The Unitarian Universalist Association started an advocacy campaign a while back called “Standing on the Side of Love.” They believe much of what’s happening in today’s world is predicated by hate and fear, and if we “harness the power of love,” we can overcome oppression, exclusion and violence.
Compare that message to the one given by the Center for Arizona Policy, the organization run by Cathi Herrod. On hearing about Bisbee’s ordinance to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples, CAP threatened to bankrupt the small community by bringing litigation against them.
Herrod and team do not believe in the love shared by same-sex partners, often referring to it as “abnormal” and “against God’s law.”
But who’s God is Herrod referring to? There are many Christians and several Christian churches across this country that vehemently disagree with Herrod. They embrace not only LGBT members and civil unions but also gay marriage.
And if churches and congregations are open and willing to perform these marriage ceremonies, what right does the government have to deny them recognition under the law? What right does the state of Arizona have to deny a city the right to recognize civil unions within that city’s boundaries?
Take a moment to consider what the ordinance does. It allows same-sex couples the same rights as married individuals when dealing with certain issues related to inheritance, joint property, guardianship, and adoption.
In other words, in the eyes of the residents of Bisbee, Arizona, same-sex parents and their children are not seen as a “problem” but rather as a valuable part of their community with the same legal rights as other families. They want their families — all of them — to succeed.
Cathi Herrod and the Arizona legislators who bow to her authority want these families outlawed and ostracized.
Bisbee’s ordinance does not change state law. Arizona has no law on civil unions, meaning it neither allows nor denies them, and Bisbee’s ordinance does not force other cities or the state to recognize the civil unions granted within the town’s borders.
But maybe, if we’re lucky, other cities will follow Bisbee’s example and civil unions will spread throughout the state. It’s only a matter of time before gay marriage is not only legalized but also normalized. Younger generations have already embraced it.
It’s only a matter of time until bans on gay marriage seem as antiquated as bans on interracial marriage. God willing, that time will come sooner rather than later.
Until then, Bisbee stands alone but on the right side of history, the law and love.