The repeal of DOMA has filled the news during the past week, with Christians taking a big part in responding to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Congressional law mandating marriage to be between one man and one woman.
An Arizona reader of the blog sent me the following communication from her church. She also said that St. Augustine’s Church “rang the church bells … and all the bells and gongs they could find.”
Dear People of God,
I rejoice, along with our LBGT brothers and sisters, over the Supreme Court decisions this morning. Our country has come one step closer to that freedom and justice are for all its citizens. Many LBGT people I know who are my age have commented that they would have never believed that equality under the law would happen for them “in our lifetime.” I can only begin to imagine the full extent of their joy today.
Our country has come closer to a truth which has been ours as Christians from the beginning, that God loves everything and everyone God has made, and that we are called to reflect God’s love for us in how we love each other. Our country is now one step closer to making that possible for everyone. Today Love won.
The Rt. Rev. Kirk Stevan Smith
Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Below is one couple who Smith is describes. Thanks to photographer Ann Hubard, who took this picture at the DOMA Decision Celebration in Portland (OR).
Despite the support of marriage equality for all from the majority of voters in the United States, there was a dark side as the conservatives expressed themselves with great fear and fury.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) originally agreed with Glenn Beck that the Supreme Court ruling might result in people marry animals. After Paul’s bizarre claim hit the Internet, he must have decided that it might hurt his possibilities of becoming president in 2016 and withdrew his statement. No one, however, can ever erase their stupidity from the web.
Mike Huckabee, former presidential wannabe, was brief in his first tweet: “Jesus wept.” Later he elaborated by accusing the Supreme Court of declaring itself “ bigger than God.” Unfortunately for Huckabee, Jesus said absolutely nothing about marriage equality, but he did say lots about poverty and money-changers.
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) declared that “society itself is at risk and cannot continue.” At the same press conference, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that same-sex marriage was “usually tried at the end of a great civilization.” Both comments echoed House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) when he said that “preserving the institution of traditional marriage is crucial to the stability of our society.”
Ralph Reed, leader of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, viewed that SCOTUS’ action as “an Orewellian act of judicial fiat” in its threat to federalism, rule of law, and Western civilization.
The National Organization for Marriage blamed a conspiracy of “homosexual” and “liberal” lower circuit judges for the Court’s rulings. In a peculiar blend of mixed metaphors, Brian Brown, NOM’s president said:
“There is a stench coming from this case that has now stained the Supreme Court. They’ve allowed corrupt politicians and judges to betray the voters, rewarding them for their betrayal.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) declared that “no man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.”
Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association, used the myth that the United States is only a Christian country: “We are deeply saddened by today’s decision to not only allow but encourage same-sex marriage in our country—a country that was founded on biblical principles.” Once again, Mr. Wildmon, most of the founders were Deists.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) hated the possibility that he might be a bigot, the way that the SCOTUS ruling indicated. “It is … my hope that those who argue for the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage will refrain from assailing the millions of Americans who disagree with them as bigots.”
Chris Joseph’s strong satiric channeling of Rubio in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, was in response to his “I’m not a bigot” statement:
“Those of us who oppose gay marriage aren’t bigots, bro! We’re TOTALLY about constitutional provisions and laws. This has NOTHING to do with our own religious beliefs and us wanting to force those beliefs on other people. That would be wrong. No, no. I’m just about tradition, and not at all involved with gay-hate groups, or basing my reasons on my personal belief that you will burn for all eternity if you’re a gay. I mean, just because one believes that another person is doomed to an eternal place of darkness to suffer forever doesn’t make me hateful at all! Pffft.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) opposed the SCOTUS ruling against DOMA by saying, “I think children will be hurt.” He used as the basis for his myth the erroneous belief that decades of social-science research have “shown that every child deserves a mom and dad.” These lies by people in a situation to help children not only damage the children of same-sex couples but also demonstrate the hypocrisy of conservative lawmakers. If they cared for children, they would not take away their food, shelter, education, healthcare, emotional support, etc.
Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) is a leading example of the legislators who don’t understand the First Amendment’s position of freedom of religion that some people describe as the separation of church state. When openly gay Rep. Brian Sims (D) tried to speak on the legislature floor about the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA, Metcalfe stopped him because Sims’ comments would be “open rebellion against God’s law.” Metcalfe also stopped two other lawmakers from talking about DOMA.
Despite all these cruel, narrow-minded statements from religious conservatives, there was much joy and a good bit of humor, including from John Oliver, the summer replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
The most important response came from the President of the United States:
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
“This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.
“So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.
“The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”
Now we wait to see the implementation of the court’s rulings.
[The following was posted on Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) website.]