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07/02/2013

So don't marry us. Or bless us. Or come to our weddings. Or buy us toasters. Who cares?

by Jeremy Hooper

The Illinois Family Institute is the organization trying to stop CIVIL marriage equality in the state. The fight in the state has nothing to do with the optional religious ceremony. Churches and faith leaders will be as free to deny gays of a religious ceremony on the day after marriage equality is signed into law as they are on the day before equality is signed into law, just as they currently free to deny any kind of couple for just about any kind of reason (e.g. atheist, interfaith, divorced, didn't attempt premarital classes, etc.).

So that being the reality of their fight, the new meme that the IFI is encouraging its followers to share on Facebook is nothing but a distraction:

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[IFI]

It's kind of like fighting immigration reform by citing the Olive Garden or Taco Bell's refusal to ever cook up genuinely native food. Or fighting Obamacare by saying faith healers will never honor it.

Look, I understand and respect that many, many, MANY couples in this nation (gay and straight) opt to have faith as a part of their ceremony. Self included, actually. While our ceremony was secular, Andrew and I incorporated several elements from both of our faith traditions. I mean, we married under a chuppah and we had a nun in attendance (in full habit). There was faith on hand.

But personal faith decisions are side conversations, largely to be left to the participants, their churches, and the tour guides who lead them through their chosen religion. When we have the national conversation about marriage equality, we are talking about CIVIL marriage. Fully. Period.

Unless and until groups like the IFI want to try to make religion a demand that is placed on every American's right to a civil marriage license, they cannot use anti-LGBT faith opinions to deny certain kinds of Americans of their own freedoms. They've had a good run duping their supporters into thinking that they can, but the ruse is largely up. People are catching on their overreaches and their untenability.

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