July 23rd, 2007
07:31 PM ET
4 years ago

Question #992: Why is it acceptable to use religion to deny gay Americans their full and equal rights?

Rev. Reggie Longcrier from Hickory, NC

(CNN) - Rev. Reggie Longcrier from Hickory, NC Connecticut asks: "Sen. Edwards has said his opposition to gay marriage has been influenced by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation and denying women the right to vote. So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay Americans their full and equal rights?"

What did you think about the candidates' response to the question? What would you have asked? Add your comment below, or better yet, turn on your camera to record your commentary and reaction video and send in your I-Report. Your comments below or your I-Report video could be part of CNN's post-debate coverage.


Filed under: CNN/YouTube Debate • Uncategorized
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois

    I think that John Edwards has specifically stated in the past that he does not "personally" support gay marriage because of his "personal religious" beliefs. He was not asked if as President, would he support gay rights. I don't think that he ever stated that as President he would use his religion to make a decision about gay rights.

    July 23, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Matthew Baysinger, Charlottesville VA

    It was beyond a brilliant question and hit with a double surprise when he appeared in the audience. This debate is the best one I have seen in my lifetime.

    July 23, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. Jon, Sacramento, CA

    Gay citizens CAN marry – people of the opposite sex. These are the same rules which apply to heterosexuals.

    Not every question will have a "fair" answer from everyone's point of view. Is it fair you must wait until 16 years of age, pass a written and driving test before being permitted the right to drive? Is it fair you must be a natural born citizen to become President? Is it fair you must be female to play in the WNBA?

    July 23, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. Jay, Muskegon, MI

    Gay citizens CAN marry – people of the opposite sex. These are the same rules which apply to heterosexuals.

    Not every question will have a “fair” answer from everyone’s point of view. Is it fair you must wait until 16 years of age, pass a written and driving test before being permitted the right to drive? Is it fair you must be a natural born citizen to become President? Is it fair you must be female to play in the WNBA?

    Gays are not allowed to marry the person of their affection, as heterosexuals are allowed

    July 23, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Carlos Verney, Jr. Coral Springs, Florida

    Sen. John Edwards did not only give a candid answer to an important question but showed his intellect in not allowing his personal beliefs to interfere with the decisions he would make as President. Furthermore, Sen. Edwards has consistently said that he is for civil unions with full marriage benefits similar to those found in domestic partnerships. Sen. John Edwards is the best candidate and a friend of the Homosexual community...

    July 23, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Great question!

    July 23, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    "Gays are not allowed to marry the person of their affection, as heterosexuals are allowed"

    Arnold Schwarzenegger can be governor of California but not the President of the USA

    Michael Jordon will never be permitted to play in the WNBA though he was the greatest player ever on the court

    My son will NEVER qualify for a scholarship from the NAACP

    July 23, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Lilliane Coldwell, Atlanta, Georgia

    This was THE BEST question of the night. It was absolutely brilliant that Rev. Longcrier was in the audience. Really put Edwards on the spot.

    July 23, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Katie T., Chandler, AZ

    this is a question i have personally had for some time. if you believe that african americans are equal then there is no reason you should believe gay people are not. i am a very heterosexual female and believe that if a man and a man love one another or a woman and a woman love one another and choose to dedicate the rest of their lives to one another, who are we to tell them no?
    i would rather see that than promiscuous sex or intolerance to good people.
    and these comments that being able to marry heterosexually is equal to homosexuals is ignorant. if you replaced those comments with an african american and a caucasian it would be racist. now apply that to sexual preference and it's prejudice... no matter how you try to spin it.

    July 23, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. Jim, East Patchogue, NY

    Govorner Richardson gave the most complete answer. The question wasn't about gay marriage, it was about equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.

    July 23, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. George Washington VA

    you of all people should know the answer to this one.IN GOD WE TRUST. this nation was built on the beliefs of christians, and i believe you and alot of people have forgotten that. just because this is a problem in the world we just look the other way and say that it is ok and forget that wed were built on the beliefs of christians. i believe our ancestors would be disappointed in how we have come along in this day and time considering all that has changed for the worst because we have steered away from GOD and his teachings. why not be a minister and quit asking stupid questions that you already know the answers to and go out an preach the truth instead of what is the IN Thing to do.

    July 23, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. Andrea New York, NY

    "My son will NEVER qualify for a scholarship from the NAACP"

    Maybe not, but I am sure that your son will qualify for several other scholarships that several NAACP qualified scholars will never hear about because more military recruiters hang out at predominately minority high school than college recuiters.

    It is more than unfair to not allow gays to marry. It is unamerican to deny legal rights and prohibit free speech, which is what a ban on gay marriage represents.

    p.s. I'm a heterosexual white person.

    July 23, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Stephen, Roxbury NJ

    Jon, your examples are ludicrous. The WNBA, the NAACP, etc. upon etc. are not the government. Private organizations discriminating against people is undesirable, but the government discriminating against people is simply unacceptable.

    July 23, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. E. Ko, Wyoming, MI

    Slavery was wrong, and so is sodomy. From Harriet Beecher Stowe to Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King Jr., Americans have fought against the moral evil they perceive in their society with a conviction that inherently stems from their religious beliefs or unbeliefs.

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity...And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” – George Washington

    July 23, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  15. Stephen, Roxbury NJ

    Oh, and "George Washington", you are seriously misinformed on American history.

    First of all, "In God We Trust" has only been the motto of the US since 1956, it was adopted to try and increase the contrast to the "godless" communists. Using that phrase doesn't prove anything about what America SHOULD stand for.

    Second, the founders of our country were not uniformally Christians. To say the country was founded on "Christian values" is flatly ignorant of the fact that many, even the majority, of our founders were deists. Jefferson in particular is famous for denying the literal truth of Jesus' miracles (though he supported the general philosophy), and disliking organized religion of all stripes. There's a reason that freedom of religion is included in the first amendment, and the separation of church and state was expounded on greatly by Jefferson and Madison–the architects of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    July 23, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  16. Mike, HI

    E. Ko from Wyoming:

    Exactly how homosexual relationships are immoral I'll never understand. And not to insult our first President, but he's wrong in this instance. I'm an atheist and I'm all kinds of moral.

    July 23, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. Troy, Panama City FL

    I have a question for all of the candidates, when we send everyone home what good is it doing when they're just going to regroup isnt it best to start this war and at least end in victory, we can't take the decision back for doing what president bush done but we can as american people"The ones who ELECTED Bush as president" to stand by his decision , all of america wants there children at home but the overall look at it is we need to take care of these terrorist so we dont have innocent civilians dying in OUR OWN COUNTRY UNEXPECTED isn't that why we have an army to serve the country and not ourselves people are getting that confused and need to be more understanding on there purpose for serving this country thank you

    July 24, 2007 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  18. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Stephen ~ NY writes,

    "Jon, your examples are ludicrous. The WNBA, the NAACP, etc. upon etc. are not the government. Private organizations discriminating against people is undesirable, but the government discriminating against people is simply unacceptable."

    Ahh... while you're amending the definition of marriage please address these concerns too:
    1) Arnold Schwarzenegger would like to be President considering he IS a US citizen.
    2) As a white male I would like to bid on a few of those "minority only" contracts the government is handing out to businesses owned by women or other specific minorities.
    3) My 14 year old son would like to take his street-legal dirt bike for a spin down to the grocery store without needing a license. Oh wait – the government says he isn't allowed until 16 and passes all the required tests.

    Stephen – how many examples do you need?

    July 24, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Eric, Tracy, CA

    I believe that people need to read the letters of our Founding Fathers regarding the separation of Church and State:

    "Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform" (Madison, Annals of Congress, 1789).

    July 24, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |