In this column last week, I wrote about Switzerland’s successful marriage equality referendum, and how even though the U.S. has a large conservative population, we gained nationwide marriage equality through the courts in 2015, six years earlier than Switzerland. This was partly due to the U.S. activists’ efforts to bring visibility on the issue.
The column brought about two comments. One from my friend and author Perry Brass, who reminded me that Switzerland is so conservative that women didn’t get the vote until 1971! But then I got another email, then a phone conversation with gay activist and furniture magnet Mitchell Gold. His issue was one that is easy to relate to. The number one issue holding back any kind of equality is organized religion. To that end, he’s involved with an organization that has a online petition, LGBTQ+ is not a sin. And some of the best work in this field is being done by the Tyler Clementi Foundation. You can see their work at their website.
It’s true that not all religions try to hold us back, but there are three that are actively working against LGBTQ equality: the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and devout Evangelicals. While The Tyler Clementi Foundation at engaging religious organizations takes a diplomatic approach, I’m getting just a little inpatient, especially with those three religions who have made life hard for LGBTQ people worldwide.
There will come a time when we simply give up on diplomacy and go back to the roots of our movement and take action. While I appreciate the diplomatic approachit which led to a large range of organized religions supports LGBT rights, I do believe that with those last three, we might need a stronger push. Let’s be very clear here, it is the three religions mentioned above who have created and pushed the phrase “religious freedom” in order to discriminate against our community and, more importantly, to continue to get government funds and continue that discrimination. Religious freedom isn’t about a cake shop. It’s about billions of government dollars, and that money is the number one thing they care about.
With that thought you may have a roadmap, or at least a first step, on how to make change.