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12/01/2011

Video: Sen Wicker rightly calls this 'the least we could do'; wrong about most else

by Jeremy Hooper

Tony Perkins (of the SPLC-designated hate group the Family Research Council), Tim Wildmon (of the SPLC-designated hate group the American Family Association), and Roger Wicker (of the United States Senate's Republican wing) seem to think yesterday's adoption of a certain policy regarding military chaplains is some sort of victory. But in fact, it actually helps prove what we've been saying for years. Listen in and I'll get back to you:

Okay. So the reality is that Sen. Wicker's chaplain thing was part of a package of non-controversial defense authorization amendments that were all adopted by voice vote. It's non-controversial, because Sen. Wicker's amendment does absolutely nothing. All it says it that military chaplains, like all faith leaders, are free to determine whether or not they want to perform a marriage ceremony -- any kind of marriage, not just same-sex. It is something that is already Pentagon policy, Sen. Wicker's amendment simply reinforces it. Ho hum.

But more to our interests: It's also something with which virtually no one in the marriage equality movement has any issue. The social conservatives are the ones always claiming that we want to force this or that religious person to perform a wedding against his or her will, and that our CIVIL marriages constitute a generalized threat to religious freedom. We are the ones saying, "NO -- religious people ALWAYS have a right to deny ANY kind of religious wedding ceremony." They just don't listen to us. Or worse yet: They listen and comprehend what we are saying, they just know that it's politically advantageous to scare their supporters into believing a lie.

The easy, non-controversial adoption of Sen. Wicker's amendment shows who is really trying to turn this matter of religious leaders and wedding ceremonies into a hot political debate. It's not us. Not one of our strong Senate supporters saw any need to debate this. However, Sen. Wicker goes on a radio show with two of the most overheated "culture warriors" working and attempts to spin this as some "pro-family" win? That right there proves who has the agenda on this. That agenda, as stated, is to both allow dissenting religious figures to deny same-sex wedding ceremonies (something we support) and to also stop affirming religious figures from having the ability to perform a same-sex wedding if they so choose (something we obviously reject). That's why you have Sen. Wicker talking about this as if it's a first piece in a larger puzzle, when it is really a non-event that makes both mountains and molehills look gargantuan by comparison. It is the social conservatives exploiting this marital component, trying to have their wedding cake and ours too. They are the ones ever-so-militantly overreaching. They are the ones threatening religious freedom here.

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