I realize that I pay too much attention to the crack-pot opposition to gay marriage and less on the average American’s opposition. This is a detriment to my ability to advocate on the issue’s behalf. I should probably forget about those who feel that “gays should pay higher health insurance because they create AIDS” and instead consider what drives my next door neighbor, who is a perfectly respectable fellow, from voting to take away my ability to marry someone I love.
One of the factors I’ve heard much from these respectable folks is that they feel that their religion is being discriminated against, or, as it is usually phrased, “gay marriage supporters do not respect my opinion.” That specific argument was made in this interesting conversation on a call-in radio show, from the ladies of The View this week, and by many of my friends and family who are leery of gay marriage.
My answer to that position is clear: I do respect your opinion and religion. I respect your ability to believe that I am a deviant sinner who will spend eternity with Lucifer. I respect your option to teach your children that gays are immoral, unclean, mean, dirty, and to be avoided at all costs. I respect your church’s choice to deny anyone any of the services they offer if they deem it against the beliefs of the institution. I respect your view that marriage is between a man and a woman. No one will ever be able to make you change any of these opinions. I do not know what else can be done to “respect” these opinions.
But what these individuals are asking for is much more than respect for their opinions. They are asking for a government endorsement of their opinions. That I cannot respect. The government should not endorse their view and deny my right to marry, no more than the government should endorse my opinion that adulterers should be forever banned from the institution.