19 September 2004

Disappointment Over Louisiana Constitutional Same-Sex Marriage Ban (An email sent by me to one of the Louisiana legislative sponsors for this recently passed state constitutional amendment)

Dear Rep. Jane Smith,

I suppose that you're happy that Amendment One passed yesterday ... if nothing else, it will certainly help your political career in Louisiana and the Republican Party.

However, I'm sorry that this uninformed and mean-spirited amendment passed. This will hurt heterosexual and homosexual citizens, families and children -- including people I worship with at my church (All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church).

Last week, you said the following statement during the forum at Centenary College:

"Whether you are a person of faith or not, the Creator created marriage between a man and a woman," [Jane] Smith said (as quoted in the Shreveport Times, 14 September 2004).

Your statement doesn't reflect the theological diversity on this issue in Shreveport, Bossier City, and the rest of the United States. My church has blessed same-sex couples for many years and we believe that a loving creator would not deny equal treatment and justice for our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transcended neighbors. I personally believe that Amendment One is yet another example of evil and oppression by humankind against humankind. This is something we will be ashamed of in the future and yet another sin that we will need to atone for as a state.

You also talked about how marriage has been unchanged as an institution for years and allowing same-sex couples would radically change this institution. This statement is a result of ignorance or it's a lie. I assume that you would not lie to your constituents and I'll chalk this up to ignorance. As a former educator, you understand that ignorance can be cured. Here are some resources that you should read before you make any future public statements on same sex marriage and the changes that have happened to the so-called "unchanging" institution of marriage over the past 5000 years along with some religious viewpoints that affirm and welcome the diversity already in our communities:

What Is Marriage For? by E. J. Graff

Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell

CHANGES IN MARRIAGE: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE (from the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance Web Site)

At Issue: Marriage Exploring the Debate Over Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples

Marriage Resources (United Church of Christ denomination's resources on same-sex marriage)

Freedom to Marry, for all People (Unitarian Universalist Association denomination's resources on same-sex marriage)

Rather than speaking in ignorance about the history of marriage and its changes over the past 5000 years, you now have access to resources that will cure your ignorance. However, this now means that any future statements you make that are unsupported by facts are now lies and not simply ignorance.

As a religious minority in Shreveport-Bossier City, putting any citizen's equal treatment before the law up to a popular vote frightens me. Yesterday, the citizens of Louisiana further entrenched discrimination against bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transcended citizens into the state
constitution. My question -- who are we going to legislatively harm next? As a religious minority in a state the promotes intolerance for minority religious and sexual viewpoints, I have reason to be afraid of what my fellow citizens will do next. As a parent, how do I explain this
intolerance to my children?

Thanks for your time,
Steve Caldwell