On Valentine’s Day the Illinois State Senate passed legislation to legalize gay marriage by a vote of 34-21. It must now move to the Illinois House of Representatives where its fate remains uncertain. If the House can find enough equal-rights supporters and send the bill to the governor’s desk, Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign it into law.
The fate of the bill in the House is not certain, however. While the House has a Democratic majority, not all Democrats are on board with equality. Religious bias infects both parties.
Still, the most cited reason for opposition has no basis in reality. Opponents are pushing the fallacy that if gay marriage is protected as a right then churches will be forced to perform ceremonies which contradict their beliefs. This is, of course, a red herring.
No church has ever been forced to perform a marriage, same-sex or opposite-sex, that it does not condone. Churches are still free to discriminate against inter-racial marriages if they so desire. In fact, churches and religious institutions can refuse to perform a marriage for opposite-sex couples who both belong to the same church merely on the grounds that the pastor doesn’t believe they are ready.
Claiming that it is the rights of the churches they are looking out for is just dishonesty, plain and simple. It is the state that will no longer have the right to discriminate if the law should pass. Gay marriage affects no one other than the couples getting married and their loved ones. Politicizing their rights and trying to claim bigotry as some sort of religious freedom is a waste of time and money for the people being represented, intellectually dishonest for the politicians trying to find an argument, and inherently evil for the religious institutions who dedicate so much time and money to ensuring the ongoing suffering of those they disagree with.