Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/amendment-one-and-bigotry/
Last night North Carolina voters chose to add an Amendment to the State Constitution which declares that marriage between a man and a woman would be the only legally recognized domestic union in NC.
The fallout in the social media and blogosphere worlds has been predictable:
Conservatives cheering for this “victory of righteousness” in the democratic process and Liberals expressing outrage over such “bigotry” and “ignorant” action.
I find myself in a peculiar place on this one.
As someone who leans toward Libertarian principles when it comes to social issues, I wasn’t a big supporter of this Amendment and didn’t think it was necessary (though of course I recognize that in the minds of Conservatives it was most likely a safeguard measure to prevent “activist judges” from legalizing same-sex marriage from the bench). I’m just not very comfortable with the idea of secular government determining who can and cannot choose to live together in a legal manner. I believe if people want to have some type of civil/domestic union (whether gay, straight, or other) I’m okay with that, from a legal/civil standpoint, so long as they aren’t violating the rights of others.
So unlike many of my Conservative friends, I don’t see this Amendment as a victory for “righteousness” in any truly Biblical sense of the term. It may bolster the facade of civil religion, but I don’t think it advances the Kingdom of God in any tangible or meaningful way really.
I have been disturbed by the continued cries of “oppression” and “bigotry” that have been thrown around by my Liberal friends who opposed Amendment One. Borrowing such language from the Civil Rights struggle is rhetorically effective…but is it consistent and honest?
Of course there are likely many who voted for the Amendment because they harbor a genuine hatred of gay people. Such hatred and actual acts of bigotry are indeed sinful and should be repudiated by any follower of Jesus.
But here is my genuine question to all those who cried “bigotry!” and “intolerance!” after the vote:
If Amendment One had limited legal domestic status in NC to “unions of two individuals” instead of “marriage between one man and one woman”, would proponents of plural marriage be justified in being outraged and labeling those who supported it as “bigots”?
If not, why not?
This is not, as many may immediately dismiss it as, the “slippery-slope” argument (remember, I don’t oppose civil unions), nor is it purely hypotheical (as any viewer of “Sister Wives” can attest). Rather, it’s a call for consistency on the part of those labeling others as hateful bigots who disagree with their domestic views.
In other words if proponents of gay couples being legally recognized want their view accepted, then are they willing to accept the view of those who want legal recognition for all mutually consenting adult domestic relationships?
If one’s answer to the above is “yes”, then fair enough and I can respect such a view for its consistency.
But if the answer is “no”…then perhaps it might be worth pausing for a bit of self-reflection next time you get ready to hurl the “bigot/hate” label at those you disagree with.
May we all be loving in word and deed,