The N.C. House overrides McCrory's veto on same-sex marriage
McKay Savage via Wikimedia Commons
A few hypotheticals:
A man takes a job as a city water treatment plant supervisor, neglecting to mention that he’s a fundamentalist Jainist who believes strongly and sincerely in the sanctity of all living things, including insects and microbes. He orders his staff not to treat the water.
A police officer, responding to a call, encounters a group of 10 people seated in a circle in a public park and hallucinating on psilocybin mushroom tea. The group’s leader explains, with some difficulty, that they’re engaged in a religious ritual and offers the officer some tea. The officer, a libertarian, leaves them alone.
A highway patrolman encounters a herd of cattle blocking a busy highway and holding up traffic. The patrolman is a devout Hindu. He instructs the horn-honking motorists not to disturb the herd and to wait until the cattle clear the road safely.
These all seem ridiculous because water treatment plant supervisors, police officers, and highway patrolmen serve the public interest. They swear oaths to uphold the law regardless of their personal convictions.
Surely, if any of these absurd examples played out in real life, you’d be outraged, wouldn’t you? You’d call for immediate firings and point out, rightly, that if these individuals’ convictions were that strong, they shouldn’t have taken public jobs in the first damn place?
Now, maybe, you understand why it’s such an abomination that, this morning, the North Carolina House of Representatives made it legal for magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if they believe their religion tells them they shouldn’t.