Just to clarify...

The vast majority of people opposed to same-sex marriage are religious.


It does not logically follow that the vast majority of the religious are opposed to same-sex marriage.

Both sides need to be reminded of this now and then.

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8 comments to Just to clarify…

  • 1
    PaulG says:

    The first may not automatically imply the second, but that doesn’t make the second statement false by itself. Are you talking worldwide? Just Christians? Just American Christians? Just modern American Christians with a college education? I think you have to get pretty specific to find a population in which the majority of religious don’t oppose marriage equality. I’m only positive about the first category (worldwide) though. Americans in general are about evenly split, so how much of that acceptance is weighted by the 20% or so irreligious? Pretty heavily I’d say.
    But I dont’ disagree with your broader implication, that everyone who is religious does not oppose our equality.

  • 2
    Clayton says:

    A great deal of this hinges on how one defines the term “religious.”  The Roman Catholic leadership is adamantly opposed to marriage equality, but polling around the time of the election showed that most Catholic laypeople support it, just as the Roman Catholic leadership is adamantly opposed to contraception, but most Catholic women use it, anyway.  Who determines whether or not the non-complying laypersons are “religious”?
    Rob’s larger point is that we shouldn’t be guilty of assuming the worst, and thereby being bigots in our own way.  With so many public “religious” figures being anti-gay (Maggie Gallagher, Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson), it’s easy to be guilty of lazy thinking.  Last summer, my husband and I attended the wedding of some straight friends of ours.  The officiant was the bride’s cousin, a Baptist minister.  He apparently had been told that a gay couple would be in attendance.  He made a point of seeking us out, introducing himself, and letting us know that he is pro-equality.

  • 3
    robtish says:

    Actually, guys, my point is not whether the vast majority of the religious actually are opposed to marriage equality, but that such a statment is not logically necessary conclusion of the post’s first sentence. Too many treat it as if it were.

  • 4
    Deeelaaach says:

    You post what is basic logic – and yet a lot of people who have been taught that basic logic refuse to see it. 

  • 5
    tavdy79 says:

    One of the major roadblocks is that those religious people opposed to basic civil & human rights for gays tend also to believe that any other religious people who are supportive of those rights (e.g. Jews, Quakers, Unitarians, Pagans) are following a false religion. Our support for LGBT rights is seen as the marker that makes our beliefs a false faith. This is a problem since those same people tend also to believe that false religions should be denied basic protections relating to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, or equivalent laws elsewhere. C.f. the historical treatment of Mormon polygamists, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses and various non-Christian groups.
    This particular problem – those who believe differently being viewed as apostates by those of a more fundamentalist inclination – is at the core of the current debates over gay marriage and women bishops in the UK, both of which are automatic headline news right now due to the backlash over the way the fundamentalists & Catholics blocked ordination of women bishops a few weeks ago (2/3 supermajorities were needed in all three houses of the CofE Synod, and were gained in all but the Laity, where it failed by just three votes) and the fact that Cameron has seen sense (a bloody miracle considering his general social myopia) and decided to go for permitting gay marriages to take place in religious buildings without forcing us through the rigamarole of going through the ECHR in Strasbourg.

  • 6
    Christopher says:

    Something I think needs to be clarified: there is no non-religious argument against same-sex marriage. At least there isn’t one that I’ve heard that stands up to any kind of scrutiny.
    I’ve repeatedly asked opponents of same-sex marriage to offer a secular argument. The answers I’ve gotten are always either some variation of “because marriage is all about procreation” or “because it’s always been that way”. Neither is a legitimate argument for obvious reasons, and the people who’ve offered these arguments, if they’re willing to be pressed, sooner or later just say, “I don’t believe it’s right”. In other words all they have to offer is an argument based in belief, which I would define as a “religious argument”.
    As for the second part, it does seem like the vast majority of people are religious, or would describe themselves that way, and the number of people who oppose same-sex marriage seems to be shrinking. I wouldn’t want to speculate about how many people–religious or otherwise–really are in favor of same-sex marriage, but that’s just me. I prefer to stick with saying that not all religious people oppose same-sex marriage, even though all opponents of same-sex marriage are religious.

  • 7
    Aurora says:

    Dear Rob,
    I have been an avid reader of your blog for a couple of years, and reading your work (as well as a variety of other blogs/youtube channels written by LGBTI people too), has given me much food for thought. I don’t usually post, and part of the reason is that I still have lots to learn and I wanted to listen and take it all in, but partly I don’t post because I felt like I needed to declare my colours (I am religious AND I believe in equality). For most of the last few years I didn’t know how to reconcile those two things, and then when I did reconcile those things, I didn’t know how to communicate it to others clearly. I have always had a sense of the spiritual, and a vital part of that spirituality was justice, and by that I mean, looking out for those who are being treated unfairly. I lived in a totalitarian society as a young child, before moving to a democracy, so I was always aware of how powerful state structures oppressed minorities, ethnic, sexual and religious minorities, and that gave me a passion to see oppression be broken down. My religious parents taught me that compassion and love were valuable characteristics, and that the people you least expect to teach you, are in fact the ones you can learn the most from. So religion, for me, went hand in hand with compassion for those facing pain and injustice. I was glad that the my spiritual life gave me hope and energy for engaging in the world around me. But yet, I heard so much animosity from religious/political figures towards gay people, and I felt that I was split in two. In the last few years I have come across other people from religious backgrounds, some of whom are gay, and some of whom are not gay themselves, but like me they are friends/parents/loved ones of gay people. One couple in particular were amazing loving beautiful friends to me and they supported me through a rough time; I learned so much from them about their struggle to be accepted as gay christians. I want you to know that I recognise the enormous unspeakable pain that has been inflicted on LGBTI people in the name of religion, and although I can’t take responsibility for things I didn’t do, I do feel immense shame and disappointment that these things have happened, and I wish so much to make them right. I have heard countless heartbreaking stories, some from people who I know personally, and some from people I have never met, and I truly am gutted and I ache in solidarity for the victims. For a while I was one of those people that lost faith with the church and was so angry with the leadership, yet I felt that the spiritual side of me still existed, and that the God I believed in wanted me to continue to fight against oppression and injustice (I currently work to help victims of trafficking so I am aware of how gender/sex and power can result in violations of human rights, and I have devoted my professional life to seeking justice). So in regards to the public discourse on religious/politics and sexuality I decided that I can be a voice that stands up and says ‘that is wrong, it should never have happened, and I will stand with you as we journey towards equality, because you are my brother/sister and I want you to be able to express the same commitments/love as I can, and have access the same rights as the rest of society. I know its not much, but I hope it helps you and your readers to know that there are religious people who have been profoundly affected by the injustice suffered by LGBTI people, who are greatly inspired by the successes of recent years, and who are deeply committed to supporting further efforts towards equality globally. I really do believe that the gay people that I know, and the religious people that I know, are part of the same wonderful complex community, part of a colourful fabric that weaves together, and without both of them, I would live in a darker, dimmer and less cheerful world. Both of them have taught me so much, and I now know that there are a growing number of us who want to act as bridges; I want there to be constructive conversations, I want there to be love that crosses divides, and I want to offer myself in service towards justice and peace and equality.


  • 8
    Roosterbear says:

    IOW: All chihuahuas are dogs, but not all dogs are chihuahuas.
    (Sometimes it just seems like the second is true, because they yap the loudest and thus draw the most attention. Metaphorically speaking…)

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