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03/09/2012

Video: Roland Martin hosts good MD marriage debate (really)

by Jeremy Hooper

He's certainly raised some eyebrows this winter. But I have to say, Roland Martin does host a good debate on Maryland marriage equality and its civil vs. religious distinction:

What I love about this clip is how Rev. Coates quite plainly says that his church doesn't plan to hold religious marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, but that this choice doesn't diminish his support for equal civil marriage rights. I've been saying for years -- in countless meetings, forums, conferences, etc. -- that this is an effective point for us to make. I've even suggested creating year-round ads with faith leaders saying quite plainly that they personally oppose religious marriage rites, but that they unequivocally support civil marriage rights. I truly believe that without America's fundamental misunderstanding and/or obfuscation of the civil marriage vs. religious ceremony distinction, we wouldn't even have a contrived marriage war. All it would take is for the faith-motivated people fighting against us to accept that which we on the pro-civil-equality side are more than willing to render unto them.

But that's not the only opportunity highlighted in this clip. Another comes at around the 2:40 mark, when Harry Jackson starts talking about what kids will or will not talk about in schools. Here he's talking about sex education, but it's the same scenario as when they throw inclusive school teaching in our faces. In any of these cases, we need to reinforce that these conversations are not dependent on marriage equality. When it comes to sex education, inclusive teaching, or anything else that involves LGBT people and their public school acknowledgement, the possibility hinges only on the existence of LGBT people. The opposition acts like everyone's waiting on marriage to decide whether or not we talk to kids about the reality of our world. But why?! Why don't they realize that the spectrum of normalcy enough?! And if they *do* realize that LGBT existences alone are enough to merit these kinds of conversations, then what does their constant dependence on this inclusive schools fear game say about their movement's truer, deeper goals?

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