Bigots will find no shelter in the state of Vermont. Nor Roman Catholics, although that’s sort of synonymous with bigots.
The first state in the union to legalize civil unions–due to the legislation of then Governor Dean’s faith–and the first state to pass marriage equality without the judiciary’s gun to its head, Vermont will also become the first state to force Christians against their will to rent out their private property for gay weddings. Vermont is super-progressive and that’s why we like it so much.
The Vermont chapter of the ACLU is now suing a rural Vermont inn on behalf of a lesbian couple that wished to hold its wedding reception there. The lesbian couple nearly committed suicide after finding out that these private citizens did not want to allow their their private property to be used in a celebration of their homosexual relationship.
And you wouldn’t want them to commit suicide…would you?
Of course, the bigots played the religion card, as if religion is offered some kind of special protection in the Constitution or something. John and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont explained:
“We do not, however, feel that we can offer our personal services wholeheartedly to celebrate the marriage between same-sex couples because it goes against everything that we as Catholics believe in.”
When are these people going to learn that free exercise of religion does not mean that you can break the law when it violates your conscience? For example, the government can draft Quakers into the armed forces. Also, Jehovah’s Witnesses are forced to stand and say the pledge of allegiance in schools. It’s permissible to force Orthodox Jews to open their businesses on the (Jewish) Sabbath. Wait…we don’t do any of those things? Well, we should be able to.
When the Constitution says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, it didn’t mean religions that piss me off. It meant warm, mushy, cotton candy religions that tell homosexuals that God made them just the way they are and God don’t make no mistakes. You know, fake religions.
The idea that these two innkeepers can just decide to pick and choose which customers they take on–as if it were their business!–really makes my blood boil. The entire purpose of marriage equality laws is to force people like the O’Reilly’s to do things against their will. That’s why we need the state to recognize our relationships. Without state sanction, we can’t call on the power of the state to force other people to recognize our relationships and, when we feel like it, to take part in our ceremonies.
You’ll never find us making the libertarian argument that government should have no role in marriage because that would mean that the government can’t shove our morals down other people’s throats. Absolutely we want the government involved in marriage. We want the heavy hand of the state involved at all levels, and we want it to bully people on our behalf. We want our morals enshrined in law.
And let’s be clear–we do want to shove our morals down other people’s throats. John and Mary O’Reilly think that gay marriage is morally wrong. I think their exclusionary policy is morally wrong. John and Mary O’Reilly may not force their morality upon me through the force of law, though I may still force my morality on them.
That’s why it’s okay for former Governor Howard Dean to tell the voters of Iowa that it was his faith that motivated him to sign civil unions into law. But it would not be acceptable for an actual Christian governor–as opposed to Dean, who’s only a Christian when he’s running for president–to veto such a law because of his faith.
See how this works? We legislate our morality, and you just keep yours to your fucking self. I don’t want to see your morality, hear your morality, or even know that it exists. If you don’t like gay marriage then don’t get gay married! And just as long as you participate in my wedding against your will, everything will be fine. I won’t have to call the authorities, who are pretty entirely in the tank for me.
Now, I’m not advising any of my readers to go blabbing about all of this all around town. Yes, the whole purpose of gay marriage is to force people to recognize our relationships who don’t want to. But as always, stealth and deception are necessary. It’s important to keep up the illusion that people are meddling in our lives, telling us whom to love and whom we may sleep with. The emotional weight of that argument is enormous.
It’s bullshit, of course. But that shouldn’t stop us from making the emotional appeal that we really, really love each other. So who are you to stand in the way of our love? Who are you to police my sex life? I loved my husband even before we were married and I slept with him as well. Even if every gay marriage in the whole country was nullified by some federal marriage amendment, I’d still love him and still have sex with him. So it really has nothing to do with love or with bedroom behavior. It has to do with forcing people to do things our way.