Kevin Oak, Detroit Lakes, Minn., Published June 09 2013
Letter: Liberty without bias not bullyingIt really should have come as no surprise to anyone that Minnesota would become the 12th state in the nation to allow people to be joined in marriage without prejudice. The attempt to constitutionally prohibit marriage equality was easily defeated, and instead that equality is supported by a majority of residents.
The debate should be over, but apparently there are still those who insist that their personal religious beliefs should trump the law of the land. A recent letter was framed in the context that allowing gays marriage equality was ignoring God’s laws and that somehow the entire population was
“bullied” into submission by the Minnesota Legislature. That viewpoint is myopic at best and reeks of blatant religious intolerance and bigotry. Let’s frame this issue in a more appropriate context.
The First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And that means our elected officials are constitutionally bound to pass laws that are purely secular in scope, unhindered by the theocratic tenets of any religion, Christian or otherwise.
It is the responsibility of elected legislatures to ensure that all citizens are afforded equal freedom and liberty without prejudice. And that is not by any means bullying. Beyond that, people have the constitutional right to choose to live according to the laws established by their chosen religion. Within civilized parameters, of course. Human sacrifice, for instance, is a no-no.
So people living bound by theological laws that prohibit gay marriage have the constitutional right to adhere to those laws and not enter into gay marriage, likewise without prejudice. But when a minority of the population feels compelled to force their theological laws upon the rest of the populace via legislative actions because allowing gays to marry incites their religiously indoctrinated bigotry, it brings to mind one question: Who’s trying to bully whom?