Dylan Matthews again distills the high points from the oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional. Everyone knows this. Everyone has known this for a long time. That’s why opponents of same-sex marriage have long advocated for a “marriage amendment” to the Constitution — because they know that without such an amendment, DOMA was destined to be struck down. Opponents of marriage equality have long conceded that their cause requires them to change the Constitution.
The excerpts from yesterday’s arguments Matthews provides, as well as other reports from the court yesterday, suggest that a majority of the justices agree. DOMA is an illegal law.
But here I don’t want to wade into that legal debate. Or into some abstract, meta-level theological debate. Here I want to just highlight a couple of bold posts from yesterday that remind the rest of us that this is not primarily about a “debate” — it’s about people. And it is wrong to treat people as something other than people. It is wrong to reduce people to “controversial issues.”
Kimberly Knight put it this way, “This ain’t politics, and I’m not an f’n lifestyle“:
For folks who holler about Christians not playing politics, you fundamentally miss the mark. I AM A CHRISTIAN. I am a lesbian. I am not talking about politics, I am talking about my very humanity in Christ.
If you are still talking about lifestyle choices, I am afraid you are still using language that is laced with ignorant propaganda that is reserved for the privileged oppressor who has the choice to freely love the one they are created to love without question.
… I am a lesbian as created by God. If there is any lifestyle of which to speak it is my choice to live a Christian life. I am married to a woman as blessed by a Christian pastor and affirmed by a Christian community with whom I worship and am raising my family. I am not an issue, I am not a lifestyle. I am a child of God who has been freed by Christ to live fully into the life I have been given.
Can I get an amen? That there is what my people like to call a testimony.
Here is Travis Mamone, and he’s not mincing words either, asking “Which Side Are You On?”
For years I sat on the fence and said, “Whatever you believe is fine with me.” Even after coming out I still didn’t want to step one anyone’s toes, so I told my non-affirming friends, “It’s okay if you don’t agree with my ‘lifestyle,’ just don’t preach at me and we’ll be fine.”
I can’t do that anymore. Now is the time for you to decide which side you’re on.
Yes, I know you can’t force anyone to be an ally, and I’m not trying to do that. I’m just saying that at this time, no one can afford to sit on the fence on this issue anymore. Not when elected officials are deciding whether or not people like me should marry whoever we want. Or when parents throw their kids out of the house for being queer. Or when trans* people are getting mugged on the streets. Or when religious institutions say queer people are going to Hell for being themselves.
I know some of you are going to say, “Yes, but this is a difficult issue.” No it’s not. You’re either for the full acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer people as fellow human beings, or you’re not. You either believe we are all equal, or you don’t. It’s just that simple.
Amen again. After that testimony, I feel like we should have an altar call.
Let me add one more. This is from a letter Jesse Curtis shared yesterday, written a while ago by a woman named Harriet Southwell:
I truly believe the time is here — (it is late) and that we as Christians — and as true citizens need to acknowledge our wrong and face up to and admit that we have not done to and for [others] what we … would have wanted to be done for us. … I have seen in these years of soul-searching many men and women who with great effort and almost heartbreak have changed their views. … Understand that it took soul-rending change for some of these — some who had been bitter and resentful but who were fair minded and who examined their souls and had to change.
Different time. Same kairos.