Same-sex marriage is front and center in the Statehouse this week.
I wasn't covering this issue nine years ago when civil unions came into being, though I was reading the stories closely 40 miles down the interstate. It is unlike most other issues to cover. That may be because everybody thinks the reporter has an agenda.
To wit: When I asked opponents Monday what the driving force for their opinion was, if they had trouble articulating it, I asked it was religious or something else. That often made them defensive. No, it's not just religion, they said, it's also social. I wasn't suggesting that having an opinion based on one's religion is a bad thing, I was just trying to get at what that particular person's reasoning was so that I could explain it to the world.
According to a quote in the Rutland Herald from same-sex marriage opponent Stephen Cable, this is how the people I was asking took it:
"Do go ahead and use your religious and moral arguments, but the press
would like nothing more than to de-legitimize us … by saying 'oh, this is just
about their religion.'"
That's a shame because I was in no way trying to "delegitimize" anybody's argument by asking whether it was based in religion. But now I know why they were uncomfortable with the question.
In a sense, no opinion is ever just based in religion. Religion is a belief structure and if you are against something because it's against your religion, you're also against it because you think it's wrong. I suppose to suggest you are only against something because of your religion suggests that you swallow religious doctrine without thinking. I guess I can see why people would not want to be accused of that.
Still, I'll be asking people on either side of the issue what it the driving force for them. That's legitimate any time.
- Terri Hallenbeck