Okay. Recent events have made me want to tackle DOMA and Prop 8 in a post. I’m frustrated, and need to vent.
Last night a friend made a post about gay marriage. All day, my Facebook friends had been changing their profile pictures to the red and pink equal sign, in solidarity with those seeking equal rights for the gay community. Even many of those who didn’t change their picture were still posting other images in support of repealing Prop 8 and DOMA. It was really moving to see all of the support, and how the community was coming together to voice their want for change and equality. And then my friend posted.
Now, a bit of background on her. She’s always been the most religious out of my friends, but usually fairly quiet about it. But then she went to university (the same school as me) and joined a gospel group on campus. Since then, she’s become much more outspoken about and extreme in her views. She’s progressing religiously, but regressing on social issues and in the area of acceptance of others. She’s had posts claiming that others aren’t “true” Christian because their beliefs differ from hers (see Rant Time for that venting session). She’s been openly unaccepting of other belief systems, scoffing at them and just being generally belligerent. And her new friends from the gospel group are supporting and egging her on in this. I’m happy that she’s happy with her new friends, but I’m saddened to see how she’s changed over the past few years.
So, the post. She went on a mini rant about how she “might lose a lot of friends for this,” but she did not support gay marriage. She called marriage sacred, and claimed that it was only acceptable when it went through Jesus Christ, and that it is in fact not a civil right. She even claimed that we need to implement restrictive laws for marriage among straight people because they aren’t “doing it right” (or at least, that’s what I got out of her message). She ended with: “Am I projecting my faith and beliefs on you by saying no? I sure am. But so are you by saying yes. I am exercising my rights just as you are.” She also claimed that she was not brainwashed for her views.
I was pretty shocked by her post. Not because I didn’t think anyone believed the way she does, but because I couldn’t believe she believed it. In high school she was never against gay marriage — she was more of the camp of “I don’t really like it, it goes against what I believe, but if it makes you happy feel free.” She had gay friends, and she was sympathetic to their cause. She was always accepting of everyone. I’ve watched her views transformed from that over the years, to this adamant anti-equal rights mindset (and of course, this mindset overflows to other areas, such as with those of other religions and beliefs).
Immediately after she published her post, I got a text from one of my friends. She was also shocked. I think it was a bigger blow for her because she hasn’t really seen this transformation happened the past few years. She basically just saw the beginning and the end, with no middle morphing to warn her of her changing views. She was really upset, and wanted to comment on our friend’s post basically saying “Separation of church and state.” I convinced her not to, as I didn’t think it would be productive, and would just cause problems.
This morning, I got another text from my best friend (as I knew I would — I was just surprised that it took her so long). She told me that she was saddened by our friend’s post, and I had to agree with her. That’s exactly how I felt, too — frustrated and disappointed, but mostly sad. “I just don’t understand how anyone can genuinely believe that allowing everyone to get married imposes my views on anyone else,” my BFF wrote, “No one’s forcing [our friend] to get marry a lesbian.”
As usual, she had pretty much summed up exactly what I was thinking (we have like a psychic connection or something — we pretty much have the exact same views, and agree on pretty much everything. We’re kind of the same person, and it’s kind of awesome). Here’s what really frustrates me. Your religious values are your religious values. Just because you believe something doesn’t mean that everyone else has to, too. When you try to make something illegal because of your personal religious beliefs, you are infringing on the rights of others, and shoving your beliefs down their throat. Making gay marriage illegal is not shoving our views down your throat. If we were trying to pass a law that forced everyone to engage in gay marriage, that would be shoving our beliefs down our throat. The middle ground here (as with many other social issues, such as abortion) is to let everyone do as they wish, not as you personally believe that they should. If you are offended by gay marriage and the gay lifestyle, you yourself are insecure in your own beliefs. Get over yourself — not everyone has to follow your personal, restrictive values. And your religion does not belong in our laws.
In addition, marriage is a civil rights issue. Marriage is a religious institution, but it is also a government and federal institution. The government is extending and restricting rights to some, based on these individual preferences. For me, I always have a rule: when someone’s talking about how “Gays shouldn’t be able to get married because it goes against my beliefs,” I always substitute another word for “gays.” That word can be “black,” “Jewish,” etc — any group that’s been repressed throughout history. So go ahead and insert it: “Blacks shouldn’t be able to get married because it goes against my beliefs.” See how ignorant you look? See how you are wrongly restricting someone’s rights? Why should sexual orientation be any different from skin color or religion? Sexual orientation, like race, is not a choice — why restrict rights because of something a person cannot control? Hell, why restrict them for something they can control? Your beliefs are your beliefs, not necessarily anyone else’s.
I am 100% behind equal rights for gays. I have many gay friends who would love to be able to marry their partners. And not just enter a “civil union” — marry. Why call it something else? We’ve tried “separate but equal” before, and it didn’t work. I think our culture is slowly coming around it equality, and doing away with hate and prejudice, but we still have a long way to go. There have been baby steps so far, but repealing Prop 8 and DOMA wold be a massive leap. Once the laws change, attitudes follow. Don’t like it? No one is forcing you to marry someone of your same gender. Your beliefs are not universal, and you have no right to impose them on others through law. Get over yourself and stop worrying about others. Be happy and secure in your views, without feeling the need to force everyone else share them top.
Not really sure how to approach my friend. I’m thinking that I just won’t approach her at all. It’s not worth losing a friendship over. I think that we’re already drifting apart, but I don’t want to end it definitively. She knows that all of us will disagree with her, and she chose to put it out there. Whatever happens, happens, I guess. I’m just glad that I have other friends who are accepting of all people, regardless of what they believe and who they love.