The other day, as I was cruising the interwebz, I stopped in at Maybe It’s Just Me...–if you aren’t reading it, well, why aren’t you reading it?—and I came across this quote from Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"People have labeled me homophobic. If I was homophobic, I wouldn't have friends who are gay and lesbian, so that can't be true. But because I have a certain belief system, I am now the enemy. And I'm not the enemy. I have love for everybody, period.
I don't think it's my role and responsibility to take on a platform unless God calls me to do it. That's not something I feel called to do. When my mother was living they tried to pit us against each other. I love my mother and she loved me. They couldn't divide true love. We had good conversations concerning this whole issue. But I think we have to be careful in our nation that we don't demonize everyone who doesn't agree with us.
I value marriage between a man and woman. Spiritually I value that. Psychologically I value that. I know that the absence of my father in my life had its cost."
Being kind of a Regular Joe Homo, I got to thinking about The Religious Folks and The Gays and how we fit, or don’t fit very well, and I thought I would dissect what Bernice said, in her own words.
She uttered one of the lines that I hate most of all: I have friend who are fill in the blank. I mean, surely, being the daughter of Dr, King she heard time and again people say they couldn’t be racist because they had black friends; and surely she doesn’t believe that simply because she’s knows some of The Gays means she can’t be a homophobe. She can; I don’t know for sure if she is homophobic, but she certainly can be.
But she isn’t a homophobe because of her faith, and this is where I take issue with The Religious Folks and their stance against same-sex marriage. This isn’t a religious issue, as I have said so often my throat hurts. It’s a civil issue, and a legal issue, but marriage, the way it stands today, after being changed and changed and changed and changed, is no longer a religious institution. I want to say to people like Bernice King that there is not one legal marriage in this country that has only been performed by a religious official; marriages are not valid until sanctioned by the government, so let’s keep your religion out of my marriage.
I say to people like Bernice King, you can believe in your heart of hearts that marriage is a one-man-one-woman thing, but we all know it hasn’t always been the case; just yesterday i posted about church sanctioned same-sex marriages from 100 AD--see HERE. And I want to remind Bernice King, and others in the African American community who insist only on so-called traditional marriage, that as little as 45 years ago a black man or woman could not legally marry a white woman or man; marriage has changed, and will continue to change, as society changes.
Lastly, I say to Bernice King, don’t use your father to try and spin your argument. You didn’t grow up without a father because your mother was in a same-sex relationship, and you didn’t grow up without a father because he ran off and left you; you grew up fatherless because your father was murdered, and you lived your life knowing that, if not for that one day in 1968, you might have always had a father. Growing up without your father because he died has no place in a debate about same-sex couples, and father-less homes.
See, Bernice, I have no problem with your religion, your faith, or your spirituality; I have no problem with your beliefs. My problem lies in the fact that you want to use your religion, faith, spirituality in the political arena. You want to deny me the right to marry my partner because your religion tells you it’s wrong, but what about the other religions that have no issue with same-sex marriage? What about those who don’t believe in God? They don’t get a voice in the discussion.
You can have your faith, but you cannot use your faith to deny me my constitutional rights. And that’s the only place where you and I have an issue. I don't think you're a homophobe because your religious beliefs tell you that same-sex marriage is wrong, but I do think you are homophobic in using your religion as a weapon in my fight for my Civil Rights.