Illinois GOP Rep. Jeanne Ives called homosexual relationships ‚Äúdisordered‚ÄĚ when discussing her decision to vote ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ on the marriage equality bill currently before the state‚Äôs general assembly. Speaking on Catholic Conference of Illinois Radio, she said:
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs unfortunate that actually that‚Äôs the issue that we have to talk about in Springfield‚Ä¶ You deal with the issues that are given to you. This issue is going to be brought up ‚Äď they are trying to redefine marriage ‚Äď it is a completely disordered relationship ‚Ä¶ When you have a disordered relationship, you don‚Äôt ever get order out of that, so I am more than happy to take the no vote on the issue of homosexual marriage.‚ÄĚ
Of course, she‚Äôs 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 they‚Äôre 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 ‚Äúdon‚Äôt ask, don‚Äôt tell,‚ÄĚ 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 people‚Äôs spirituality (the spiritual harm inflicted when people are forced to accept something they don‚Äôt 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 they‚Äôre being raised in a homosexual household
These reasons often crop up when the religious right discusses their issues with same-sex marriage, but they‚Äôre 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 she‚Äôs taking the courageous road with her ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ vote, saying later on the program:
‚ÄúI‚Äôm more than happy to stand up and take the courageous vote here on this issue, because it‚Äôs the right thing to do. Essentially what they‚Äôre trying to do is not just redefine marriage, they‚Äôre trying to redefine society ‚Ä¶ They‚Äôre 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 can‚Äôt allow that to happen.‚ÄĚ [Source]
While it can be courageous to stand up for what‚Äôs right, especially when you‚Äôre in the minority, it‚Äôs not especially courageous to take a stance you‚Äôre already comfortable with, especially when it‚Äôs notthe right thing to do. For these people, opposing marriage equality isn‚Äôt about standing up for what‚Äôs right; it‚Äôs about clinging to what‚Äôs 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. It‚Äôs 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, it‚Äôs still looks likely that it will become law, despite the ‚Äúcourageous‚ÄĚ stands of those who oppose it.