian being thrown to the lions. I watched the one minute coverage below and rooted the mob who piled on in front of Kim Davis’s desk, a woman who three-times divorced with two kids out-of-wedlock (not judging pointing out hypocrisy) refuses to grant marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

 

This was bound to happen. Kim Davis just happens to be the first face of rebellion.

After SCOTUS ruled, people warned priests would be hauled off to jail if they refused to marry same-sex couples, but religious institutions have legal protection, a public servant or private citizen doesn’t.

I want to dig out some grace with this lady, do unto others; I want to step into Ms. Davis shoes as she’s hauled off for contempt of court. She had to be terrified.

I want to dig up some grace for this lady, who I genuinely believe feels it’s spiritually impossible to break her contract with God.

I want to try to feel her pain, to know the crowd catcalls are unnerving and that the media attention is undoubtedly upsetting her family. I want to know that all the pressure is nothing compared to her very real, very felt fear she’ll go to Hell if she goes against God.

I want to try to momentarily move into her place of such deeply wholly, holy, heartfelt God obedience that she risks jail and losing her job.

Ms Davis says this isn’t about hating gays and lesbians, the default “I promise I’m not a meanie” disclaimer for disguised discrimination, but the fact is refusing to grant a law-abiding adult a marriage license is hateful.

I wan’t to find some pity but I can’t.

Because the day I concur that what Ms Davis stands for in the name of religion is right by God is the day my soul dies, is the day I live with the Hell of my own earthly making.

In that Ms. Davis and I have much in common. I too would go to jail and risk my job over my beliefs.

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The other

rainbow hands

It’s a rare and glorious moment to witness a Supreme Court ruling that makes rights for some, the law of the land for everyone.

I wasn’t around when slavery and segregation ended or when women were given the vote. My rights as a citizen were fought for me and have been readily available, although gender equality still isn’t done.

I can hear my future grandchildren say as I once did about women and the vote,  “You mean gay people couldn’t get married at one time? That’s just stupid.”

Today’s Supreme Court ruling was fast-tracked social justice (in contrast to other social change) and a sign I think, of our evolving consciousness as humans.

Believe it or not we’re getting closer to getting ourselves right, faster. This, despite the daily dousing of negative media images that distort our self-perception to one where humans are an innately decent well-intentioned species rather than merely a survival-based selfish creature DNA-designed to repeat the horrors of our past.

On the whole (not to dismiss the ugly realities of racism or extremists) I think we’re less threatened by the “other” seated next to us in schools, churches, government and business. We spend time with “other” in our day-to-day and it turns out, they’re not so unlike us.

They bleed. They breathe. They want safety, food, love, validation, prosperity and to smile.

As well, we’re increasingly becoming an ambiguous blend of “contradictions” which in turn breaks stereotypes and opens dialogue. The gay conservative Republican. The self-proclaimed feminist male from the South. The conservative in favor of immigration reform. The Democrat not convinced by man-made climate change. The pro Obamacare Republican in favor of upping the minimum wage and gun control. The Democrat against all three.

Brown skin, black or Asian. Atheists chatting with Hindus at my UU church. Muslims and Christians sharing coffee with surprising opinions that wander from expectation. Modern Family is our family or at the very least, our neighborhood or our town. We remain distinct individuals, one of a splendid kind, and we still align with our culture or gender or religion or race or sexual orientation because humans are tribal creatures who crave connection inside our homogeneous circles.

While extremists grow more paranoid with the “other,” and so more emboldened, the majority seems to accept we’re a mixed bag with increasingly a la carte views.

The rational among us know factionism keeps humans from our original design, to cooperate through kinship, rather than conquer through tribal warfare.

But for people afraid of losing their distinctive identity, not to worry.

Whites won’t disappear. Christians won’t fade. Families won’t disintegrate. Marriage won’t wither in favor of singledom. God won’t ever go out of fashion.  Conservatives will remain. Liberals will stay.

I wasn’t old enough to consider the impact of birth control and reproductive rights that changed the lives of women whose trajectory was decided by one unplanned pregnancy after another. Even so, I never had to consider what it would mean not to control my own baby-making because my biology made the choice for me.

At 19 I learned I had a benign pituitary disorder that meant if I ever wanted to get pregnant I’d need fertility intervention. I’ve only had to consider reproductive rights for the future of my daughter and other women.

I’ve never had to fight for the vote, child labor laws, worker’s rights or marriage equality because my birthright and the work of others before me, did all the work.

And yet, the rights of “others” have always felt for me, like human rights. Without defending theirs how could I deserve mine? 

Op-Ed: Our Weddings, Our Worth

 

 

 

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One reason I love life (but the point where my grace ends)

Image credit

One of the many reasons I love life is the unexpected synchronicity that happens all the time….

Driving traffic-clogged I-4 at 6:50 this morning to get to the YMCA prayer breakfast, I responded (okay, yelled) at the radio because a well-spoken but clearly wrong (by the discrimination yardstick) Baptist Minister explained to the radio host why his speech should be protected and isn’t discriminatory (e.g. denying a wedding cake or photography service to a same-sex couple about to get married is protected speech he argues, based on his Biblical beliefs. But, denying the same couple a hamburger, or accounting services etc he says is discriminatory).

Finally I arrived at the mega Orlando First United Baptist church for the YMCA prayer breakfast. I ran into the packed room, saw our Oviedo YMCA Exec Director at my table and I said loudly to him across the noise,

“I just drove like a bat out of HELL to get here!”

Just as I said this I turned around and seated right next to me at my table is a lovely young pastor with my town’s local New Covenant church. (But you know God has a stellar sense of humor, so goes the saying “Because God made (insert what/whoever you think is worthy of God’s sense of humor).”

I asked the Pastor about his church, told him I’ve heard good things about his pre-school. He shares a little about his church (Anglican). He asks me where I go (Unitarian Universalist). We both make polite conversation. Pastor asks me if my husband and daughter attend UUU (mostly no and I tell him why and why I left my Methodist church. Fond memories and deep gratitude for my daughter’s programs and our religious roots I explain, but I had increasing discomfort, and my new church resonates better with my views).

I tell Pastor a tiny bit more about my church all the while trying to be diplomatic and respectful, yet honest.

Oh yeah, hi there, Mr. President

Then our speaker gets up. Lucas Boyce (Dir of Business Development and Legislative Affairs for the NBA’s Magic). Lucas wrote “Living Proof: From Foster Care, to the White House and the NBA” and is clearly living proof for character and faith and belief in himself (and bold courage).

Lucas inspires us with several stories, each underpinned by his faith and that moving from a crack addict prostitute mother to foster care to life with a loving adopted mother who encouraged him informed his life’s trajectory. Lucas built the life he dreamed as a child (with thanks to God first he said) the moment he saw the White House (and after he saw the coolest airplane ever in the movie Air Force One).

Somehow on his pathway to become a lawyer he became a White House intern/page during President GW Bush’s term. One day President Bush did a quick photo-op on the south lawn with the pages. Twenty-two year old Lucas, not yet groomed on the basics of Presidential how do you do said something like “Hey yeah, how are you? but closed with, “I’m praying for you Mr. President. It’s a just cause (post 9/11 reference).”

The next day President Bush told a staff member he was impressed with “that young man” and to hire Lucas right away. From that moment Lucas’s life moved exactly where he wanted it to go.  

The crowd, all 1,000 of us, gave Lucas a deserved standing ovation.

Passionate. Inspired. Full of faith and conviction.

Believe. Pray. Worship. Inspire others. These are the fuels that feed our compassion and hope and propulsion forward.

BUT while you pray and inspire others, please know this:

The majority public opinion believes that religious beliefs should NOT allow legal rulings to protect speech that denies well-behaved (ruly), shirt-covered citizens service.

So clergy if you must deny officiating a same-sex marriage because it goes against your Biblical beliefs, you have the right as a religious institution.

(However,  I will never believe it feels truly righteous and holy and God-infused, authentic to one’s spiritual core to deny marriage to a loving couple).

Our nation’s individual views on God (and God’s will and use of our free will) is all over the place yet all of us in small moments of respect and grace at round tables can listen to the one another. I truly want to hear someone’s concerns over same-sex marriage however, when the legislative hammer comes down and denies service to our citizens due to sexual orientation, I immediately stop listening. 

Red Barber did his job, so can business owners against same-sex marriage

The radio interviewer then asked the Baptist Minister….. “I know this is a different issue but baseball announcer Red Barber nearly quit announcing for the Dodgers after desegregation and Jackie Robinson started playing. But Barber changed his mind. He knew he had a job to do. Can’t business owners against same-sex marriage simply serve someone and do their job?

The Baptist minister said for him no because it violates his speech.  At that moment the minister said no and denied service to a SS couple, is the moment I don’t believe he worships the same God — I do.

Okay, disagree with same-sex marriage if you must, but your job as an American heterosexual citizen afforded rights is not to deny to others, the same services/benefits YOU enjoy.

We are not, any of us, born chosen or special because we are heterosexual any more than we are born chosen or special because our eyes are blue or brown or hazel.

(To help illustrate the real life wrong in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Let’s use our heart rather than our head. Picture your adult child, deeply in love with her long time same-sex partner. One day both giddily head to the only bakery in their tiny town to order their dreamed-about wedding cake, budget tight but they’ve got just the cake picked out in their head. Lo, the baker-owner Frank who has known these ladies since they were little and used to give them free sugar cookies every Sunday says sorry ladies, I love you both but I can’t bake your wedding cake, my beliefs don’t allow it).

That’s love? 

Postscript:

“The man who broadcast Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Dodgers recalled that, as a boy in **SANFORD, Florida,  (Red Barber): “I saw black men tarred and feathered by the Ku Klux Klan and forced to walk the streets. I had grown up in a completely segregated world.” Red Barber confessed that when he learned the Dodgers would field a black player, his first reaction was to quit his job.” (Society for American Baseball Research).

When we don’t know any better we don’t do better. Once we know better, we must do better.

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