You likely know that the Supreme Court — by choosing not to hear several appeals last week — added 11 more states to the marriage equality roster (bringing the number to 30).
Brent Childers has run North Carolina-based Faith In America since 2007. “For much of his adult life as an evangelical Christian,” reads his bio, “he aligned himself with the anti-gay religious industry.”
In 2012, one of his four kids came out to him. Since then — living in a socially conservative part of North Carolina — he’s watched the harm religion-derived “derogation,” as he calls it, has hurt her and his family.
Of the Court’s decision, he wrote:
I wish everyone could have seen the reaction of my 16-year-old daughter late yesterday morning when I told her North Carolina’s anti-gay marriage amendment was in essence struck down.
We live in a socially conservative area and she has heard many times, especially two years ago, all the religion-derived derogation that comes with those amendments.
Many times it takes only the topic of sexual orientation to prompt expressions of such derogation. So many young people for years have heard those expressions from family, peers, teachers, pastors, elected officials and many others. Just last week, the grandmother of my daughter’s very best friend made the comment that she is “evil” – only because she is gay. An uneducated bigot? Actually the grandmother is a physician – an educated individual made blind to understanding by outdated and misguided church teaching.
My daughter and many other young people will return to school this morning knowing that the moral condemnation that drove the passage of North Carolina’s anti-gay marriage amendment and the moral derogation it placed on their very being has been judged wrong. They will know that what morality exists within the law sides with them and not individuals like that grandmother. Such knowledge is liberating on many different levels.
So I’m not sure “revel” is the correct word as far as what I’m experiencing. Rather, it’s a profound peace in knowing that life for countless young people, such as my daughter, just got so much better.
We know marriage equality will not single-handedly eliminate religion-derived derogation toward LGBT youth and families. But few could disagree that the one-man-one-woman construct has been one of religion-based bigotry’s most formidable weapons. It was a powerful construct derived from misguided biblical interpretation. As that construct is unfastened, it surely will weaken further the remaining biblical construct of “homosexual immorality.” After today’s decision and those to follow, the time of spiritual equality and the time of full equality can become one – which we now can see in the very near future. Yes, a transformational day indeed.
This photo of two sheriffs deputies marrying — in North Carolina! — in the wake of the Court’s ruling, prompted one long-time activist to write: “Seriously. I really just have to say: I think we’re done here. Next project: Federal anti-discrimination law. Because you don’t wanna get fired in North Carolina just for gettin’ hitched! Which you could, and it’d be legal.”
The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) would prevent employers in North Carolina — or any of the 28 other states that still allow it — from firing people just for being gay.
ENDA passed the Senate last year by a wide majority — 64-32.
But Republicans in the House, believing employers must be allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians, kept it from becoming law.