Some members of the black clergy are supporting gay marriage in Maryland. Say what? I had to read the article (click here to read the article). The opening line read, “Reverend Donte Hickman believes that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and he will not marry same-sex couples at his church in Baltimore.” I thought maybe I had clicked on the wrong article, but the next line explained that Hickman is in favor of the Civil Marriage Protection Act. Hickman said, “What I practice in the church does not have to be practiced by the state…We live in a democracy not a theocracy and I think it sets a very dangerous precedent when any religious organization can establish and legislate laws by faith tradition.” To that I say, “Amen.”
Hickman represents tolerance. He will not perform a gay marriage in his church, but he understands that in our country his personal beliefs should not be used to infringe upon the rights of others. He gets that there has to be a separation of church and state in order for our country to be at its best. We need laws that protect all of the people, not just some of the people. We’ve never fully enacted our constitution. There has always been a group that we as a country have deemed as unworthy of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My ancestors, whether we discuss my Native American background, or my mostly black background, each had a keen awareness of what it was like to be that group that was singled out as lesser than. Unfortunately, most minority groups in this country have ancestors who were familiar with the idea of being American but being treated like second class citizens. I don’t want to talk about the state of minorities today because that’s a lengthy discussion, but I do want to point out that people often compare gay rights to the civil rights movement because at its core, gay rights is about civil rights. As a citizen of America, each person should be entitled to certain rights. The right to marry should be a guarantee; the fact that people have to fight for it should be an embarrassment to every American citizen.
When certain religious groups argue that homosexuals are trying to force their beliefs on everyone, they should really take a look in the mirror. It’s okay to be against gay marriage, but it stops being okay when you try to force that belief on the country. I wish more clergy would stand up and join Reverend Hickman. Acknowledging that two consenting adults have the right to get married is not the same as marrying them. Hickman has made his position clear: he will not perform a same-sex marriage. That’s all that clergy against gay marriage should say. Hickman made sure that the Civil Rights Marriage Protection Act in Maryland “would not require any religious institutions to perform same-sex marriages if they did not believe in them.” The law provides an easy out for any religious institution that is against same-sex marriage and I think that is a good thing, because I believe that it would be wrong to force gay marriage on a religious institution. For me, it’s an issue of respect. I respect an institution’s right not to do certain things, but that institution must respect the right of other institutions to do those things. Each institution and each couple should be free to make their own choices. That’s what Reverend Hickman believes and that is what I believe, too.