Pride Month: A Reflection on the Issues
by: Kevin Kelly
On Sunday a couple weeks ago, I visited an annual Pride Month event downtown here in Warwick. In case you’re not aware, Pride Month occurs every June and recognizes the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LBGT) communities of America. Its official title is LGBT History Month. I myself didn’t know June was Pride Month until recently. Apparently that Sunday was only the fifth time the event, which included a parade, was held in Warwick. Perhaps my experience is reflective of many other fellow Americans, and fellow millennials, who are becoming increasingly aware of the issues surrounding the lives of these communities.
There’s no doubt that today’s larger media venues have made it easier to not only learn about them, but also discuss them. Naturally, you see people on Facebook and Twitter going back and forth with each other on the related topics, including the legal ethics of gay marriage and the right of small businesses to avoid servicing such marriages.
I’ve taken part in those debates on occasion. In my view, one does not have to be liberal or progressive to be for allowing gay marriage. There are those like myself who in general take a libertarian approach to politics. We believe that the government should not interfere with whoever a man or woman takes as their spouse. That’s why I felt that the Supreme Court’s decision in 2015 to overturn state bans against gay marriage was the right thing to do.
As in straight marriage, if partners in a gay marriage are not abusive to each other or their children, then there is no need for concern. Where we disagree with the liberal and progressive camps is on the idea that small business owners must be coerced to help the procession of gay weddings. There are many who equate the refusal of a baker or florist to provide service to them with the pre-60’s segregation of businesses and schools.
But there are important differences between these situations. One is that racial segregation was based on who the customer was, not what event they were holding. Turning a customer away because they are gay is not the same thing as declining to help set up their wedding. Another is that unlike race, gay marriage actually touches a clear issue in the Bible. There are no verses in the Bible that condemn one’s skin color, but there are plenty that condemn homosexual practices.
Some smaller churches, like the Life Journey Church in Indianapolis, argue that such verses have been taken out of their original context. Still, they are enough to convince millions of Christians in other churches that to take any part in a homosexual union is a sin against their God. Think about it. The state can slap a penalty on your business costing thousands of dollars. They can force you and your employees to attend sensitivity training. They can make you act against your religion. And it’s all because they don’t agree with the way you live by it. Does that not seem like moral tyranny? Could it not eventually lead to a similar tyranny over your other beliefs?
Just think about Cassandra Fortin, the teenager in Connecticut who was taken by her state’s Department of Children and Families and forced to undergo more chemotherapy for her cancer. Her mother supported her desire not to, and they wanted to explore less toxic alternative treatments – which, in other effective ways such as the targeted drug Gleevec, do exist. That didn’t stop the government from disregarding their moral conviction. Fortin’s cancer later rebounded. We must recognize that freedom of conscience is a priceless treasure of our society.
Part of upholding it means, to a certain extent, allowing the citizen to conduct themselves in the way that they feel is most proper even when we don’t like it. For the LGBT communities of this great country, that means that they be allowed to marry whomever they choose and engage in whichever lifestyle practices they wish without fear of legal repercussion.