More tolerance is needed


By Ernie Ezell - Auburn



Dear Editor:

I have taken note that a proposed resolution has been distributed to members of Fiscal Court, by one of the magistrates, comprised of a “boiler plate” document distributed by a supposedly bipartisan, Policy Center. While this proposal will probably pass with unanimous support and will have absolutely no impact, other than to offer various individuals the opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions publicly, and perhaps force others to get off the fence, or hide behind the fence.

The reasons stated for the resolution are to affirm the “timeless” definition of marriage and religious freedom!

This is, of course, is all related to the recent Supreme Court Opinion, which states that “the Constitution guarantees a right to “same sex marriage”. The 5 to 4 ruling is based in part on the fact that existing laws to the contrary, individuals were denied equal opportunities under law. It is interesting that when a particular opinion goes against something, about which someone has a strong opinion; then that Supreme Court Ruling can be considered “subversive” and “wrong”. However, If they agree with the Court ruling, then the Supreme Court is correct and the five Justices that supported the opinion are correct, just and wise. The majority has spoken on the issue!

Now I have been married 45 years, come November, and my wife and I have a very good marriage. Our love for each other is mutual, and we both agree that God meant for us to be together, and we confirmed our commitment before God, our families and our Church Family. Of course, many people these days do not make an effort to publicly confirm their marriage in a Church setting. They get married in barns, in Courtrooms, in the field down by the pond, at the “Elvis Presley Chapel” in Las Vegas, and in just about every other conceivable environment imaginable, across this great Commonwealth of ours. Regardless of where they have made that commitment, the laws of the land instill certain rights and obligations to the newly joined couple. Many, but not all, will put the significance upon the Biblical mandates, but all will come to understand the many other secular rights and responsibilities incorporated in the unification ceremony. Without the legal benefits embodied in the institution of marriage, one is left in a discriminatory situation. The courts have not redefined the institution of marriage; they have just broadened the field to all of those who wish to fully participate in that type of social institution.

My Pastor has stated publicly that he disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling and he will never condone nor participate in any such same sex marriage. I support his decision as an individual in this particular situation. I do not agree that this is God’s mandate, however a Church or denomination can decide not to provide equal opportunity, nor to sanction weddings that they do not consider normal, but you can be sure that many Churches have already opened their doors, their hearts, and their endorsements to same sex unions. God created me in a mold that very strongly attracted me to my wife. We are very happy and our relationship is very normal, to us! I have friends that were created by God and God used a mold for them that caused them to be attracted to someone of the same sex. I would be quick to state that that is not my norm; however, it is their norm. They are just as normal as I, but in a different way. Perhaps we should diverge from the word normal and approach some descriptor that implies equal in the sight of God. Is the Downs Syndrome child abnormal, or just different? Is the albino individual abnormal, or just different? Is the physically deformed individual abnormal, or just different? I am sometimes outspoken, am I abnormal, or am I just different?

Jimmy Carter, the 39th U.S. President and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Peace, still teaches Sunday school. He still lives in Plains, Georgia, with his wife Rosalynn. He still lives in the same house they built in 1961. HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill, recently asked President Carter whether he believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage, and Carter said: “I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture. … I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else,” he said.

Returning to the boiler plate resolution being proposed for the Fiscal Court’s consideration, the magistrate transmitting the boiler plate resolution also stated that the Supreme Court has created a religious freedom conflict! The magistrate states that “by redefining marriage, our County Court Clerks’ freedom of conscience is threatened.” I would state that whether one specifically agrees with the Supreme Court ruling, the ruling does define the law of the land. Any County Court Clerk is charged to perform their duties, as defined, and those duties do include issuing marriage license to the general public, without discriminating against any particular client. This is a public service paid for by public fees, taxes, etc. The duties of the County Court Clerk also include issuing fishing and hunting license to the general public, based upon predefined qualifications. If the County Court Clerk also happens to be a strong advocate of PETA and their sometimes strong opinions and extreme actions concerning hunting and fishing (among other animal rights issues), can she/he deny the issue of appropriate hunting or fishing license to those of us whom are legally entitled by the law of the land to hunt or fish. If an individual is unable to issue a marriage license or a fishing license to all qualified applicants, then they should resign from their positions. They assumed the positions knowing that they always had to follow the law of the land. If an individual cannot tolerate alcohol for religious reasons, would they take a job in a bar? If they are working as a sales clerk for a mom and pop grocery, that finally got a liquor license, are they still qualified to hold that position if they refuse to sell the alcoholic product? If I was the pop in that situation, I would offer to demote the individual to a lesser position as a product stocker and if that was not acceptable, I would most likely consider dismissing the individual that was unable to perform their job. Equal application of the law of the land, is everyone’s right. Like speed limits, one may not agree with that 35 MPH limit, but it is an enforceable law, and there is a real and valid reason for that law.

Now the objective of my spinning a few words and offering my opinion is not to try and change anyone’s mind about the issues. Perhaps that might happen, but more importantly, I wish to encourage those who perhaps are in disagreement with the underlying intent of the proposed resolution. That someone like me, “a happy old white man” (as compared with other “bitter old white men”) can speak out, might encourage others to do the same. I am sure that I am not alone in my opinions, and by speaking out, I may give others the courage to speak out. A friend of mine recently retold a story about making a difference, when it seems no difference is going to be made. The explanation used by the individuals trying to affect change was that: “We’re doing the best we can from where we are with what we got, every chance we get.” I hope that I can teach a little tolerance. I hope that I can make a difference.

Ernie Ezell

Auburn

By Ernie Ezell

Auburn

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