Letter: Same sex marriage an issue of human rights, not religion

To the editor:
As I read the May 2 issue and looked through to Heidi Bailey’s letter to the editor I was confused. I don’t remember there being a bill passed on a religious issue but rather one on human rights. In fact, as someone who doesn’t subscribe to a Christian belief I felt somewhat insulted. Due to the US Bill of Rights I believe I am allowed religious freedom. Why then is religion constantly used when talking against a same-sex marriage proposal. This issue is one of law and law must be free of religion in general. The only reason I don’t have a problem with the US dollar saying “In God we trust” or placing a hand on the bible when testifying in court is because they are traditionally and historically significant. Maybe these customs should be changed to help remind Americans that we should, in fact be more tolerant of each other and the world.

Of course if you’re reading this you probably want some demographics so here goes. My name is Jonathan Kmieciak and I am a 22 year old Bristol resident who, in my entire life, has only resided in Warren and Bristol. I am a Caucasian male raised Episcopal but my beliefs now are spiritual and stem from Deism and Buddhism. I graduated with the class of 2009 from Mt. Hope High School, played sports, acted, sang and I am now a mathematics and secondary education double major at Rhode Island College (RIC). Also, I would like to add that I am a feminist and have given eight pints of blood. So I am also an avid supporter of progressive movement and helping others.

That being said I would like to reiterate that had I wanted a lesson in scripture I would read the bible or see if RIC offered one. I thank you for showing your opinion and going about it in the correct route but like I said your opinion, though well versed, holds no merit. Religion is not and can never be an argument as to why a person should not receive the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of [their own] happiness.

Jonathan W. Kmieciak
103 Chestnut Street

8 Comments

  1. Heidi said:

    The thing is, Jonathan, that marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament is a sign of the life of the Holy Trinity, the one God. So when people use the word marriage they are treading on MY religious beliefs. And then they throw in words like “equality” and “justice” and tell me I’m ignorant and intolerant because of my religious beliefs. Language is a very powerful tool.
    It may surprise you to know that the religion that is most persecuted in the world today is Christianity. There’s a difference between being tolerant and being persecuted. I’m not expecting you to agree with my religion. But I would ask these free United States not to secularize my religious beliefs.
    I love the Bill of Rights! Unfortunately, it is being ignored when it comes to religious rights. Take the HHS mandate that, with a very, very narrow exception, requires people to violate their consciences to provide contraception and abortifacients which is treading heavily on my religious beliefs – my religious freedom.
    And like you when I was 22 (and 32, and 42, . . . ) I explored Buddhism and other paths; this shows that you are searching for the truth. Keep searching! But also take a look at where religious freedom is going in America. I defend it vigorously because I see it being stepped on by our government. And if the government allows it, then this is how persecution gains its footing in our culture. What’s next? History books will tell you the answer to that one. Wouldn’t you defend your right to play sports or to sing or to act if it was being denied bit by bit?
    I believe that homosexual persons deserve respect, justice and pastoral care, but marriage is unique because of human complementarity which is inherently procreative. That’s very unique! As a fellow educator, I worry about children not having the opportunity to be raised by both a father and a mother. I have taught many, many children and young adults without this opportunity, and their lives have an extraordinary difficult challenge because of this. Soon in your own teaching experiences you will understand what I mean.
    Thank you kindly for reading my rebuttal.

    Peace!
    Heidi

  2. rtowne said:

    Jonathan – well said. Thank you.

    Heidi – “marriage” in and of itself is a legal commitment, governed by the laws of the state. Even clergy must say “…by the power vested in me by the state of ___ I know pronounce you…”. The separation of church and state is there for a reason. No one is asking anyone to give up their religious beliefs. Same-sex couples do not need to be married in a church, and neither do opposite-sex couples. In fact, Common-Law marriage is legal in some of the US states (such as RI) and it does not involve a church at all (nor is it even recognized or sanctified by a church). If a man and a woman live together fro 7 years in RI, and present themselves as a “couple” for all intents and purposes, then the law of marriage applies to them. Religious beliefs do not enter into that equation, and they should not enter into same-sex marriage either.

    As a Protestant (Congregationalist) and educator of too many years to count, I welcome this change. It is long overdue. Human rights must trump personal or religious opinion.

  3. DAVETAXPREP said:

    hiedi, again your not listening to others concerns Marriage in church is relegion, A union between 2 people has nothing to do with regilous believes. You just cant see that. Again I say seperate church of state. God will still love you but other people have rights too.

  4. walterheisenberg said:

    That’s the basic problem…civil marriages at the town hall.
    Marriage from time immemorial has been a religious sacrament.
    We started down this slippery slope long ago when the church gave up it’s rights and allowed civil ceremonies to be called marriage. This should never have happened. You can’t go to the town hall and be baptized or receive communion, why can you then get “married”.
    Now the cat’s out of the bag and there’s no going back.
    So now the queers can get married in civil ceremonies – next they’ll request to get married at a catholic church and be denied. They will then cry discrimination and win in our liberal courts.
    That will be the end of religion – game set match librals win.

    • focus said:

      Is marriage about sexual relations ? Is marriage about financial contracts ? Is your marriage everyone’s business ? Is marriage keeping a lot of lawyers in business ?

  5. HeidiF said:

    Warning: the following is NOT posted by the original Heidi :P

    However I would like to comment to Ms. Heidi Bailey’s condescending rebuttal to Jonathan. Marriage is NOT historically religious. It is historically CIVIL. No church “owns” marriage, and the “institute” of marriage has come in many forms over thousands of years. Marriage is first and foremost a legal economic contract which, 1. combines the finances of two families or individuals, and 2. secures financial stability for possible children raised by the marriage couple. That being said, marriage is NOT the exclusive domain of procreation. If this were the case, then we would not allow couples who do not procreate to marry. Marriage is a bond and a contract between the parties involved as allowed by the local legislation. Gay marriage has not threatened one single heterosexual marriage. And time has shown that children from single parent families, double parent families, gay families, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc are equally functional, loving, and adjusted into adulthood, provided they were raised by loving, adjusted people (no matter what the relationship or sexual orientation of their guardians/parents).

    You also need to do your research on this so-called “persecution of Christianity” … it is one of the biggest propaganda efforts in modern times. There are real and genuine numbers and I assure you that Christians are not anywhere near as persecuted as the current mythology would have you think. If you want separation of church and state that means equal treatment. Pay taxes. Support your own hospitals. But if your Christian hospital or Christian school wishes to receive government funded third party reimbursement for services rendered to patients, then you must realize you will be called to treat every patient equally. If you wish to run your hospital by so called Christian teachings then raise your own funds to pay for your patient care. If you are going to hire public citizens, then you must treat them equally under the law and provide equal medical coverage to them. Otherwise, feel free to staff them with clergy, priests, nuns, deacons, etc.

    You are not persecuted. So I would suggest you quit whining the party line and *really* support your so called beliefs. As far as I know Christ came to save everybody, not just the people you find acceptable.

    Regards,
    Heidi Farrington, RN

  6. HeidiF said:

    p.s. Jonathan, you keep right on supporting your human rights beliefs. I commend you on your letter and your courage to discuss these topics in a public forum.

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