ReligionDispatches has an article discussing the religious violence employed when defending against gay marriage. The author, John Pahl, believes that Defense Of Marriage Acts (DOMA), currently present in 37 states, are forms of religious violence. He argues six reasons DOMA's are violent. Here I offer Pahl's argument ledes (in blue), with abbreviated justification:
- DOMA Laws violate sacred texts. The use of biblical texts (i.e., Genesis, Leviticus, Romans and I Corinthians) project twentieth century, alien understandings of homosexuality onto ancient Jewish and Helenistic cultures.
- DOMA Laws elevate heterosexual marriage to idolatrous status. In some religious communities the defense of marriage is all-consuming. This honors heterosexual relationships, the majority, with special privileges, privileges not available to the minority.
- DOMA Laws scapegoat gays and lesbians. Real threats to heterosexual marriage and civil society are scapegoated onto a voiceless and powerless group, who only seek the similar rights of the majority.
- DOMA Laws sacrifice homosexual rights, and damage civil society, in the interest of religious purity. The exclusion and discrimination of a "dangerous" few, constructed around a purity interest (the purity of marriage and normal sexual relationships), invariably damages our understanding of trust, the most important practice in civil society.
- DOMA Laws confuse legislation with religion, and violate the First Amendment .... It is a violation of the First Amendment protection of free association to inhibit, by law, who can associate with whom, when that association does not harm the common good. Also, it violates the establishment clause, when religiously-implicated exclusion is legislated.
- DOMA Laws perpetuate an association of sex with power, and thereby do damage to any sacramental sensibility that might remain in association with even heterosexual marriage. These laws establish hierarchies of relationships and give heterosexual relationships power and dominance in the public sphere, losing the sacramental nature and deep trust inherent in loving relationships.
People who wish to “defend” corrosive influences on marriage – and I count myself as one – might actually find allies among gays and lesbians who desire public recognition for their pledges of fidelity and their commitments to share resources and responsibilities with one another. A true defense of marriage would not involve mean-spirited exclusions, but would embrace practical policies that strengthen deep trust and support families facing economic challenges. (emphasis mine)I couldn't agree more. Defending the sanctity of marriage is one thing, but doing violence to our sisters and brothers is quite another.
Note to self: Beware the Ides of March.