Is Marriage Equality a Religious Issue—-or an Equal Rights Issue?

A Libertarian Says It is a Matter of Equal Rights

He says:   For a very long time, society has viewed gay marriage as a moral and, yes, religious issue. Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom. That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally.

Gary Johnson Comes Out in Favor of Gay Marriage   (from Faith in America website)

The former New Mexico Gov. and perennially frustrated GOP candidate for president, who is currently flirting with the notion of a libertarian run for president, officially declared his support for gay marriage at a online town hall meeting. Johnson was previously more wafflely, with the old support of “civil unions” standby. Now he’s going for broke and saying he really is for gay marriage.

Johnson’s statement:

“As a believer in individual freedom and keeping government out of personal lives, I simply cannot find a legitimate justification for federal laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which‘define’ marriage. That definition should be left to religions and individuals – not government. Government’s role when it comes to marriage is one of granting benefits and rights to couples who choose to enter into a marriage ‘contract’. As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple.

“Certainly, religions and people of various faiths have the right to view marriage as they wish, and sanction marriage according to those beliefs. Just as government shouldn’t interfere with individual rights, government should not interfere with how marriage is treated as a ceremony, a sacrament or a privilege within a set of religious beliefs. However, when it comes to the rights of individuals and couples under the law, government’s promise should be to insure equal access to those rights to all Americans, gay or straight.

“For a very long time, society has viewed gay marriage as a moral and, yes, religious issue. Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom. That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally.”

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Tips for Families During the Holidays

National PFLAG has adapted a piece by Mariana Caplan entitled When Holidays Are Hell…A Guide to Surviving Family Gatherings  to help parents and siblings make the up-coming holidays really welcoming for visiting LGBT family members.   It is reproduced below;

you are the friend or family member of someone gay…

  • Get support for yourself. It is important to realize you are not alone.
  • Take your time. Acceptance may not come instantly, but be honest about your feelings.
  • Don’t be nervous about using the “correct” language. Honesty and openness creates warmth, sincerity and a deeper bond in a relationship. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask for help.
  • Realize that the situation may be as difficult and awkward for your GLBT loved one as it is for you.

Before the visit…

  • Practice in advance if you are going to be discussing your family member’s sexual orientation or gender identity with family and friends. If you are comfortable talking about it, your family and friends will probably be more comfortable too.
  • Anticipate potential problems, but do not assume the reactions will always be what you expected.
  • Consult with your GLBT loved one when coordinating sleeping arrangements if he or she is bringing home a partner.
  • If your family member is transgender, practice using the correct pronouns.

During the visit…

  • Treat a GLBT person like you would treat anyone else in your family.
  • Take interest in your family member’s life. He or she is still the same person.
  • Don’t ask your GLBT family member to act a certain way. Let them be their natural selves.
  • If your GLBT family member is bringing a partner, acknowledge him or her as you would any other family member’s partner.
  • If your GLBT family member is bringing a partner, include him or her in your family traditions.
  • Ask your GLBT family member about his or her partner if you know they have one
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