VA Republicans Brand Same-Sex Marriage Un-Christian

Commonly held wrong ideas about equality

James Finn
Dec 17, 2020 · 7 min read
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Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va. Photo by Gage Skidmore. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lots of commonly held ideas are wrong —

I thought a lot about that this morning as I read articles by Elle Beau ❇︎ and Chitara Smith on Medium. Elle says that “we, as a society, are still bought into old concepts of how the world works that are demonstrably off-base.” She says when she challenges those ideas with data, she often takes flack.

Lots of ideas about LGBTQ acceptance are wrong

Adding to Elle’s important observation, plenty of newer concepts are demonstrably off base too, even when advanced from a place of good will. That’s where Chitara’s powerful story comes in. She says coming out to her mother as bisexual was “like throwing a vase into a ceiling fan.”

Chitara’s story is ordinary in the contemporary queer experience

LGBTQ youth in the United States often face trauma when they come out to their families or live as their authentic selves. Data bear this out powerfully. New research shows lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are reporting less support from parents than two decades ago. While this counterintuitive trend may be explained by earlier coming-out ages, the data point to an entrenched problem that isn’t getting better.

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

People in the U.S. by and large take religious opposition to queer people in stride. Progressive and moderate folks don’t like it much, but they rarely do anything about their dislike. One doesn’t sees crowds of people demonstrating outside neighborhood Catholic or Evangelical churches that spread poison as baseless and toxic as the racism preached by the Ku Klux Klan.

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Congressperson Riggleman officiating same-sex wedding. Photo by Christine Riggleman via Facebook

Riggleman, racism, and homophobia

Speaking of the Ku Klux Klan, it’s instructive that the wedding Riggleman is taking so much flak for was both same-sex and mixed-race. He officiated the marriage of two young men- one white and one Black — who fell in love while working to get him elected to Congress.

A shameful Virginia history of unequal marriage

Riggleman could have noted that equal treatment under the law is a principle Virginia struggled with for decades until the Supreme Court struck down a racist law in 1967’s celebrated Loving v. Virginia.

Virginia Republicans are privileging religion and entrenching anti-LGBTQ hatred

The Virginia Republican Party went to extraordinary lengths to get rid of Riggleman, just as furious today about same-sex marriage as people used to be about mixed-race marriage. Riggleman is leaving Congress in January, but not because he lost an election.

The Virginia Republican Party has got a lot wrong here

They’re encouraging the mingling of religion with politics. They’re asserting baselessly that LGBTQ equality is anti-Christian, and they’re making LGBTQ issues a litmus test for running for office in Virginia.

Three commonly held wrong ideas —

  • Marriage is a religious institution, and religious people have a stake in how marriage functions. Not true — Civil marriage in the U.S. has nothing to do with religion and never has. People of all faiths and no faiths marry all the time, and no Church has a legitimate interest in how that works.
  • LGBTQ people, especially LGB people, are enjoying more and more acceptance, to the point where being LGB is no big deal, and maybe even fashionable and cool. Not true — While some LGB people live privileged experiences in certain circles, data indicate that most LGB people face serious challenges because of their identity. Trans people have things even worse. Religion is most of the reason why.
  • LGBTQ people enjoy the support of friends and allies who have their backs and will not tolerate homophobia and transphobia. Not true — Religious ideology that demonizes LGBTQ people is pervasive and well tolerated in the U.S. Cis/straight people almost never speak out about it or condemn it. They almost never treat overt homophobes and transphobes with the same social shaming and shunning they reserve for overt racists. They casually tolerate homophobic institutions in their neighborhoods.

U.S. values of pluralism and secularism must trump religious hate

The Republican Party of Virginia in this instance is an extreme example but a compelling one. If our unmet ideals of pluralism and tolerance are ever to be fulfilled, we must reject ideologies of othering like racism, homophobia, and transphobia.

We must examine our common beliefs and identify which of them are wrong, toxic, or dangerous.

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James Finn

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

James Finn - The Blog

Collected Writings. Stories and ramblings from a long-time LGBTQ thinker and activist.

James Finn

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

James Finn - The Blog

Collected Writings. Stories and ramblings from a long-time LGBTQ thinker and activist.

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