The U.S. Supreme Court upheld marriage equality a little less than three years ago, ruling that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Religious Right predicted that this ruling would usher in the end of Western Civilization. That hasn’t happened, and most people, even those who might have disagreed with the high court’s decision, have moved on. But a remnant of Religious Right activists refuses to accept that they lost and are trying to stir up trouble in the states. Their latest stunt is evidence of how low they’re willing to go.
A man named Chris Sevier has managed to persuade legislators in South Carolina and Wyoming to introduce bills that would declare marriage as existing only between one man and one woman. Under these bills, which Sevier claims are under consideration in other states, all marriages that are not between one man and one woman would be classified as “parody marriages.” Such marriages would, in turn, be illegal because they are allegedly “non-secular” and part of the “religion of Secular Humanism.”
None of this makes any sense. First off, Religious Right groups spent years talking about how marriage is grounded in religion, and now we’re supposed to believe that it’s not – except when it applies to same-gender couples?
Secondly, courts have repeatedly rejected arguments that just because a teaching or activity happens to be supported by secular humanists makes the teaching or activity a religious one that the government cannot present or aid. This is an old Religious Right canard that has been floating around for years. Back in the 1980s, some people tried using that argument to remove certain books from public schools. They failed.
So what’s really going on here? For the past few years, same-sex couples have been enjoying the benefits of marriage. Most Americans don’t see this as a big deal, but some people just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that someone else’s marriage doesn’t really affect them. Rather than accept reality, they keep looking for ways to turn back the clock.
Hence the “parody marriage” bills. But no one should make the mistake of assuming that proposals like this are just jokes. They’re introduced to make a point, and they send a real message of harm to an entire segment of our population. They openly ridicule and mock people for seeking something that most folks want – a loving relationship with a partner that is legally recognized by the government. It’s sad to see legislators wasting time and taxpayer money on such mean-spirited efforts, and it’s even sadder to see them align with Sevier, a man who trades in crude forms of homophobia. (He has in the past filed unsuccessful lawsuits demanding the right to marry a parrot and a laptop computer.)
Proposals like this create an atmosphere that leads some people to believe that it’s all right to treat others like second-class citizens because they don’t measure up to someone else’s dogma. We’ve seen the results of this. Across the country, the rights of the LGBTQ community are under relentless assault, and so-called “religious freedom” bills that would sanction discrimination in the name of religion continue to surface in the states.
Religious freedom is about fairness, and bills labeling a loving couple’s relationship as a “parody” are anything but fair. They’re simply cruel. We’re fighting them. You can help us.