In a touching moment during his recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Marco Rubio talks about discovering his son face down in their pool and jumping in to save him from drowning. In a defining life moment, what Rubio did was try to protect and save his son from danger.
His story resonates with me as a new father. It reminds me of what I would do if I felt my son was threatened in any way. The answer is, of course, anything and everything.
Hopefully this will help Sen. Rubio understand why a different part of his interview was so troubling to me. Speaking with David Brody, the presidential hopeful talked about his devoted opposition to gay marriage, saying:
If you think about it, we are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Because today we've reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.
Now I can understand that Rubio doesn't like to be labeled a homophobe or a hater; but when I hear his and others' repeated opposition to my marriage to my husband and the family we have created with our son, it feels like a direct attack on who I am and the ones whom I love most.
Just as Rubio would have done anything to save his son from drowning, he shouldn't be surprised when we, and thousands of other same-sex couples and families, mobilize to defend ourselves against the rhetoric and politics that would harm us. Rubio may not be homophobic; in fact I'm pretty sure he is not 'scared' of gay people. However, in delegitimizing my marriage and trying to take away our legal status, he is exhibiting what I would call homo-hostility towards my family.
The rhetoric from Rubio and my visceral response offers an important distinction within the debate around gay marriage. On one side, Rubio represents a rapidly diminishing percentage of the population in America who feel their religious ideology is under attack for their sincere belief that gay marriage is wrong. On the other side, married LGBT people are experiencing their actual lives and love come under attack and be threatened by those same sincere beliefs.
It comes down to beliefs vs lives.
Beliefs of all kinds, including religious, are important, and people should have the freedom to believe what they wish. However, that freedom should not be extended to the point where it compromises the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of others. Society's laws, such as laws around gay marriage, should be concerned with the ability of all citizens to be treated equally, laws cannot be concerned with protecting ideology itself.
For one reason, as we all know, ideology changes. Few now hold the same virulent anti- miscegenation views that dominated the south just decades ago. Can you imagine any Christian refusing to bake a cake for an interracial couple? Even the Catholic Church radically changed its ideology in relation to the Jews during Vatican II. Again, ideology is important and people should be allowed to hold whatever beliefs they want, but beliefs are not above criticism. Freedom of belief does not trump freedom of speech.
Plus, what about my own beliefs as a Christian? There are thousands of churches that support gay marriage and full equality for LGBT people. My husband and I were married in the church and had our son baptized in the church at the Easter vigil this year. Sen. Rubio, I'm definitely not holier than thou, but I am as holy as thou.
We are in the middle of a massive change in consciousness around LGBT lives. Just as in every other great awakening, there are people who continue to sleep. That is their right, but don't expect the rest of us to be quiet as we joyfully continue our ever more robust parade towards equality and dignity.
LISTEN: The Way Forward On Religious Freedom And LGBT Rights