Friday, December 04, 2009
In the debate on the failed marriage equality law in the New York State Senate, Senator Diane Savino spoke in favour of marriage equality eloquently, clearly and in terms so plain and simple as to compel the understanding, if not the agreement, of any fair-minded person.
But the opponents of marriage equality aren’t fair-minded, and they don’t believe that fairness has anything to do with it. Senator Savino speaks to the myths and misunderstanding held by opponents, including the fact that fairness is central. She also takes on some of the distortions and misinformation spread by overtly (or covertly) religious opponents.
We’d all agree that the state has no right to dictate that only religious marriage will be permitted, but by banning same-sex marriage because some religious people don’t like it is doing exactly that: They’re forcing all people, regardless of religious belief or lack of it, to conform to the most restrictive and conservative religious belief. Where’s the freedom of religion in that? Why do conservative religions get to dictate the limits of religious freedom for those who believe differently? The state doesn’t dictate who is and is not baptised, so why should the state enforce only one religious viewpoint in marriage?
Senator Savino’s comments mostly address the secular side of the argument, which is where most ordinary people actually are. I wish more people could hear her common sense, but probably few will. And that is a big part of the problem. Politicians like Senator Savino, however, are part of the solution.