It was the day after everyone’s favorite overly-commercialized celebration of love that South Carolina lawmakers filed a bill that would make same sex marriages “parody marriages.” Despite revisions made to the Defense of Marriage Act in 2016 that led to the legalization of same sex marriage nationwide, individual states do have the right to propose legislature refusing to acknowledge same sex marriage. Running on a conservative platform and backed by the biblical definition of marriage, six Republican house members are arguing that the recognition of same sex marriage as equal to heterosexual marriage is a violation of freedom of religion. Asserting that there is no definitive proof that sexual orientation is genetic and is therefore a matter of faith, this bill equates same sex marriage with Secular Humanism.
As defined by the Council for Secular Humanism, secular humanism is “a comprehensive, nonreligious lifestance.” Its basis lies in the idea that human beings are capable of morality and self fulfillment without belief in a higher power. The primary facet of any religion is the belief in and worship of a God or gods. To define the lack of such as a religious practice is a stretch no matter how you slice it. Coming from a group of politicians whose argument for traditional marriage is based entirely upon the teachings of the Christian bible, this is ironic. Nevertheless, this agenda is being pushed nationwide by Columbia, SC attorney Chris Sevier. He and other like-minded individuals have rallied behind the idea that anything other than heterosexual marriage is an “impersonation of actual marriage.” A similar bill was filed in Wyoming on Valentine’s Day. While these lawmakers are entitled to their religious convictions and have every right not to perform or enter into a same sex marriage, attempting to deny LGBTQ+ citizens the right to marry on the basis of upholding the separation of church and state is hypocritical and unlawful.
In a nation deeply divided by political and social issues, the introduction of this bill is unsurprising. With any degree of social progress comes a backlash that attempts to dismantle it. It is up to those who care to stand up for their own personal convictions when others challenge them. SC Equality, after issuing an initial statement calling the bill a “bigoted and narrow-minded attempt to legalize discrimination,” are doing just that. Visit the organization’s website to find out more about how you can help uphold marriage equality in South Carolina. When citizens come together and remain vigilant in the name of love and compassion, we become an unstoppable force. In the spirit of Saint Valentine and in the words of Lin Manuel-Miranda, “love cannot be killed or swept aside. Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”