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.