The Way I See It – Texas Independence

March 2 marked 178 years of Texas independence. 178 years of being the biggest and the best at everything we do. Texans have the mindset where we think we’re better than everyone around us, and in a lot of things, we are.

One area where we seem to be lagging behind the rest of the country and much of the world in is the way we treat our fellow Texans— no, not just Texans, but humans in general. We staged a revolution in the name of freedom.

What freedom exactly? Unfortunately, all those brave souls who lost their lives at the Alamo were fighting for their freedom to deny the freedom of other people. The Texas Revolution was fought because the Mexican Constitution of 1829 outlawed slavery and we didn’t like it one bit. After the capture of Santa Anna at San Jacinto, Texas went back to its pre-1829 ways with the help of the United States.

The men and women who gave their lives in the name of Texas independence are held up as the highest standard for what it means to be a Texan, and rightfully so. They faced an army of 1,800 soldiers with fewer than 200 of their own. They knew they were going to die. But they fought on and took around 600 of Santa Anna’s soldiers with them in 13 days of battle. That’s heroic. Aside from damaging Santa Anna’s ego, their sacrifice helped ensure that Texas would not go quietly and without a fight.

The freedom we celebrate every March is given to us by the men and women who saw Texas as something bigger than themselves. Even though they were fighting for something morally sickening, their battles have instilled a keen sense of pride in every native born Texan born since then.

With that little bit of history out of the way, let’s look at where we are as a state now. We still claim to be the biggest and best on the block, and we should. We’ve got Dell, NASA, Texas Instruments and a menagerie of other companies that have called Texas home. There is one place where we are failing, and it is reminiscent of the period of Segregation. It was a dark time for Texas just like the rest of the United States. Only now, instead of denying the rights of black Texans, we’re focused on denying the rights of gay Texans.

Last month, Judge Orlando Garcia struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage. I applaud him for his action. Equal rights means exactly that— equal rights. Your sexual orientation should matter as much as the color of your skin does. For those who need a bit of clarification, your skin color and sexual preference do not define who you are as a person.

Some people who share this great state of ours have called Judge Garcia a socialist or a communist, bent on legislating from the bench in the name of Comrade Obama. These same people claim that his striking down of the gay marriage ban is a step towards redefining traditional marriage, and that we are on our way to Hell because of it. I’m assuming these same people are also unaware of any history prior to the early 1900s.

“Traditional” marriage, if there ever was such a thing, has been redefined to suit the modern culture since the concept was first thought up. The fact that I have never offered livestock or a portion of a harvest to my girlfriend’s father means that “traditional” marriage has been redefined. The fact that I only have a single significant other instead of a harem means that “traditional” marriage has been redefined.

Wait, that’s not what they mean. Those people aren’t really backwards and bigoted morons. They just want protection for traditional “biblical” marriage. You know, the marriage laws that say a man must marry a woman if he has relations with her, consensual or not. Or maybe it’s the biblical marriage where divorce isn’t allowed. Or maybe they’re talking about the part of biblical marriage where a man’s brother must marry his widow if the man dies.

Yeah… traditional marriage indeed. What these people are actually arguing for is their right to impose religious morals onto people that don’t believe the same things that they do. These people who hold up a Bible and say that gay marriage is an affront to God are the same people who were arguing against interracial marriage 50 years ago. These same people also like to pick and choose which parts of the Bible they abide by. Gay marriage? That’s a sin. Eating pork or wearing blended fabrics? No, that’s fine. Jesus didn’t mean for us to keep that part of the agreement. These rules all came from the book of Leviticus and the only thing Jesus ever said about gay people is something he said about all people. Love thy neighbor.

That’s the part that so many people seem to have trouble following. So many people out there willfully pick and choose which sections of the Bible to follow and those people have it all wrong. If you follow one portion of God’s Law, you should follow all of it. Jesus didn’t make any special exemptions for being ok with hating gay people. He never said “love thy neighbor… except for that faggot over there.” He said to love they neighbor unconditionally and do not judge them. Judging them is God’s job.

Gay marriage does not undermine the principles of traditional marriage. Traditional marriage as we know it was undermined by the Protestant Reformation and Henry VIII over 500 years ago because ol’ Hank wanted a divorce. My message to these people hell-bent on forcing their “religious” morals on the rest of the population is: stop. We don’t need your twisted view of morality. We don’t need someone who willfully chooses which part of their supposedly sacred book to follow depending on the situation. We don’t need morally backwards and bigoted people stuck in the past running our state. We’ve made so much progress in the last 178 years that it would truly be a shame to willingly hand our beloved state to the modern equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition.

Gay people are part of our culture, our history and our future. No one is forcing couples to get married and no one is being forced to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples.

I’m pretty sure that most gay couples don’t really care about the recognition from religious organizations for the most part.
The recognition they want is from the government.

While Thomas Jefferson and the rest of our Founding Fathers didn’t write anything about marriage in the Constitution, they did have a lot to say about the separation of church and state. If your only argument against gay marriage is a religious argument, you have no argument worth listening to. As much as some people like to think otherwise, this is not a Christian nation. No more than it is a Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist nation.

If you don’t believe me, google the Jefferson Bible or the Treaty of Tripoli. Our Founding Fathers were very careful to separate their religious beliefs from their political processes.

Somewhere, we forgot that separation was supposed to be there.

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