In Indiana, the groundwork is again being laid by legislators to bring to a vote a constitutional amendment which would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Despite the time, effort and money diverted to this bill in the past decade, it has not progressed. Hoosiers of every background and socioeconomic level see this proposed amendment for what it is: discrimination.
Marriage has more than 100 civil rights attached to it. Yet the strongest “argument” for discriminating against same-sex couples often comes down to religious belief. Yet the availability of these civil rights, and any law, cannot be restricted to those who believe in God, or believe in a particular view of God.
However, as religion is often the flashpoint, and many legislators insist on using God’s name and religious doctrine in a state issue, then all the facts need to be known.
If we are to use religious tenets as a measuring stick for restricting marriage into our constitution, we must consider the myriad faith communities and denominations that perform same-sex marriages and/or bless same-sex unions. No one faith community or denomination has the definitive word on the Divine or God. Many faiths affirm same-sex marriage, and have for decades.
The facts are that Metropolitan Community Churches and the United Church of Christ, Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist, Unity, Conservative Judaism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and certain Quaker sects perform same-sex marriages. Episcopal, Presbyterian and certain Buddhist and Muslim sects bless same-sex unions. Moreover, other faith communities leave the decision to the local congregation.
If the amendment advances in Indiana, then those who follow these faiths would not be allowed to fully follow their denomination.
The Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination respects the religious doctrines of all faiths. No one faith can dictate to the other how to follow in faithfulness. Religious polity cannot enter into politics. Each of us must be free, protected and affirmed by laws that allow us to follow our paths in faith and in marriage. An amendment that discriminates is dangerous and detrimental to all of us.
Rev. Marie Siroky
president, Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination