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Sunday, September 24, 2017

On the Freedom to Marry - Part II

In 2012, we reached a turning point in our culture.

For the first time ever, the freedom to marry was granted to same sex couples, not through the courts, not through the legislature, but directly, by the voters themselves in three states; Maine, Maryland, and Washington. By the process of voter referendum, same-sex couples were granted the right to marry.

At the same time voters in Minnesota rejected a voter referendum that would have enshrined Minnesota’s opposition to same-sex marriage (already denied by state law), in its constitution.
A watershed moment had come.

In June of 2015, in a five to four ruling, the United State Supreme Court determined that same-sex couple nationwide had the right to marry.

This is now the law of the land, but the struggle for marriage equality is not over.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, there have been numerous challenges to the rights of American citizens. Clerks in government offices have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, bakers, and caterers and wedding planners have refused to serve same-sex couples, citing their freedom of religion and their moral objection to same-sex marriage as the grounds for their refusal.

There are tens of millions of Americans living in every state of the union, holding positions in government, on our courts and everywhere that we can think of who would if they could see these rights overturned.

The struggle for equality, for these basic human rights, goes beyond our borders, all people of good will must keep up the fight for these and every other protection to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that are under threat by institutional bigotry, racism, and hatred, by the spirit of injustice everywhere. 

Let me be clear and let me reiterate. To deny women and men the freedom to marry the person of their choice is Un-American.

It is wrong in many ways.

It is wrong because it is an affront to the basic values and beliefs of American culture, tenets which we hold to be both true, and self-evident, principles that are enshrined in the charter documents that served as the justification for the foundation of our nation.

These principles must guide us. If we are not led by them, we will never be able to exercise leadership in the world.