Constitution forbids forcing beliefs on others

I support marriage equality. I utterly reject the premise that marriage equality will somehow damage heterosexual marriage, just as if I choose to eat a cheeseburger it will somehow affect someone else’s diet.

No church or clergy will be forced to perform any ceremony contrary to their tenets. It’s as if my bar mitzvah somehow diminishes a First Communion. It is simply ludicrous on its face.

If people don’t support marriage equality, then don’t have them in that church – many other churches and synagogues in Hawaii will.

The Constitution explicitly states that people absolutely cannot force their beliefs on others. This is the common ground the Founding Fathers built this great nation upon, which is precisely why we are not a theocracy like Iran.

What bothers me the most when I see this vitriolic hypocrisy is the amount of money being spent trying to prevent marriage equality on the radio, TV and in the newspaper. All that money could have been used to house the homeless, feed the hungry, educate our youth and help the needy. Squandering the gifts of their congregants on this subject is an affront to the very ideals they claim to believe in.

When the dust has settled and the world didn’t end when marriage equality came to Hawaii, will these groups regret the missed opportunities to help those in need?

Finally, some say, “15 years ago we voted no on marriage equality.” Well, slavery was legal 15 years before 1863, too. Times change. People evolve.

Gary Shin-Leavitt