The Atheist Community of Austin is dismayed by the passing of Proposition 2, the amendment to the Texas State Constitution concerning same-sex marriage. The amendment was proposed and championed by Christian conservatives who framed the issue as religious, despite the fact that same-sex, state-granted marriage is a civil rights issue. The State of Texas has never been in the business of sanctifying marriage. Christian conservatives successfully marshaled the votes of believers who were misinformed and manipulated with fear about what was at stake with regard to marriage.
In denying the contractual rights of a minority of Americans, Christians have used their religious beliefs and sheer numbers for the purposes of religious persecution. America is a constitutional republic where the rights of minorities are not appropriate subjects for majority votes. The US Constitution is on the side of same-sex relationships for both equal protection (14th amendment) and the free exercise of their religion (1st amendment). We predict that when prohibitions against same-sex marriage are successfully overturned on constitutional grounds, as were interracial marriage bans in the 1960s, religious conservatives will cry "judicial activism" and persecution of their beliefs. Despite their shrill claims, the religious liberties of conservative Christians have never had their rights threatened by the possibility same-sex marriage. In contrast, minority religions have been adversely affected by same-sex marriage bans through the tyranny of the majority. Religious freedom is a founding concept of this country, but it has been trampled upon.
The benefits of marriage should be available to all consenting adults who desire marriage and who are willing to undertake the rights and responsibilities of marriage. The poorly written amendment is vindictive toward a minority of Americans and their children. Far from being "pro-family", the passage of the amendment will harm the children of gays and lesbians, and it interferes with their earned benefits. The amendment weakens the Texas economy by making it more difficult for Texas business to attract skilled workers. Legal challenges over the vague wording of the amendment will likely waste millions of taxpayer dollars.
The Atheist Community of Austin encourages Christians and other believers to examine their collective impact on the world and focus their attention on issues that are truly disruptive to our nation and the world, such as government corruption, education of our children, addressing poverty and health care, and care for the environment. While fomenting hate is a means of mobilizing the vote and reelecting conservative politicians, it does nothing to improve the world.
The Atheist Community of Austin is organized as a nonprofit educational corporation to develop and support the atheist community, to provide opportunities for socializing and friendship, to promote secular viewpoints, to encourage positive atheist culture, to defend the first amendment principle of state-church separation, to oppose discrimination against atheists and to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals. For more information about the Atheist Community of Austin or to read our position on the same-sex marriage, see our web site at http://www.atheist-community.org or call 512-371-2911 (voice mail).