Update 10/05/12: Obama has announced his support for marriage equality. I am overjoyed, but not surprised, by this announcement, and here’s why.
I was recently sent a video of a speech made by Barack Obama relating to the separation of church and state, his stance on abortion, and what that means. In part, Obama stated:
“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”
I am very strongly pro-choice. Anyone who knows me knows this. I grew up in a household with a strong feminist mother who not only believes in equal rights for all, and imparted these values on me, she also worked as a nurse and a midwife in a time when abortion was not safe, was not legal, and resulted in many deaths.
I don’t remember when she first told me, I have known it for as far back as I can remember. Maybe it was a tough reality for someone growing up to be faced with, to know what these women went though, but it was their reality and I was not sheltered from it.
When it comes to the law, religion can play no part. Although religious values can guide us to an answer that is both right and true, the answer must apply to all faiths to be considered in the eyes of the law. We cannot apply our own values to another person’s body. We just can’t.
This same argument applies to marriage equality. How can anyone say that their religious beliefs or personal experiences should play any part in another person’s right to marry? If the law is to continue making it illegal for two people of the same gender to marry, then they need to come up with a better reason. A reason that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those who have no faith.
I can tell you why they haven’t – because there isn’t one.
Photo: Featured image from here.