Watch for the opportune time, and beware of evil, and do not be ashamed to be yourself. For there is a shame that leads to sin, and there is a shame that is glory and favour. Do not show partiality, to your own harm, or deference, to your downfall. Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment,* and do not hide your wisdom.*
For wisdom becomes known through speech, and education through the words of the tongue.
Do not subject yourself to a fool, or show partiality to a ruler. Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will fight for you.
--Sirach 4: 20-24, 27-28
These were the words of the reading assigned today in the Episcopal Daily Lectionary and how perfect they are for what I have to say.
Florida voters, listen to me: Vote NO on Amendment Two. It is unfair, it will enshrine discrimination into our state constitution, and it is totally unnecessary and unneeded.
That’s the short version. To be in keeping with my Biblical quotation, let me give you a few more details that I hope will educate you on my position.
First, Amendment Two has been called the “Marriage Protection Amendment”. However, I refer to it as the “Anti-gay marriage amendment”. This is an attempt to crucify gay people through the state constitution. And I believe the majority of people in Florida do not want that.
I am a lesbian who has been with my partner for 17 years. We own our home. We have chosen not to have children and have instead opted for raising a cat who, for the record, is extremely heterosexual as she adores flirting with our male friends. In the eyes of our friends and loved ones, we are a family. However, in the eyes of the state, we are merely roommates cohabitating in our home. Under current Florida law, we are not allowed to get married (thanks Sen. John Grant…and the late Gov. Lawton Chiles for that Defense of Marriage Act!) Could that law be overturned? Well, maybe. But then, somebody please show me where we have a majority of justices on our state Supreme Court that would be willing to take such a political risk?!
For reasons I don’t really understand, our side has tried to wage a campaign to defeat this amendment by telling everyone it will hurt the senior citizens, some of whom have opted for domestic partnerships instead of marriage. Supporters of this amendment have claimed that it is necessary to protect the children.
I guess one could argue that gay people are both seniors and children….as well as teen-agers, and adults. But let’s get real here: the amendment’s target is the state’s LGBT population. And this is an attempt to give the majority the right to vote on the lives of the minority. Where is the fairness in that? And what about respecting the dignity of every human being?
Taken from the perspective of a Christian, this amendment flies in the face of the words of the apostle Paul in Romans:
Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.
—Romans 14: 10-13
Amendments such as this, promoted by “Christians”, create animosity, and serve to place a barrier between gay and lesbian people, and the people of faith who do NOT despise them. It also creates the real problem of making it harder for LGBT couples to establish the transfer of benefits and inheritance in the case of the death of a partner. Or then there's the stumbling block created for legally-married LGBT couples with biological or adopted children ...and then once this family moves to Florida and (God forbid) breaks up....the child and parents are left in legal limbo as they try to figure out custody. Furthermore, Paul in the next chapter of Romans discusses the need for the strong to “put up with the failings of the weak”, so that both can live in harmony with one another. I take that statement to mean that we are bound to each other to support one another, whether we are gay or straight, in our strengths and weaknesses. We have a responsibility to each other as members of the human race to keep each other on a path toward the love and the light rather than darkness and eternal death. Lies, such as claiming this amendment will have no effect on state and municipal entities that have adopted domestic partnership benefits for their unmarried employees, are shameful and deceptive.
And as for my side, please quit trying to hide the gay people. It’s time for Florida to show its true colors: is it a state for fairness and equality for all people, or is it a place where “certain people” are considered “lesser than”?
Here endeth the posting. I anticipate I’ll have more to say on this topic between now and Election Day.