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posted: 3/22/2013 5:00 AM

Lawmakers' remarks on gays troubling

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State Rep. Jeanne Ives claims that remarks she made regarding gays and their supposed "agenda" were misinterpreted. But unless they were incorrectly reported by the Herald, they were read loud and clear: they were derogatory, personally biased and mocking of an entire segment of the population of Illinois.

Gay citizens are not trying to "weasel an agenda" anywhere. But all citizens, gay and straight are adversely affected by the Defense of Marriage Act. It forces all citizens to adhere to specific religious beliefs as a federal prerequisite to accessing a specific civil right to marry as opposed to other rights.

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In many cases, a straight citizens' religious faith does not include this definition that marriage is only between one man and one woman, but he still must follow this belief from faiths other than his own in order to have access, even as a straight citizen, to the right to civil marriage. This singular religious definition in many cases infringes on a straight person's right to religious freedom- as much as any gay person's right to religious freedom and his right to be civilly married.

State representatives of Jeanne Ives' ilk who claim to represent the people should wake up. If the government can now tell all citizens under the Defense of Marriage Act what religious belief to follow in order to access one civil liberty, the government could in the future use this precedent to deny straight citizens, even Rep. Jeanne Ives, access to other civil liberties like the right to vote, to bear arms, to collectively assemble or even to freedom of speech by now being allowed to possibly define those rights also in singular religious ways which may then exclude them and her.

John F. Page


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