Title: Religion vs. homosexual marriage Credit: Cherie Crawford Comment Saturday 19th May 2007 - 12:00pm1179532800 Article: 1720 Rights
A recent job interview gave Hamiltonian Cherie Crawford pause for thought on religious opposition to same-sex marriage: Our constitiutional rights as a society give homosexuals the right to marry on the basis that 'marriage' has and never been based on procreation. We live in a liberal state, whereby the issue of privacy gives individuals the right to marry, regardless of gender.There is no reason to invalidate marriage for homosexuals, as nothing intrinsic to the legal institution of marriage excludes same sex couples. Civil unions do not render full entitlements to same-sex marriages, and deny homosexuals from legal, financial and social benefits of marital status. In researching same-sex marriages for my law degree, I found that the main opposing force to equality is religion. I do not speak from an anti-religious mindset, as I was brought up in a Christian environment and I trained to be a youth worker.However, from my personal encounters recently, it has raised some alarming questions for me. Just last week, I applied for a position in a church as a youth worker.I kept silent on my views on homosexually, to avoid any discrimination or hate. I was interviewed by four males for one hour. The outcome of my interview was not positive.I was refused the position, because the church leaders didn't like my 'direct' personality. Mmm, I thought, if you're a male you're encouraged to be assertive and display leadership qualities.But if you're a female going for a male 'dominant' position, then 'gender' is in the equation for discrimination. I was told that I was more qualified than anyone else who went for the position and that I had far more experience.So why didn't I get the position? I wasn't a 'male'! My interview made me think about my upbringing and challenge the legalisticmindset that I had engrained.In the perspective of what's really right for society today. I have come to understand that with religious organisations, some people just see 'one side of the coin'. By this I mean that they view life from a narrow parameter.They always look at the 'head' but not the 'tail'. They always view life from what's 'morally' right for them, but never look at society as a whole, at what is commonly in the interests of all. For example, what was the point of the Destiny march? Was it to voice opposition against civil unions, or was it to push their own political agenda? In my job interview, the four males questioned me more than I've ever had in any other interview.The centre of the theme of their questions rested more on what I could do for the church in a 'religious sense'.However, I'm more concerned with how I can help the mother in a abusive relationship, or the teenagewho is addicted to drugs. If the likes of Destiny Church and other church organisations viewed the 'flipside' of society, from a different angle, than through a narrow parameter of what they believe is 'morally acceptable', then the rights of homosexuals to legal status would be accepted. Why are there marches of 'hate' in opposition to what should have and always be politically a legal right? Where there exists a right in society, the law itself must create the framework to which one has a right.The right to marry regardless of gender imposes an affirmative obligation on the government to establish a legal framework. We don't need to remove legal barriers where constitutional rights already exist outside of the law, we enforce those rights. I hope that one day we have a political framework that recognises equal status to homosexuals in marriage. I know that a gay guy I knew who committed suicide would still be here today if he felt embraced, and a bit more accepted than hated.Common acceptance and unity is a 'reason' to march, not 'hate'. We need to change the focus and look at the 'flip side' of equality and privacy rights… and not see things from a narrow parameter. Cherie Crawford - 19th May 2007    
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