Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently criticized a predominantly white church in his state for refusing to allow a black couple to wed in its sanctuary because they were “uncomfortable with a black ceremony.”
Bryant called that decision "unfortunate" and "disappointing," and said that it would likely taint the state's image in the eyes of others.
This same governor, however, does not support same-sex marriage in his state, seeming to possess no fear over the likely taint that his state’s image is already suffering in the eyes of others.
Regardless of what you believe about same-sex marriage, I do not understand why people like Phil Bryant cannot see that legalized same-sex marriage is coming to every corner of this country, just as it has already arrived to most parts of the industrialized world. To stand against same-sex marriage only serves to delay the inevitable. More importantly, you risk being known as the last of the bigots to oppose the marriage of two people who love each other, regardless of their sex.
Are Bryant and others who oppose same-sex marriage unable to see how this fight is no different than the civil rights battles of the 1960s and the shame associated with being forced to integrate your public schools by the National Guard?
Are we surprised that the church that is “uncomfortable with a black marriage” is located in one of the last states to segregate its public schools?
Support for same-sex marriage has increased steadily for more than a decade, with supporters first achieving a majority in 2010. An August 2010 CNN poll became the first national poll to show majority support for same-sex marriage, with numerous polls after it echoing this finding.
Those who oppose it seek only to delay the inevitable and risk being compared to men like George Wallace, who later recanted his opposition to racial segregation but not before his name was forever linked to it.
If you’re opposed to same-sex marriage for religious reasons, I urge you to open your Bible and take an honest look at the Book of Leviticus. Read it from beginning to end. Yes, it declares that homosexuality is an abomination. But it also says, in the very same book, that wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread and cutting your hair are offenses punishable by death, and that owning slaves is perfectly legal as long as they come from a country other than your own.
If you’re wearing polyester or getting haircuts on a regular basis, or if you oppose the human slave trade, maybe you can also find it in your heart to accept that same-sex marriage is just as benign. If you can pick and choose from the Book of Leviticus, why not add same-sex marriage into the column with crew cuts and cotton blends?
Pick and choose better, damn it.
If you claim to oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons but are simply using religion as a cover for your bigotry and intolerance of people unlike yourself, that’s a whole different story, and not one easily corrected.
Ignorance and cowardice are powerful forces to overcome.
Nevertheless, there will come a day, not too far down the road, when our children or grandchildren will look back on this period in the history of the country and wonder why so many people were so concerned about two men or two women getting married, much the same way my generation looks back on the concepts of separate drinking fountains and separate lunch counters and segregated schools and wonder what the hell those people were thinking.
I write this today to urge you to reconsider your position if you are opposed to same-sex marriage. Your ranks are rapidly thinning as more and more people move to the right.
Not the conservative right, but the side of the righteous.
Change is inevitable. Don’t be left standing alone.
But I also write this today so that when my children and grandchildren look back on this period in the history of our country, they will know that I was not one of those people who opposed the marriage between two men or two women.
My children and future grandchildren will not wonder what the hell I was thinking. They will know that I was thinking the same thing they were thinking:
What the hell is wrong with you people?