You’ve probably heard the news about North Carolina by now. The votes have been counted and, as a state, they have banned gay marriage. Guess what? I’m angry. It’s not an emotion that most Christians I know are comfortable feeling, muchless admitting, and I’m no exception. But it is the truth.
North Carolina’s decision makes me really, really angry.
“Okay,” you say, “I get that. Your son is gay. You support gay rights, but what does that have to do with the picture you’ve posted?”
It’s a fair question. Here’s the answer: It has EVERYTHING to do with North Carolina . . . and my home state of Minnesota and this whole country, as a matter of fact. Water fountains, people. Remember the lesson of the water fountains? It was not that long ago when this nation was divided over them. Who was allowed to drink from which fountain? It was a BIG deal. REMEMBER?
It seems pretty ignorant now, doesn’t it? Looking back on that debate, it’s pretty clear that thinking we were so different that we needed separate fountains was wrong. It hurt people. It restricted their rights. It’s absolutely clear to us, in this day and age, that our cultural bias led us to justify discrimination because other peoples’ differences made us uncomfortable.
As equally certain as I am that it was wrong to segregate people at water fountains or in busses or in cafes, I am also certain that this decision today and any future decisions which restrict the rights of any individual because of some aspect of identity will, someday, be revealed as equally unjust. Otherwise, what we believe to be rights are not rights at all. They have been reduced to mere privileges.
And I have a BIG issue with a civilization where only the privileged are allowed to publicly define their families in a manner that reflects their bonds of love and commitment.
I have a lot of conversations with people about their views on gay marriage, and one of the arguments I hear most frequently to support the ban on gay marriage is that it would somehow diminish the historical and theological definition of marriage, which is the traditional union of a man and a woman.
Today, I am posing a question to everyone who holds that opinion.
Did the water taste any different once everyone could freely drink from the same fountain?