Why Same-Sex Marriage is Not a Civil Right

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I mentioned in an earlier article at this site that I no longer debate same-sex marriage (SSM) advocates because we are singing from a different song book and, as a result, have no basis for a resolution (unless they claim to be Christians—which some do) . Unless the participants in a debate subscribe to a common definition of right and wrong, debate is fruitless. Whereas my definitions come from Holy Scripture, those of SSM advocates come from other sources. Consequently, when it comes to SSM advocates, they and I will just have to agree to disagree—something I hope we can do in a manner that is open and frank, but mutually respectful.

That said there is one area in which debate with SSM advocates is still possible for me: the claim that SSM is a civil rights issue. My formative years were spent as a young civil rights advocate during the most memorable era of the movement (the 1960s). My adult life has been spent as a vocal advocate of civil rights. Consequently, the claim that SSM is a civil rights issue gets my attention and commands more of my interest than other claims by its advocates. While equating SSM with civil rights might be smart strategy, it is an inaccurate portrayal. My contention is borne out in how SSM advocates are approaching the controversy over how far Christian-owned businesses must go in serving homosexuals who are planning to wed. This is a controversy that could benefit from less volume, rancor, and emotionalism and more logic, reason, and common sense.

SSM advocates have begun demanding that bakeries, flower shops, wedding planners, photographers, and other businesses go over and above the services they normally provide and actually participate, if only indirectly, in their SSM ceremonies. Businesses that refuse to participate in the ways demanded are being fined, threatened, and even forced out of business. The message of SSM advocates is clear: agree with our worldview or we will crush you. I am old enough to remember that this was never the message of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his supporters never tried or even intended to crush those who opposed civil rights. Rather, they treated their opponents with respect even in the face of disrespect and violence. For example, those of us who participated in sit-ins at segregated restaurants did not seek to close down the restaurants, nor did we ask for special privileges. Rather, we simply wanted them to serve all customers equally.  
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