I know it is not considered polite to discuss the religious angle in debating the cause of marriage equality ("Holy War," Feature, Oct. 3), but with the anti-marriage forces continuously throwing the words "God," "morality," and protecting children in my face, I am willing to speak my mind concerning all three of these things. This is not just about the 14th Amendment, but the First Amendment as well.
What many foes do not realize is that not only is there a great diversity in ethnic and sexual-orientation backgrounds, but there is also a great diversity of faiths as well. I am a garden-variety American Buddhist. Whatever I think of the Bible as a magnificent literary work, I do not use this as the touchstone for my Buddhist faith. The main tenet of my practice is to perceive and relieve suffering. This is my whole reason for existing.
By setting up the civil right for same-sex couples to marry to a referendum, I feel threatened with a subtle form of religious tax that will entice the government to actively prevent my religious freedom of expression.
I am a late baby boomer. When I was born, it was illegal in many states for two people of different races to marry. Whites could not marry blacks. Hispanics could not marry Asians. No matter how long two people of different ethnic backgrounds loved each other, their union was not recognized. Of course, there were children from these couples.
That meant that every multi-ethnic child in the country was born illegitimate. Illegitimate by government mandate. Illegitimate insofar as they could not exist legally. What incentive was there for "sanctioned" kids in school to feel free to bully and put in danger these government-mandated illegal classmates for life?
It was within my lifetime that multi-ethnic couples could marry. It was also only within my lifetime that illegitimate children could legally inherit ANYTHING.
Now, these hate-based organizations want to slap the same label on same-sex couples and their children, thus opening the door for hate crimes and attempts to deny these children their rightful inheritance materially and socially.
As a Buddhist, I cannot let this happen. If same-sex marriage does not pass, then not only will my tax money be used to support this suffering, but my money will be used to stop me from doing anything about it. It's like paying a burglary tax for the privilege of being robbed.
Religious freedom does not include the right to run over someone else's religious freedom and bury it.
I will go on record to say that if discrimination is written into Maryland's Constitution, I will mount a one-Buddhist tax revolt by refusing to pay any state tax if even one penny can be used to enforce a mandate by any religious organization I do not believe in. Here I stand.