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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, July 18, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesAn Issue Rife With Prejudice

An Issue Rife With Prejudice

Dear Source:
If The Rev. Cullen humbly states that the words "ban gay marriage" or "anti-gay marriage provision" weren't stated at the Constitutional Convention, does that mean to suggest he is for gay couples getting married in the Virgin Islands or moving to the Virgin Islands after being married elsewhere in the United States or Europe? I hope so.
The Constitutional Convention has much more important matters to discuss than spending any time giving lip service to an issue so full of prejudice and bigotry. After the history that the US Virgin Islands have gone through, you would think today's Virgin Islanders would denounce any prejudice or inequality among any in our midst. But Rev. Cullen and the shameful members of Convention who voted for inclusion of the language that "marriage be defined in the Virgin Islands as the legal union of one man and one woman" choose to again be on the wrong side of history, choosing the side of the powerful and the exclusionary over the side of humanity and the inclusive. Who are they to say what defines love? Who are they to say these two can get married and those two cannot?
The beauty of the Separation of Church and State that we enjoy under the flag of the United States is that issues like these are already resolved for us. If Rev. Cullen doesn't want to marry a gay couple at his Southgate Baptist Church, he is free to tell them so and not do it. As a Catholic, I know the position the Vatican has taken and I fully expect to never attend any gay friend's nuptials inside Holy Cross Church. But the government of the US Virgin Islands is not a religious entity. It is a contract of society between the people and those they elect to represent them. And every time in the past, when the contract has turned a blind eye to a minority or underrepresented or silent group, history has shown that they were in the wrong and that grave injustices were carried out under their supposed benign neglect.
I urge the Constitutional Convention to not view this clause in terms of their own religious views, which fall rightly outside the jurisprudence of our governance. Instead, think of it in the same terms that were needed to win the rights of universal suffrage or equality, righteous battles we waged in our not-so-distant past. Lean on the words of Emma Lazarus and her words that inscribe the Statue of Liberty: "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" And learn from the wisdom of Jesus Christ, "do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" [Matthew 7:12].

Liam Carr
Christiansted, St. Croix

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