22 June 2011

One More Vote, Please

It looks like there will soon be a vote on same-sex marriage bill in New York. The bill needs only one more vote and there are two uncommitted Republicans in the state Senate.

Some religious leaders want their organizations to be exempt from having to perform the marriages and from providing benefits for same-sex spouses of employees.  That makes sense to me because, truth be told, most couples aren't going to go to a church that's hostile them.  And, I guess that if religious groups that provide social and educational services can't be forced to provide condoms or abortion counseling, they can't be forced to provide health benefits for a same-sex partner.

The interesting thing is that some of those religious leaders--who include members of the clergy--are actually being more reasonable than some lay church members who don't want the bill passed at all.  I don't know how many times I've seen, in person or on TV, some church member shouting, "Marriage Is Marriage," "Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve," or "Don't let New York become Sodom and Gomorrah!"  

What they seem to forget is that this state is part of a secular democracy, and that not everyone shares their interpretation of their religion. Like all dominant groups, they don't realize just how much they're acting from an attitude of entitlement.  They think that because they are part of a majority and that they are acting in accordance with their interpretation of their own faith, others should be subject to their will.  They should get tax breaks for getting married and having kids; gay couples shouldn't have the same for committing themselves to each other and adopting kids.  

For some people, I don't think it's even a question of faith or morality.  They have always had the privileged position of being in the dominant or "default" culture, and are accustomed to privilege that they don't even realize they have.  They're not so different from all of those people who thought that Jim Crow was normal, and who claimed to have no prejudice against blacks as long as they knew their "place."  

Just one more vote.  Please....