It is obvious that President Obama can see the numbers. Polls show that the majority of Americans now support marriage equality. I count myself in that number.
This is a matter of justice similar to other civil rights struggles regarding race and gender. Even though marriage licenses have nothing to do with religion, there are those who think their religious beliefs exempt them from treating others equally. They think marriage equality infringes upon their religious liberty.
I happen to be religious. I am a Christian minister. Social justice is a component of my religious practice. I believe marriage equality is a social justice issue. As a matter of justice and morality, I officiate at ceremonies for same-gender couples. The state of Tennessee’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to these same-gender couples infringes upon my religious beliefs. Whose religious beliefs are more important?
So you can see, making this a religious issue gets us nowhere. Marriage licenses are granted by the states. Marriage equality is a matter of being an American with liberty and justice for all. One day soon, as women gained the right to vote and as we ended segregation, so marriage equality will be a reality in Tennessee and all over the United States. The majority of Americans see this as a matter of fairness and the president can see the numbers.
THE REV. JOHN SHUCK
First Presbyterian Church
The Johnson City Press also printed the letter from Linda Sorrell, our Director of Children's Ministry:
Thank you, President Obama. I, too, support gay marriage.
I have discovered that couples, gay or straight, who are in a long-term committed relationships strengthen my own marriage commitment.