Monday, June 2, 2014

Civil Magistrate in VA Permitted to Discriminate

Bud Roth, a civil magistrate in Virginia, employed by the county, paid by taxpayers, appointed by the court system to officiate civil contract marriages, has been permitted to refuse to marry certain couples based on their religious beliefs. 

Read the detailed account including a video recording of a conversation one of the betrothed had with Roth at Friendly Atheist

What minority does the guy discriminate against? Why non-theists, of course! But given the language used by both Republican and and Democrat politicians speaking about marriage over the past couple decades, should we be surprised?

We all know what religious bigots many Republicans can be when it comes to marriage equality. But here's some quotes from prominent Democrats: 

"I'm for domestic partnerships having legal protections, but not the same sacrament, not the same name, because I favor protecting the institution of marriage as it has been understood between a man and woman." -Al Gore in 2000 

But, Al, the civil union part of marriage (which is the only part government has a hand in) is not a sacrament
"Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman." -Hillary Clinton in 2000. 

Hillary, guess what, the oldest and most common type of marriage in human history has been polygyny, not heterosexual monogamy. Also, what the hell does what ancient societies did have to do with the institution of marriage today, anyway, particularly considering how the state of women's rights has progressed! 
"I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian - for me - for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix." -Barack Obama in 2008
Barack, if that whole sacred aspect of marriage is just for you, then why the hell are you bringing it up during a political campaign? Could it be that you are encouraging voters to trust you because you are Christian (because after all, secular people simply can't be as morally upright as good Christians such as yourself.) 

Of course now all three of these political figures have evolved in their views regarding gay marriage. Now they all think legal gay marriage is just hunky dory.

Who cares that all that old rhetoric was incredibly insulting to atheist and agnostic couples (who actually have lower than average divorce rates.) Nevermind that such rhetoric helped solidify in the minds of Americans that marriage and religiosity are inseparable, and that marriage that is not regarded as sacred and sacrament is a less serious, less solid undertaking.

If Bud Roth wants to be a minister and officiate religious ceremonies then he should go do that. But if he accepted an appointment to officiate civil ceremonies for the state, he has no business turning away couples based on religious beliefs or lack thereof. 

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