This past Monday, something really rather insightful was published on Fox News Opinion. And if that’s not enough of an eyebrow-raising statement, consider that the author’s last name was Cheney.
Okay, not former Vice-President Dick Cheney, but his daughter Mary Cheney.
In the piece, Cheney (who’s openly lesbian herself) tackled conservative objections to same-sex marriage. And she pulled no punches in addressing the spurious claims of impending religious persecution, as well the hypocrisy of marketing the GOP as pro-family while attacking families like hers:
When talking about same sex marriage, these candidates [for the GOP nomination] regularly throw around phrases like religious freedom and religious liberty, warn that marriage equality will lead to the criminalization of Christianity or the downfall of the American family, and fret that our nation’s very future is at risk.
Let’s be clear. The fight over marriage equality isn’t about religious freedom or the criminalization of Christianity. States have regularly taken action to enact civil marriage with clear exemptions and protections for churches, synagogues and other religious entities. No matter what happens with same-sex marriage, that will not change.
This is a point that is often lost, deliberately or otherwise, on the fear-mongering politicians and pundits who champion opposition to marriage equality. Mike Huckabee, among others, continues to put forth this assertion, with comments like these in Decision magazine:
“When you elevate a lifestyle to the status of a civil right, I don’t think a lot of believers fully understand or comprehend that once it’s risen to that level and our government accepts it, then anyone who disagrees with it could be at least civilly liable, but more than likely would be criminally liable,” Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate, told Decision during a recent visit to the Billy Graham Library.
“The impact is this: A pastor getting up in the pulpit and proclaiming God’s Word that marriage is the act of one man and woman joining together for life would violate the civil rights of a same-sex couple… That would make it a criminal act.”
The fact is, such accusations are baseless. Churches and religious organizations are largely free to set their own rules, even if those rules would be unconstitutional as secular law, no matter how distasteful the rest of society might find them.
Civil rights for other couples illustrate this quite well: it’s illegal for states to ban interracial marriage, for instance, but this hasn’t criminalized forms of Christianity that still embrace such notions. It hasn’t compelled racist churches to officiate ceremonies with which they disagree. Churches can refuse to welcome interracial couples into their congregations. They can refuse to marry African American couples.
Now, people recognize this behavior for what it is: bigoted and hateful. But bigoted Christians aren’t carted off to jail, no matter how antiquated and abhorrent the rest of the world finds their views. (That archaic views about LGBT people might not sit well with others is a significant concern for some who hold those views, like Marco Rubio; but seeing as how LGBT rights already have widespread public support, my guess is that that ship has already sailed anyway.)
Cheney also calls out the hypocrisy of portraying your party as one promoting family values… when attacking certain families seems to be a party priority:
The Republican Party has always claimed to be in favor of certain key principles including, support for individual liberty, personal responsibility and the belief that strong families are the corner stone of our society. This is exactly why more leaders of the party should embrace the idea of marriage equality.
So the next time a Republican presidential candidate wants to talk about the need for our society to support and protect families and children, I hope he or she will include all families and all children in that protection — including the hundreds of thousands of children like my son and daughter who are growing up with same-sex parents.
Whether Cheney’s hope is realized or not, of course, depends on whether the Republican Party continues to allow the religious prejudices of yesteryear to drive its policies. With public opinion shifting ever-more toward equality, I suspect the wing of the party that is more interested in winning elections than pandering to religion will eventually win out.
How long that takes, of course, remains to be seen.
(via Raw Story)