I Believe.

I have spent most of my adult life caught between the tug of the faith I was raised in and the call of the liberal academic world. I love my family. I respect my parents’ faith and the way they raised me. Much of what I was raised to believe still resonates powerfully within me. Because of this, because of my love for continuing in peace with the people I love in spite of the fact that their beliefs are no longer quite my own, I don’t often make a stand on political issues.

 

Today, however, I feel I must.

 

America is founded upon the idea that all people have the right to pursue their religious beliefs. The only way to safeguard that right is to ensure a separation between religious government and civil government. As such, no church should be forced to acknowledge a union that their beliefs hold to be problematic. That is the right of a religious body.

 

Marriage, however, is more than a religious institution. It is often religious, and in the context of  a specific religion, the governing body has a sense of what they believe a marriage can be given the fundamental principles of their beliefs.

 

But marriage is also civic. Marriage determines how people pay taxes, how spouses can act for one another in the case of extreme illness. Marriage is a way of recognizing that two people have chosen to become a family, with all the implications that word has for the law.

 

For all my dear friends and family members going to the polls in Maine today to decide, among other things, the future of the civil aspects of gay marriage in the state, I ask you to think about this. Voting "No on 1" today does not indicate that you believe gay marriage should be condoned by your religion. Rather, it indicates that you believe that all citizens in a democracy have the legal right to act in accordance with their own beliefs.

 

Please vote “No on 1” today. To do otherwise is to steal from others their civil right to the pursuit of happiness.

8 thoughts on “I Believe.

  1. no on one
    This has nothing to do with civil rights, but with the intentional torpedoing of the instition of marriage. Every state “discriminates” against it’s citezens who want to get married. You must be a certain age, cannot marry siblings or close relatives, must hav e blood test to prove it.
    Did you know that NAMBLA is salavating over these course changes. They are waiting for the chance to justify Man/boy love, and marraige.
    Melissa, you have completley lost your way. It is not whether your mother and I are right or wrong. It is a matter of Judeo-christian teaching of god’s holiness being right. there will not be a vote on this in the end. It is established. I can only pray for your slavation, daughter.

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  2. Courage
    Melissa
    Know that you are loved for your courage, your strength, your beauty, intelligence and your ability to love.
    Brenda

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  3. belief in people
    Hi Melissa – I’m always talking politics and I’m lucky that I’ve never had views that divereged much from family and other people who are close to me so I’ve never had to take a stand like you. It must be very hard.
    I think you and I have different views on some things. I try to fill my life, heart, and brain with a belief in people; that people are good, and loving, and doing their very best no matter where or who they are. (That has been challenging in my line of work!)
    Your post was well stated and reasoned and I think you thought about it alot, as I imagine that you do most things. I hope Declan grows up to be as thoughtful, caring, and deliberate as you are.
    Best,
    Aymie

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  4. My Dad was upset when I was a young because I asking a lot of questions about gay rights (I think he was worried that I didn’t go for women), and he was also upset because I admired the threatening (or so they were then perceived) Beatles and other rockers when in fact classical and Clancy Brothers were the only music deemed paternally acceptable. Now my dad is a-ok with gays and Beatles. Elton John and Bette Midler I’m not so sure. Okay I don’t like Bette Midler either.

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  5. Civic duties, etc.
    The thing I love most about being sisters with you is you have a way of eloquently stating all those words rattling around in my head. I could say the exact same thing that you did, but it would never sound as well thought out as you. The bottom line to this vote is civil rights- no more, no less. If you take away all the campaign mud-slinging that drags in completely unrelated issues, this question boils down to equality. I definitely voted no on Question 1 today- people deserve equal civil rights.
    ~ Creepy Stalker (just kidding, I was catching up on posts and the one about signing your name made me laugh.) You know who I am!

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  6. I Believe
    Congratulations for your courage to take a stand on something you believe in passionately. I’ll keep my views aside for now but one of the reasons this is a big issue is because of money. By making a gay marriage “legal” it now says you are untitled to the spouses health insurance benefits, death benefits and all that other legal mumbo jumbo that goes along with the words legal and civil in a marriage.
    My views are unimportant. What is important is that we accept all people just as they are.
    An old lady. You know who I am.

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  7. Civil unions are already available to those who choose to use them, gay or straight that addresses your legal concerns. I am glad, that inspite of all your good intentions, that once again the common sense in Maine has prevailed. If you are really genuinely interested in hearing what bullet we were saved from, please go to the churches website and listen to Pastor Bill’s sermons from the last three or four weeks. There was far more at stake than I think you realize.

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