Many people are planning to vote for Amendment One because they want to vote “for marriage”.
In fact, the campaign by the supporters of Amendment One have made it clear that this vote is about marriage. This is evidenced in their sermons, their press conferences and their well-crafted yard signs which say vote “for marriage” on May 8th.
The “marriage” theme is broadened to include the morality play.
The morality play has at least three versions. One version is the reverent version. This is the version where the pastor tells the congregants that homosexuality is a choice and that the Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. It is the reverent version because the pastor appeals to his flock to pray for the sinners. The message: homosexuality is wrong and with God’s help, we can change them. Let’s start with our vote on May 8th.
There is another version of the morality play that also is based in religion, but it is more strident, more judgmental. In this version, the actors condemn the alleged sinners and they do so by quoting scripture. Though these persons purport to be religious, their words are not. The message: homosexuality is wrong and you are going to hell. Let’s start them on our way with our vote on May 8th.
Then there is the version of the morality play that has nothing to do with religion. It is just mean-spirited on its own account, without reference to scripture. You might call this group the homophobic crowd. They hate homosexuals because they are different. They assault them with their words, and sometimes with their fists. The message: homosexuals deserve what they get. Make that clear with your vote on May 8th.
The crafters of Amendment One knew that the morality play and the focus on “marriage” would help get the amendment passed. It has been a strategy used in other states. It is not a bad strategy, because it works.
But here are my questions. Where is the morality in this strategy and where is the morality in Amendment One?
Is it moral to lead the public to believe that a vote for the amendment is a vote “for marriage”, when it is really a vote to make the marriage of one man and one woman the only “domestic legal union” that will be recognized in the Constitution?
Is it moral to allow people to use their religious beliefs and their prejudices to cast a vote for a legal term — domestic legal union — which they don’t understand and which will lead to costly litigation and harms to families (heterosexual and homosexual)?
Is it moral to take the original House bill version of this amendment (which did focus on marriage only) and turn it into an amendment that focuses on domestic legal unions? And, is it moral, not to tell voters what you did or why you did it?
Everyone knows that lawyers like rules and the Bible certainly has lots of rules.
The 10 Commandments are the rules found in the Bible’s Old Testament at Exodus, Chapter 20. They are often held up as some of the most important rules.
And yet, none of these commandments, none of these religious rules, say anything about homosexuality.
Commandment 7 says that “You shall not commit adultery”, but as you know, adultery is not on the ballot on May 8th and it is doubtful the politicians will put it on the ballot anytime soon.
More importantly, Commandment 9 says: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”. With that in mind, is it possible that this commandment is being violated by the morality play against homosexuals and the “vote for marriage” lie that has invaded the discussion about Amendment One?
Lying is a sin, right?
Deception against your neighbor is a sin, right?
About 1,400 years after the 10 Commandments, a lawyer confronted Jesus and asked him a question to test him about the commandments.
In the New Testament at Matthew 22, Jesus was confronted, as follows:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).
How is the morality play against homosexuals consistent with Jesus’ teaching to love your neighbor as yourself?
How is the lie that Amendment One is about only marriage consistent with the commandment not to bear false witness?
Is there any morality in claiming to voters that they are voting only on marriage when they really are voting on domestic legal unions and the harms that flow from that term?
Is there any morality in hiding things from voters, such as: the term domestic legal union is a term that neutral legal experts of the State’s Constitutional Publications Commission have said will bring uncertainty to the law in such areas as domestic violence protections, family law issues and private contracts between unmarried individuals?
It is one thing to put the current marriage statute (the one that prohibits gay marriage) in the Constitution to prevent the state Courts from striking down the law. It is quite another thing to pretend that this is what you are doing and then stick into the State constitution a provision that goes much further.
Where is the morality in not informing voters that a vote against this amendment will hurt no one but a vote in favor will hurt many people? One needs look no further than the municipal partner benefits that will be lost if the amendment passes to realize that this is true before the law.
Lying and deception is a sin. Failing to love your neighbor as yourself is a sin.
But apparently, according to the politicians and preachers who are pushing this amendment, some sins are acceptable and some are not.
The immoral means of the architects of Amendment One appear to be justified by the ends they hope to achieve. Go figure.