When issues of personal religious morality and public policy collide, as they sometimes do in discussions of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage or to legalize same-sex marriage, which way do you vote and why?
Dr. Sherman Jackson in On Morality & Politics (no longer available), Itrath Syed in Equality: What it Means, How it Works, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin in A Muslim American’s Thoughts on Gay Marriage, and Melody Moezzi in Muslim States Must Support LGBT Rights argue that instead of getting bogged down in arguments of whether one’s own religion condones a specific activity or orientation, the larger issue of concern is an appeal to Constitutional rights in a pluralistic society.
If we as Muslims appeal to the Constitution in order to practice our religion freely in America then it is hypocritical and inconsistent to use religious arguments to deny others the rights guaranteed to them under that same Constitution. In the case of same-sex marriage, rights guaranteed, some will argue, by the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses contained within the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
When one former supervisor told me that I could not wear hijab at work, I confidently told her that I wore it for religious reasons and had a First Amendment right to do so. When the case was forwarded to the chief legal officer of our agency, he ruled in my favor not because of evidence from the Quran or hadith, which my former employer did not accept as an authority or source of legislation but because I was entitled to the First Amendment protection to exercise my religion freely. Continue reading “An Argument for the Constitution | Gay Marriage | When Personal Morality and Public Policy Collide”