Guest Columnist: Doesn’t matter if you’re uncomfortable


Blake Hughes

On Monday, Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down a constitutional amendment passed fifteen years ago that established marriage inequality in Nebraska. This wasn’t even the first time he had done so – back in 2005 he did the same thing, only to be overturned by The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit the following year.

Bataillon, praised by fellow District Judge and Schuyler native John M. Gerrard as “a voice of common sense on the district court bench,” is already seeing opposition from the same federal court that nine years ago yanked away hope for justice from people across the state and the country.

I’m not sure if this new appeal will overturn the decision; no one really is. However, we can only hope that in the decade since the old bigots in the Eighth Circuit made that last stupid mistake to prolong marriage inequality they have come to their dulled senses and realized the extent of their cruelty.

Yes, cruelty.

It is cruel to burden normal human beings like you or I with such injustice of the law. It is cruel to deny people the right to marry their soulmates.

Now, this is where I may start losing some of you. Unless you were a member of the Eighth Circuit – in which case I probably lost you a few sentences ago.

Bigotry is alive and well in America today, often rationalized by Christian groups as freedom of religious expression.

I was raised in a Christian home. From a young age I was taught morality came from the Bible, just as most American children are.

However, in growing up I’ve come to understand that sometimes it is necessary to set religious ideologies aside in the wake of a necessary, progressive social change that persecuted citizens have been fighting for over the last century.

Intolerance toward a group of people to the point that their legal rights are stripped away is irrational and wrong. Those who vehemently challenge marriage equality under the guise of religious sincerity are bigots and deserve to be called out.

The translations and interpretations of the Bible have proved shaky before. You can believe and follow the teachings in the Bible and still understand that some things written in it are up for debate still today. Those who are quick to spout passive-aggressive verses denouncing another person’s identity should remember the Bible also says we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Quoting the Bible and imposing religious ideologies on same-sex couples in a country where three-quarters of the population is Christian can only be expected. Still, that does not make it right.

While some may be made uncomfortable by the thoughts of a same-sex marriage, I believe that moral, empathetic, properly functioning human beings should be able to set those feelings aside and let their brothers and sisters be happy and free to marry whom they love.