Gay Marriage

There are times I feel like I’ve written all I can on the subject of Christianity and Homosexuality. And then there are times, like today, when I feel like I haven’t. I’m not sure how my mind wandered to this particular topic, but I was laying awake with my son and all the sudden I thought, “I really don’t get this whole thing.” I understand why gays want to get married- I don’t understand why Christians don’t want to allow it. Well, I do understand the reasoning (don’t cheapen something sacred) I just don’t understand how that equates to gay marriage being wrong.

Allow me to explain myself. Right now, anyone can get married as long as they are heterosexual, not cousins, and not married to someone else. That means that it’s not just Christians who understand the “sacredness” of what they are engaging in who are getting married. Not all people get married in God’s house, either. I myself was married in a courthouse, by a judge, about ten minutes after receiving the marriage certificate. The service, the attire and the atmosphere were all far less than sacred and holy, right down to the stuffed crab in my back pocket and the fact I had a horrible case of the giggles and could barely say my vows. What makes my marriage holy is not the laws or the way in which it was made- it is the two people in it, their heart and their attitude. My marriage is not made less holy by the high divorce rate or the people who enter into it for the wrong reasons. The only marriage that effects the holiness of my marriage is MY marriage.

Gay marriage is not about whether or not heterosexual marriage is holy- it is about protection. It is about the protections afforded by a piece of paper that says “these two people are legally united.” It is about the way in which a couple is percieved who can provide that paper when legality is necessary. It is about little rules like hospital visiting hours in which two people with their names on that paper are afforded different rights than those who do not have it. It is about tax breaks, ownership, joint checking accounts, discounts and retirement communities. It’s about equality. It’s about the fact that any time two people decide to share a life, they are terrified. They don’t know what the future holds. They never can fully understand what signing their names beside each other really means. It’s about that sense trust and devotion that comes with the decision to share all things, including toothbrush holders and a carton of milk. It’s about the fact that I am not more privileged, more protected, in making this journey than anyone else should be.

If I have a piece of paper that says that I can sleep at my husbands side every night, even if he’s in the hospital and breathing his last, everyone else who wants that piece of paper should be able to get it. That doesn’t mean that pastors and priests will now be FORCED to wed gays, any more than they now are forced to wed every snot-nosed heterosexual kid who says he’s ready. Every individual always has and hopefully always will have the right to use their own judgment and say no. But just as I had the right to have my own marriage papers undersigned by my county judge, gay people should at the very least be afforded the right to that paper. That’s all I have to say for now.


37 thoughts on “Gay Marriage

  1. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

  2. You know, whilst I like your post, I feel it is missing something.

    First of all, marriage is way more than the piece of paper and all of the things that show the world you are a couple. Sure all of those things are wonderful that you mentioned and should indeed be given.

    However, marriage is far more than that. It is the right to stand in front of your loved ones and committ to this person of your choice. It is about the union of two souls binding themselves together. It is the committment to love honor and cherish through sickness and in health.

    Why should gay people be denied that right? Why is that not a holy union under God? Better that they live with no chance of ever having the opportunity to formally, legally, emotionally and spiritually bond to another person? Better that they have multiple partners or to live their lives alone?

    If Gay people want to marry, why does it matter to the rest of us? They should be allowed to be as happy/miserable as the rest of us

    I know I keep going back to one phrase in the bible: Judge not lest ye be judged. Who are we to tell anyone else what is holy or right? That is between themselves and God.

    I know alot of Gay people who live far healthier lives than straight ones. Whose relationships are built on the right foundations. At the end of the day – they are people. They have flaws just like the rest of us. Gay doesn’t make you better or worse. You remain HUMAN.

    A person’s need for a mate is something that is built in to us by nature. We are not creatures that are equipped to be alone.

    All of the legal stuff aside, its just one more way that we make people who we feel are defective in our society not count by imposing our own belief system on them. Its our thinking here that is defective. They are not.

    I am all for gay marriage. I believe that each person has the right to live their lives …. remember the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness????

  3. I don’t want to say much here, other than that, though I’m deeply sympathetic, I’m also more of a “domestic partnership” person on this issue.

    But then again… I know “unwed” heterosexual couples who are far more committed to one another, and serious about their relationships, than many married couples. (These people live now, or have lived in, countries where “domestic partnership” is recognized as equal under the law with actual marriage, for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.)

    And I have to wonder, too, about our social mores (in terms of what makes a marriage legal and binding) as opposed to what is Biblically sound – there certainly are plenty of people (I’m *not* one of them!) who’d refuse to accept a civil ceremony as being a “real” marriage.

    One question, though: why did you have a stuffed crab in your pocket?! 😉

  4. Everyone: Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
    Amber: Thank you, and I do think you’re right. I could write more about my experience with marrying someone my parents didn’t approve of and how much it hurt, to not have that, to not have the ability to be proud of my choice, to have people there to witness the union, the shame of feeling “less than”- and to think that people have to go through that simply because they aren’t attracted to the “right” gender, it’s awful.
    e2c: Seven months later we did a ring exchange and said vows in front of an ordained minister, which is what a lot of people still think of as our “wedding”, even though it was more of a band-aid for the family than anything else. The stuffed crab was a present from the husband when I gave away a favorite shoulder-riding stuffed rabbit to a friend, it’s a really long and weird story, but I carried it around with me for a long time as a good luck charm. Somewhere there is a picture of the Husband with the crab on his head as we were waiting our turn. I wore blue jeans and a black babydoll tee. It seems like an eternity ago, now.

  5. I agree with you but I think none of it has nothing to do with Christianism. And it really doesn’t matter whether marriage is a good choice or not –as you said, marriage is a civil right and, as such, it must be avaiable to everyone, regardless of their sexuality, religion etc.

    It’s that simple, isn’t it? And I guess society knows that. The problem, and I’m sure there is one, must be elsewhere. But I don’t have a clue.

  6. I will try to carefully explain my stance on this. I mean no disrepect, but I feel strongly about this.

    Marriage in the religious sense has been in existence for thousands of years, and it has always meant a man and woman. Marriage in the civil sense is relatively new, maybe only 300 or 400 years old. The two work in tandem today, or just civil by itself, as the author of this post experienced. It is the civil aspect that I hear most people talking about here (taxes, visitation rights). This is why you hear many people say civil unions should be allowed, not marriage. Is this a cop out? No.

    The reason is because marriage in the religious sense has ALWAYS meant a man and a woman for thousands of years, and that if you change it to allow same sex, you are changing what marriage has meant for all these years. (you also allow it to be continually changed to allow all sorts of “marriages”) Why, then, if homosexuals claim that all they want are the civil benefits, do they want marriage and say that civil unions are not enough? I think the reason is they want society’s stamp of approval on their lifestyle. Like it or not, many of us do not find the lifestyle acceptable. (It’s not just Christians, either.) No one likes it when anyone tells them that what they are doing might be wrong, doesn’t even matter what it is. There is concentrated effort on behalf of the gay community to change society into believing that their lifestyle is acceptable. They are trying every legal method they can to accomplish this. (Don’t think for a second that there won’t be people who end up suing churches because they won’t marry homosexuals; those suits are coming, I guarantee it.)

    I think people need to realize that there is more going on here than just the right to get a tax break.

    Note: I whole-heartedly echo the sentiments of people here that marriage is not taken seriously by heterosexuals. That’s another problem altogether.

  7. I see marriage as two separate entities. One is the legal stand, the piece of paper that legally binds you together on this earth/under the laws of the country. And than the holy/sacred ordinance of someone ordained of god, binding you together for eternity. I do not oppose the legal binding of a same-sex couple, but the sacred ordinance… unless scripture has been rewritten, is not for those who have chosen homosexuality. (but that’s another topic).

  8. For Rob V:

    There are roughly 1,138 rights that come along with a marriage certificate. Those are rights that same-sex couples do not get, simply because of their sexual orientation. What is not included in those rights is the dignity and social status that is afforded two people when they do get married. This fact makes the disenfranchised group “second-class citizens.”

    As for the “religious” definition of marriage. It was once acceptable (and condoned by “religious” law) for men to subjugate their wives – that is, to enslave them (see definition). Also, it was once unacceptable (and forbidden by “religious” law) for a man and woman to marry if they were of different races. Interracial marriage is a relatively new amendment to the institution of marriage.

    I feel that if more people knew more about the institution of marriage – it’s history, the rights, the fundamental practice itself – we wouldn’t really be worrying about this equality issue right now. It’s up to each one of us to become more educated and spread the word

    Once we get marriage equality out of the way, perhaps we should focus our strength and smarts on tackling the worthy issues of homelessness, war and healthcare.

  9. Also, it was once unacceptable (and forbidden by “religious” law) for a man and woman to marry if they were of different races. Interracial marriage is a relatively new amendment to the institution of marriage.

    Hi – I’m wondering if you’ve got references and specific passages from the scriptures of various religions (not just Judaism and Christianity) to support your statement? I’m not saying this to be provocative, but because I have a feeling that you might have a difficult time proving this re. Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    Have people *misinterpreted* the Bible to ban interracial marriage? Yes. But there’s a huge difference between that and finding clear instructions to never marry anyone whose skin isn’t quite the same color as yours.

    My guess is that this is true of many other world religions as well.

    Just sayin’….

  10. It was once acceptable (and condoned by “religious” law) for men to subjugate their wives – that is, to enslave them (see definition).

    Again, I’m wondering what you’re referring to in this statement? if it’s custom, doctrine, sexual and social mores, and civil law (in the Western Christian world), well – yes. But this is complex, highly nuanced discussion re. history, the intertwining of custom, law and interpretation of Scripture and doctrine than (I think) you’re making it out to be.

    OTOH, I do realize that you’re probably stating some of these things in a fairly general way in order to make your point re. homosexuality, marriage, etc. – and i have no problem with that. But I do think some of your points might not stand closer scrutiny… if only because the nuances aren’t there.

  11. Should read “this is a more complex…” My bad!

    Sorry for sounding like a history geek, but… I kinda am. (Ditto for doctrinal history, and theology, and… a lot of things!) 🙂

  12. urbanmolecule echoes my point:

    What is not included in those [marriage] rights is the dignity and social status that is afforded two people when they do get married. This fact makes the disenfranchised group “second-class citizens.”

    Homosexuals are looking for government-stamped approval of lifestyles that half the country disagrees with. Is it the government’s job to force people to accept another person’s lifestyle? Doesn’t freedom mean you get to disagree with people? After all, you disagree with me. What do we do about polyamorous relationships – won’t they become the “next” second class citizens demanding marriage rights? Couldn’t then a person marry a pet? Or marry themselves? What about NAMBLA? It’s an overused term, but it really is a slippery slope we’re talking about here. Marriage would soon mean everything, and that means it means nothing.

    I agree with e2c’s comments that urbanmolecule needs to back up his/her statements with actual religious scriptures.

    And as far as addressing “the worthy issues of homelessness, war and healthcare,” I feel that the degredation of the family unit – be it divorce, cohabitation, or homosexual relationships, which are all outside of traditional marriage – is the root cause of all these issues.

  13. I’ve landed on the idea that gay people should have legal “unions” which amount to marriage. I think that we should reserve the word marriage for a union between a man and a woman because it really is different. The ability for two to come together as one and create a family (physically) is so much different.

  14. Thanks for a great post. As a lesbian being in a long term relationship (12 years) it’s great to see such support. As for comments like “RobV.” that quote scripture and link NAMBLA and marrying pets with me…well, it’s not the first time I’ve come up against this thinking, and it won’t be the last. I just cross the street and ignore them. What makes me smile is coming to a blog and seeing that complete strangers say “what’s the big deal?” “All she did is spend the last 12 years happily and quietly living with the same woman…

  15. thehostess – just remember those to cast the first stones are always those who live in glass houses themselves. They only choose to remember the scripture of their choosing. They forget Jesus saying point blank: He is without sin cast the first stone! Or Judge not lest ye be judged. Don’t you just love how convenient it is that they get to pick and choose which points of the bible they choose to follow?

    Love is never wrong. It is a gift from God. It is holy and should be celebrated and honored as such. No one else has the right to judge your relationship to God or any other person. That is private for you alone.

    It makes me sad to feel that people in this day and age still want to turn their minds off, turn their hearts off too from the teachings of Jesus and others. All of the teachings of tollerance gone and replaced with the ones of hate and arrogance. Wow… Im sure that is what God wants for us all! 😦

    Bless you and your partner. 12 years of happiness is an achievement and a tesament to your love and devotion and more than many heterosexual “Christian” couples can manage.

  16. I guess it requires further study. Some Christians argue their case against gay marriage because of what’s in the OT.

    Others argue from the viewpoints expressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, which scripturally defines marraige for Christians as between a man and woman.

    Other extremists would throw in the verses against homosexuality, which really defines an act of sodomy, as commonly practiced by the Greeks( especially the Spartans).

    However, if we say that gay marriage is acceptable and that gayness is no longer a social taboo, then what happens when men want to marry sixteen wives (as in the polygamist camp in Texas). Is that acceptable? Or what if people want to marry their dogs for good luck (as in India where people still do this today)?

    Or what about lowering the common marriage age – men in the Netherlands are trying to lower the age of consent to 12. Do we want our children to be sexually exploited by unscrupulous people?

    And what if the law then says that widows must throw themselves on top of their husband’s cremated remains and burn to death because the sacredness of the marriage bond (as is still practiced in remote regions of India today).

    We have to have a common standard, otherwise who knows where we’ll be in one or two generations from this time because the trouble with humanity is this: once we reinterpret our common standards, we tend to degenerate.

    As I wrote before, I guess it’s going to take a lot of time to study…

  17. Oh my gosh… Shush.. for the first time ever I know what you mean by wanting to put a pillow over your head and just say la la la la…Im not listening!

    Being in a gay marriage does not equate to any of the things that you are talking about. I understand exactly the slippery slope concept. Where to draw the line?

    I think the line is pretty clear. Consenting ADULTS. Not animals, Not children, not people who have been coerced or forced. Polygamy if lived by choice is fine by me. If that is their belief – it does no harm as long as it is done by consenting ADULTS. Meaning over the age of 18! I think that a person must have the ability to speak clearly for themselves when entering into any type of marriage or contract by law.

  18. As for comments like “RobV.” that quote scripture and link NAMBLA and marrying pets with me…well, it’s not the first time I’ve come up against this thinking, and it won’t be the last.

    Nor are comments like thehostess’ who take what I’ve said and make me the bad guy for not wanting a 6,000 year old social foundation altered.

    Nor are comments like amberfireinus’…

    They only choose to remember the scripture of their choosing. They forget Jesus saying point blank: He is without sin cast the first stone! Or Judge not lest ye be judged. Don’t you just love how convenient it is that they get to pick and choose which points of the bible they choose to follow?

    …who conveniently ALWAYS leave out the fact that, while Jesus did accept people regardless of their sin, He still would always send them on their way with “Go and SIN NO MORE.” Our culture is trying to deny the existence of sin. It’s satan’s oldest lie: “Did God really say ____ ?”

  19. As for the social foundation of 6,000 years being challenged… hmmm have you sold your daughter into slavery yet??? Give me a break!

  20. Shush,

    Thanks for your post and the clarity you offered on the central issue, that being that opening marriage to same-sex couples isn’t a religious issue but a justice issue. The two are quite separate. No church would be forced to perform weddings to same sex couples because religious rites are completely separate from legal contracts, despite how we’ve muddled that up.

    D and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary last Sunday (that being the day we stood before 180 friends and family in a church and exchanged our vows to each other, before witnesses, and in the presence of God.) Since then we’ve been working with banking institutions, attorneys, the county register’s office, and filing document after document to do what we can to secure the most minimal of protections. These extra efforts have come at great cost and time to us and still we have nothing compared to all that’s automatically granted to straight couples when they sign their legal marriage contract.

    Those people in our life, including family and church community embrace fully and validate our marriage. They know our “lifestyle” because they see it and experience it personally. We don’t need or have any desire to force anyone, society as a whole, or strangers to our lives, to accept who we are and how we live (which is so probably so similar to their own it’s laughable). ALL I want is to know that if either of us get sick the other can make all the health care decisions for our spouse without fear of opposition and that we can be at the hospital bedside of the other and treated with the full respect in that hour that our committed relationship deserves. ALL I want to know is that if one of us dies suddenly the other won’t lose everything we share together due to inheritance taxes that any straight couple would be exempt from paying. When you love someone it tears your heart apart to think they would be burdened with such uncertainty in the time of their grieving. For a society to allow that kind of thing to take place for whatever motivation is cruel.

    My grandparents were married over 60 years and my parents celebrated 60 years only two months before my dad’s passing. The depth of love between my grandparents and parents, the centrality of Christ in their marriages, that has been my model and my heart’s desire. It is the very thing I share with D, who is my wife and I am hers. No one on this earth can tell us different. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is justice. And yes, it really is just that simple.

  21. Side Note: I can’t imagine anyone would actually want marriages today to reflect in form or purpose the marriages in Biblical times. If so, that would be far scarier than the fear around opening marriage to same-sex couples.

  22. @ Rob V. – I wasn’t intending to support your argument on this, just asking a couple of questions of urbanmolecule. (No hard feelings, though!)

    Anita, I love your posts. Thank you for your honesty and compassion.

  23. Okay Rob, you said:

    “Nor are comments like thehostess’ who take what I’ve said and make me the bad guy for not wanting a 6,000 year old social foundation altered.”

    I’m curious what you’re basing the 6000 years of social foundation thing on? Because if we’re going to go that route, America was built right after the most drastic change in social foundation values regarding marriage and continues to be their most staunch supporter.

    The fact of the matter is that up until the 1800’s Victorian era, the concept of a Marriage based on romantic love was completely ludicrous. No one married for love. Across the world except for a few backwards tribes scattered about marriage was a CONTRACT between two families. Love didn’t play into it at all, it was simply a merging between two entities similar to corporations complete with money passing hands.

    Then along came the Victorian Era and the revolutionary concept of Romantic Marriage came into being and America wholeheartedly embraced it attempting to distance it’s self from the imperialistic states it’s members had fled not long back.

    So, if you’re a stickler for tradition as you claim do you think romantic marriage is a crock too? Subjugation of women must not be so bad either… hell, while we’re at it let’s re-consider that whole abolishing slavery thing, black people really haven’t proven themselves to be all that worthwhile, we can just cause it a failed probation. These are all concepts that have been quite legal and acceptable a lot longer than our silly revolutionary “new” methods. So really what’s so wrong about sticking to them? They worked wonderfully for the past 6000 years right?

  24. Anita, Amber, e2c: I am so honored to have kick-butt Godly women like you around these parts. Thank you for holding your own in style!

    thehostess: twelve years is nearly half my life! What a wonderful thing, to choose to share so much time with another person.

    Rob V: I think it’s extreme to blame war on the erosion of the nuclear family. While I do believe in God’s dominion- and thusly, God’s commands- as the best hope for happiness for all mankind, I wouldn’t blame the lack of God’s dominion on any one group of sinners. The fault belongs to all of us, all of humanity, and our hard-heartedness. I willingly throw myself as well as all Christianity in that equation, because I firmly believe that if we were doing our job and demonstrating Christ’s love to the world it would be a very different place.

  25. Wow. Lots to think about.
    I live in Canada, where we now do have same-sex marriages. I’m not sure about the U.S., but I expect Anita is right: you wouldn’t have individuals suing churches for not marrying same-sex couples – it being a religious issue vs. a civil one. In Canada, the Supreme Court established a ruling that would avoid that since churches already won’t perform weddings if, for example, individuals have been previously divorced, or simply aren’t members of that particular denomination. However, what has arisen is suits against same-sex couples not being allowed to use a particular space, like rent a building, for their wedding. (I don’t know how that one turned out.)
    At any rate, establishing marriage for same-sex couples doesn’t have to be the bane to the Christian church that folks seem to think. Legislation just needs to be wise, with those on all sides being protected. In our Charter of Rights and Freedoms equality under the law is established without discrimination to “religion” and “sex” – they’re actually listed side-by-side. It can work; justice can be had.

    For full disclosure: I have thought a lot about this, but still can’t come to the place that agreeing that homosexual activity is ok for a Christian. That said, I think the (North American Protestant) church has dropped the ball when it comes to sexuality and sexual behaviour altogether. If, as the NAP Church generally claims, that sex is only appropriate if the couple is married, then where’s the fanfare and freaking out when it comes to common law legislation? I’m not exactly saying the Church needs to strike up a new lobby group, just be consistent!
    And, while I do think there is a place for Christians to judge one another – I think Amber is wise to point to all those ‘watch out for judging’ verses. Treat people well. With respect. With kindness. With grace. Without condescension. With… hey, this is beginning to sound a lot like – the love of Christ! 😉

  26. I am not one who is overly concerned with the “correct” terminology. Call it a marriage or call it a civil ceremony, all I wish for is the right to put my partner on my health insurance, have her make my medical decisions if I am incapacitated, and have her be able to visit me in the hospital whenever she chooses. I would like the right to have her inherit our house if I should die first. I would like for her to be able to inherit our belongings. I want her to have the right to continue to visit and have contact with my children. She should be able to do all of that without a large hassle. Why not? Because she and I are both females.

    As for ruining the sanctity of marriage, I have to question that argument. The “normal” marriage in biblical times was a contract between families. It was possible that the bride and groom had never even met before the wedding night. It was not uncommon for young girls to be married to older men. I’m talking 13 and 14 year old girls being the second wife to men in their forties. King David had how many wives?

    There are many people who pull out scriptures to condemn homosexuals, all the while ignoring the other scriptures. Jesus, the son of God himself, said divorced people who remarried were committing adultery. I don’t believe that divorced people are sinning and today most denominations accept divorced persons as pastors. But they hold on to the few scriptures written by Paul, a mere man, and say that I am condemned to hell if I “choose” to be gay. I find it funny that people can so easily overlook scripture that affects them and beat me with scripture just because God made me gay.

    I am not trying to change your mind or your belief system. I am not trying to keep any civil liberties from you. All I ask in return is for people to agree to disagree and for the same civil liberties as anyone else.

    As for lumping beastiality and child molesting in the same category as me. I take great offense at that. I don’t have sex with animals, never wanted to. And the thought of abusing a child makes me sick. I am not a sexual deviant or a pervert. I am in love with a wonderful person who just happens to be a woman. An adult that walks on two legs and doesn’t bark.

  27. Uh….that was suppose to be in response to “An adult that walks on two legs and doesn’t bark.”

    But then you’re a smart group. I bet you figured that out 🙂

  28. Okay, I have to admit that at 6 in the morning when the alarm goes off, I bark. And now that I am trying to withdrawl from nicotine…I have a nasty bark. I’ve never bitten anyone yet. So I guess there is hope for me?????

  29. wvhillcountry – as long have no prosecutions – you are good! You can bite the gay haters.. just try not to leave marks ok?

  30. I’m really trying to understand what religion has to do with all this (and why this discussion have gone so far). It should be really simple: men and women can sign a contract together which grants the partners great benefits. It has absolutely nothing to do with marriage in a religious way and, sincerely, it has nothing to do with love –I hope we don’t come to a time when judges will solve a problem by asking the parties if they love each other.
    And what if anyone benefits from this? It’s pretty harmless. Marriage, in a law sense, is a society. The judge should not bother whether the partners will respect their mutual obligations. Nor should the judge bother whether the partners are a couple (a heterosexual one, a gay one) or just two friends looking for each other.
    If two adult people, for any reason, want to legally care for each other until they die (of boredom, maybe?), they must be allowed to do it. If they make it on the bed or not is a detail any law must avoid. Simple.
    I don’t even need to say that religion must mind its own business and must let the State run alone.

  31. Shush,

    I’m a little late in reading this, but wanted to say thanks. Thanks for what you wrote. Thank you for your compassion and understanding. Thank you for not complicating things. It always amazes at how much we can complicate things.

    It is refreshing when you see folks who are not gay have the same feelings on this issue. (It gets somewhat tiring when you constantly hear….”you’re saying that because you’re gay.”)

    I still don’t understand what people think will happen if we gay folks have the same rights as others.

    What is there to defend exactly? We allow pretty much everyone the same right. Everyone.

    Anyway, I really just wanted to say thank you Shush. I really enjoy reading what you write.


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