Last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriages caused a flurry of emotion across the United States. As expected, disagreement of the nation wide event arrived across social media as well at live celebrations, but a slew of problems were created that are more complex than your opinionated friend condemning rainbow profile pictures.
On Friday a group of men dressed in fringed Jewish prayer robes stood behind a barricade and held signs that conveyed religious, anti-gay messages at the New York pride parade. Upon questioning the group that called themselves the Jewish Political Action Committee, a New York Times reporter found that the men weren’t actually Jewish. They were hired Mexican workers, who were being paid by the fringe group to protest the parade.
This is not the first time that JPAC has voiced their opinion about homosexuality, but using rent-a-protesters is a tactic that seems new to the organization.
Heshie Freed, a member of the extremist Hassidic group, told the New York Times that the workers were filling in for the group’s students who would usually protest this sort of thing.
“The rabbis said that the yeshiva boys shouldn’t come out for this because of what they would see at the parade,” said Freed. Whether or not the hired sign flyers are even opposed to homosexuality is unknown, but paraders made note of their presence by throwing water bottles at them and affectionately kissing as they passed by.
The group left shortly after one of the protesters got into a physical altercation with some members of the parade. Allegedly, the man swung on the paraders before being hit in the eye and continuing to hold his sign until the JPAC for a day crew departed.
Since the separation of Church and State, both sides have consistently argued about what qualifies as religiously sacred and unlawful. While it is now legal in any state to perform matrimony regardless of gender, it will be rare to see institutions begin wedding same couples that were previously opposed to the notion. Many churches and other religious centers have been respectfully declining to perform same-sex marriages, just as they did before, since the law allows them to choose which matrimonies they preform.
Groups opposing the ban of Confederate Flag have come under the national spotlight, even more so since many of these same organizations are strengthening their stances on condemning homosexuality. The legalization of same-sex marriage brings us closer to becoming a nation of equals and truly representing what it means to be a free American. But the principles of free speech and expression are further complicated by groups like the Jewish Political Action Committee.
These are the same sects that were originated from beliefs that have been oppressed throughout history. The same ones whose ancestors came to this country in search of a free life. What can be said about these smaller groups who feel angered enough, to not protest human equality themselves, but extort laborers to do it for them?
June 26th was a momentous day for our country’s campaign in becoming non-discriminatory about love, but the path ahead is to be filled with more obstacles. The principles of practicing free religion on which America was founded need to be respected but also have the power to stagnate further progress. I don’t think anyone holds all the answer when looking at the convoluted questions that surface when talking about separation of Church and State but working towards the answer begins with understanding.
In order to understand we need to stop assuming. Too much discourse is caused from presumptuous beliefs about other’s religion and ideologies. Stereotypes that have become rooted in modern social ideology are what is going to halt our country’s movement in becoming the adaptable nation that it was created to be.