Illinois GOP Rep. Jeanne Ives called homosexual relationships âdisorderedâ when discussing her decision to vote ânoâ on the marriage equality bill currently before the stateâs general assembly. Speaking on Catholic Conference of Illinois Radio, she said:
âItâs unfortunate that actually thatâs the issue that we have to talk about in SpringfieldâŚ You deal with the issues that are given to you. This issue is going to be brought up â they are trying to redefine marriage â it is a completely disordered relationship âŚ When you have a disordered relationship, you donât ever get order out of that, so I am more than happy to take the no vote on the issue of homosexual marriage.â
Of course, sheâs far from the first right-wing politician to show strong opposition to marriage equality. Congressman Marco Rubio (R-FL), said in mid-2012 that marriage is the result of thousands of years of wisdom that included an ideal situation in which to raise children. He believes that the debate is about what society should and should not tolerate.
In 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry said that while people may not choose who theyâre attracted to, they do choose to engage in sexual activity, and compared it to the alcoholic who makes the choice to pick up a drink.
Congressman Austin Scott (R-FL) said, on the subject of repealing âdonât ask, donât tell,â that Christian lawmakers see the country headed in the wrong direction.
And many on the religious right have warned of the dangers of allowing same-sex marriage, up to and including the idea that legalizing it will lead to revolution.
The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry outlines the dangers of marriage equality as follows:
- Financial harm (lawsuits, for instance, against people exercising their religious beliefs)
- Health risks (including AIDS and HIV due to the high number of sex partners these people have, compared to straight people, which means they have extraordinary healthcare costs, which costs the rest of us enormous amounts of money)
- The problem of a minority forcing its morals on the majority (marriage equality fundamentally alters the morals that society accepts)
- A reduction in the number of children born, which is detrimental to society
- A negative effect on peopleâs spirituality (the spiritual harm inflicted when people are forced to accept something they donât want to accept)
- Forcing government to get involved in changing laws that affect everyone in society (homosexuality will be taught in schools, and benefits for homosexual partners will be recognized by employers which means more benefits get paid out, co-workers are affected, and more)
- Exposure of children to ridicule if theyâre being raised in a homosexual household
These reasons often crop up when the religious right discusses their issues with same-sex marriage, but theyâre a way of couching religious beliefs in legitimate-sounding arguments, rather than actually being legitimate concerns. Each of these reasons is specious at best.
Rep. Ives also believes sheâs taking the courageous road with her ânoâ vote, saying later on the program:
âIâm more than happy to stand up and take the courageous vote here on this issue, because itâs the right thing to do. Essentially what theyâre trying to do is not just redefine marriage, theyâre trying to redefine society âŚ Theyâre trying to weasel their way in to acceptability so they can start to push their agenda down into the schools because this them (sic) some sort of legitimacy. We canât allow that to happen.â [Source]
While it can be courageous to stand up for whatâs right, especially when youâre in the minority, itâs not especially courageous to take a stance youâre already comfortable with, especially when itâs notthe right thing to do. For these people, opposing marriage equality isnât about standing up for whatâs right; itâs about clinging to whatâs comfortable for them and then using history and the Constitution to back up their beliefs.
Historically speaking, their view of marriage is inaccurate; in ancient Rome and ancient Greece,marriage was about securing alliances, increasing wealth and property, and accumulating power, more than it was about love and creating the nuclear family. In fact, for a long time marriage was considered a civil contract, not a religious one. Also, in many societies, marriage was not between one man and one woman, but rather was polygamist in nature.
Their view that this is a matter of freedom of religion is also inaccurate, since this is not a Christian nation; meaning that, with the exception of legally recognized religious jobs and institutions, people need to keep their religions to themselves while performing their jobs. Itâs doubtful that Christians in this country would tolerate being refused service by a secular business run by a Muslim, a Hindu, a Sikh, a Buddhist, etc., on the basis that they violate some tenet of one of those faiths.
The Illinois general assembly has a Democratic majority, and though rumors are flying about whether they have enough votes in the House to pass the marriage equality bill, itâs still looks likely that it will become law, despite the âcourageousâ stands of those who oppose it.