OK, OK… My Thoughts on Gay Marriage

OK, so I posted the “sexy, fabulous” post last night with a hint of my thoughts on gay marriage, but apparently did not do a good job because today has been a day where I have been blasted. It started with one of my favorite relatives this morning telling me that she disagrees with me. She thinks they should have all the same rights as straight couples. But it didn’t end there. As many of you know, I have a lot of gay friends. I got text messages and emails from all of them, too. So let me spell it out for everyone. When it comes to gay marriage…

I believe that no matter what your sexual orientation, you should be afforded the same rights as every other person in the United States of America. I say this for two reasons. First of all, the Constitution, in no place that I have found, has any language that says that two people of the same sex are excluded from having equal rights. As a person who fervently believes in the Constitution, I therefore don’t see how it is legal that they are not allowed to have all the same rights as I have. Their choice doesn’t affect my personal freedoms, so they should be able to make whatever choice they want.

Second, I am a believer in love. I feel lucky that I found a person that I love with all my heart and who loves me with all of hers. I am not attracted to men, so I am really thankful that it was a woman that this happened with. Love is something special that I hope every single person has the fortune to find with someone. In a world where it seems so many people are unhappy, I don’t care who it is that you find love with. If you find it I am happy for you. If it so happens that it is with someone of the same sex, I don’t care. You found it and I am happy for you. 

So i think that you should have all the rights that are afforded my wife and I. You should be able to live your life free of discrimination. You should be able to visit your partner in the hospital. You should be able to do everything legally that my wife and I can do. You, as a gay couple, should have every right afforded to traditional couples.

However, marriage is not a right. Marriage is a sacred institution recognized by the church. The church believes it is between a man and a woman. It is their right to believe that. And I don’t think it is your right to re-define their religion to suit your personal choices. I don’t believe it is your right to force them to change their religious beliefs simply because you want to prove to them that you can.

If what you are after is equal rights, I believe that you can attain that. I am unsure why so many gay rights advocates are opposed to the term “civil union” if the term means that you get every right afforded traditional married couples. That is what you are after, right? I mean the important thing is that you get the ability to do all the things that a traditional married couple can do, right? Certainly you aren’t so petty that it is more important to you that it is called “marriage”, right?

On the flip side, if you want gay marriage because you want your union to be blessed by God, then what does that have to do with changing the law? God doesn’t adhere to any law written in the United States or any other country. Start your own church and have your own ceremony where you pledge your love before God. Call it whatever you want. And if your belief system says that God will recognize that union, who gives a shit whether the state recognizes it? After you pledge your love before God, so that he know recognizes it, you can go to the courthouse and have a civil union done so that you have all of the other rights afforded any other couple. 

You see, that is the thing. There is no need for the two different trains of thought to conflict with one another. Civil Rights granted by the state have nothing to do with being recognized by God. 

You see the first step for this country to become united again is to learn to compromise. Whichever side of this issue you fall on, try a little empathy. For those who don’t recognize the word, it means seeing things from the other point of view. 

Christians…. Try to understand that these are not monsters who want to tear down your church. They are regular people who have been lucky to find love and who simply want to have the same benefits afforded any other couple who fall in love in America. Don’t judge them based on the few freaks who yell “Jesus was a Homo” or who dress up as “hooker nuns” and bust into church services. That is not the gay rights movement. Those are merely the actions of a few freaks who revel in acting out like idiots.

Gay Right Folks…. Try to understand that these are not zealots who want to burn you at the stake. They are regular people who believe in the teachings of their bible in the way that they interpret it. Don’t judge them based on the freaks who picket soldier’s funerals or who scream “God hates Fags”. That is not the average Christian. Those are merely the actions of a few freaks who cannot tolerate something different than who they are.

The bible is the bible folks. And it says what it says. It is not meant to be a progressive document that changes with the times or keeps up with cultural norms. It is supposed to be the teachings of God. Gay rights advocates should be ashamed for asking the people of those churches to abandon the teachings of their particular faith. Likewise, Christians who do so should be ashamed of themselves for thinking that the rights of same sex couples should be less than yours simply because they found love in a different way than you did. 

I think those of you on the gay rights side of the argument might be surprised at the support you may have if you simply stop trying to change the teachings of the church, stop trying to take the term marriage and re-define it. Many Christians want you to have the same rights as they have, but they don’t want you re-defining what they see as a sacred institution.

So my question to all of the gay rights advocates out there is this: Do you want equal rights or are you more interested in getting gay marriage just so that you can say FU to Christians and the church? And my questions to all of the Christians out there is this: Are you really going to live as a hypocrite and deny equal rights to someone just because they don’t define love in the same way that you do?

Comments

  1. Where I was born, marriage is not something that is recognized by the church, but by the state. You can have a ceremony in a church if you like, but it’s not going to be official until you go to city hall, fill out a wedding license and hand in all the paperwork. The equivalent of a Justice of the Peace will then marry you. Cool, wicked, done. No church involved whatsoever. It’s actually a pretty cool thing – it’s called separation of church and state in theory AND practice. You Americans should try it once… 😉

    So “the church” recognizes marriage to be between a man and a woman. Why is that? Because the Bible says so? I have a few questions then. If Jason Campbell promises to play with gloves, will he be allowed to throw a pass? And if Chris Cooley makes the same promise, may he then catch the ball? My grandfather used to grow tomatoes in his garden, right next to potatoes. Should we all gather now and burn him? And I really like to do my homework on the Sabbath. Should I now be stoned? What about my underwear? It’s both cotton and acrylic, interwoven. And who here sold their daughter into slavery lately?

  2. Ruben,
    Interesting thoughts. However I see the entire last paragraph as mere diversion. Whether or not all Christians follow every letter of the bible has nothing to do with this argument. The fact is that the church teaches what it teaches. And it should not be forced to change what it teaches simply because there are those in society who choose a different path.

    And I submit to you that separation of church and state is a valid argument. In which case I say that the state should no longer call it marriage. That would be the state getting its tendrils into business of the church. Perhaps everyone should be getting a civil union license. Leave the whole marriage gig to the church where it was created.

    You have to be careful not to confuse this issue by bringing in thoughts like that whole last paragraph. Too much of that in political conversation today. People simply diverting attention from the issue by throwing out even more radical “comparisons”. I would ask you the same thing I asked in the post. Which is more important to the movement? Getting equal rights or calling it a marriage? Focus more on the rights and less on poking christians with a stick and you may find a fair compromise.

  3. But I enjoy poking Christians with a stick. It’s actually one of my hobbies! Ok, ok, I’ll stop poking…for now.
    Allowing gays a civil union and not a marriage it is separate but equal, but for gays instead of blacks. Equal rights are equal rights. Just like in the past, churches refused to marry a black person to a white person, we overcame that, both as a country and as a people. Why not let a man marry a man? The reason I care so much, is because it feels like this country is sometimes still stuck in the days of Plessy. Let gay people get married and let them be just as miserable as straight people.

    I respectfully dissent with the people of California.

  4. “However I see the entire last paragraph as mere diversion.”

    Actually his entire argument is a diversion. To quote the king of all Debators…Samuel L. Jackson…”oh you were finished. Well alllow me to retort”

    “Where I was born, marriage is not something that is recognized by the church, but by the state. You can have a ceremony in a church if you like, but it’s not going to be official until you go to city hall, fill out a wedding license and hand in all the paperwork.”

    Funny that’s how it is here too, you didn’t say where you were born but from your last line it probably isn’t America. Perhaps some actual learning something about the laws here may help you in the future. See here you do still have to get paperwork done by the state, get bloodwork done, and fill out forms.

    “The equivalent of a Justice of the Peace will then marry you. Cool, wicked, done. No church involved whatsoever.”

    Funny that can be done here too. Of course most states say one man one woman. No church needed there either.

    “It’s actually a pretty cool thing – it’s called separation of church and state in theory AND practice. You Americans should try it once…”

    Funny that is exactly what those who suport gay marriage forget. You see part of the argument is that Churches will be forced to perform Gay Marriages against their will. In other words the state will force religion to do something…so where is your seperation now?

    Funny how lefties only seem to think certain phrases like seperation of “church and state”

  5. I got cut off for some odd reason.

    Funny how lefties only seem to think certain phrases like seperation of “church and state” (which by the way is not in the Constitution) only work one way…i.e. for them.

  6. The full phrase Seperation of church and state should have been in quotes, not just Church and State. Although that phrase also isn’t in the Constitution.

  7. Wait…did you just call me a leftie? Really?

  8. “[Y]ou didn’t say where you were born but from your last line it probably isn’t America. Perhaps some actual learning something about the laws here may help you in the future.”

    Wow… I hope you realize why I choose not to react to that.

  9. Thedoyle,

    Excellent point about separation of church and state and the fact that the state is attempting to legislate what the church will or won’t do.

    By the way, I love the discussion. This is what I always hope to have on this blog, spirited conversation debating the issues. Just remember to keep it respectful. An opposite point of view doesn’t necessarily mean a wrong point of view.

  10. Wait…did you just call me a leftie? Really?

    Well, you can read…but can you comprehend? We’ll see.

  11. Wow… I hope you realize why I choose not to react to that.

    Wow… I hope you realize I don’t care either way.

  12. Excellent point about separation of church and state and the fact that the state is attempting to legislate what the church will or won’t do.

    The Left claims it won’t do that but the existing court decisions that came after the Slaughter-House cases prove them wrong.

  13. http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZDg3YTMwZmFmZWMxOTRlZWI4YjhhMjkyNDI5YWJmZGQ=

    Sorry for the individual links, US. I should just find them and post once I find them all but oh well.

  14. revolution2010 says:

    I am still a little befuddled at the argument. If the government got out of the debate, can they not just pass a law that entitles 2 persons of the same sex to be married by the justice or by any recognized religious establishment who is willing to perform the ceremony? Does it really have to be deadlocked in this way?
    Seriously, can we all just get along? If it doesn’t directly affect you, why would it matter to you? Is it just a semantics problem? Marriage, civil union…
    People that make the argument about God drive me NUTS! If God gave human beings free will, what gives humans the right to usurp God’s law… I would think that would make him angry too. There are plenty of instances of church members (or leaders) acting in a way that is ill viewed by members and non-members. They are not acting in accordance with the bible the parishioners are comfortable with, but when asked, they will tell you that is between him (or her) and God… why is this not true of gay marriage? Judgment day being what it is and all…

  15. Revolution,

    You always make me laugh, just for the matter of fact way that you address things. I believe that you and I are in agreement here, although it may not seem so obvious. I would prefer that we just take the church out of the entire equation and make the ability for any two people who fall in love to have the same rights. I don’t think it has to be deadlocked which is why I felt it necessary to speak my mind and tell gay rights advocates to let go of the church thing and go for the rights that they deserve. So long as the focus is on calling it marriage, too many Christians are not going to give in and votes will happen like California. Since you know I am not a one of the “church folk”, I hope you also know that I personally don’t care what it is called, so long as it is equal treatment for all.

  16. Revolution,

    I think it is a semantics problem. Those who oppose it do so because of the redefining of the word marriage. The Bard said A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but that doesn’t mean we should start calling dandelions roses. The citizens of California had civil unions with all of the benefits of marriage, they could still call it married among themselves, they would not have been arrested for saying they were married. They wanted to force everyone else thru the power of the state to call it marriage. Ruben clamors for “equal protection” but those who voted for prop8 have lost their jobs, been intimidated, accosted, and blacklisted for their stance. So much for equal protection.

  17. Mother in Law says:

    I am not sure if I missed something but if we accept civil union what does that do when we fill out forms, income tax returns and ect? They only have married or single? Would you put civil union? My understanding this is why they are fighting this battle. I understand you saying it is a religious union but you do have to go get a marrage license in order for it to be legal. So would they have to change it to get a civil union license? After voiceing my concerns I understood where you were coming from but unless they change some laws or maybe forms they cannot have the same rights as we do.

  18. Hi there,
    Thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks for your comments and your interest in this issue. You’ve obviously put much thought into this problem.

    I suppose my issue with your reasoning begins at the point where you place authority over marriage within the purview of the church. It seems to suggest that only heterosexual Christians have the privilege of choosing marriage in this country. Does this mean that Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Muslims, and believers of all other religions cannot experience the blessings of marriage? After all, the Mosaic law seems to presuppose that all “aliens and strangers in the land” will be bound to adhere to the Mosaic law. Christians don’t seem to mind that non-Christians get married outside the Church, receiving the full benefit of federal rights and responsibilities. It seems we have a logical contradiction here. The truth, I believe, is that most Christians don’t care that non-Christians are getting married outside the Church, the evidence being that they aren’t pouring millions of dollars into the fight to ban Hindus or Moslems from marrying, only gays.

    Or is it that all heterosexual adherents to those other faiths are acceptable to receive the privilege of marriage, and only sexually varianced people are not worthy of the privilege?

    I don’t think that God blesses unions based on sexual orientation, but rather on issues of integrity and love. Outmoded Biblical interpretations based on very shaky hermeneutic exegesis just can’t suffice any longer to justify the suppression of a significant portion of the population of our society. There are any number of good books available which exegete the issue in a hermeneutically responsible manner. Daniel Helminiak wrote one of them.

    But still and all, if the church doesn’t want to shed its prejudices, I’m willing to do without the church’s blessing. I don’t buy the notion that the word “marriage” is somehow copyright to the church, or that gay people are singled out by God as the only population that is divinely barred from marriage. I think this may be what you are saying, but I don’t think civil unions are really the answer, at least as they are constituted presently.

    Perhaps it’s time that separation of church and state became more of a reality.

    By the way, civil unions, at present, are not recognized federally. They do not convey the same rights and responsibilities as marriage for numerous reasons. They have no efficacy with federal law, as with the IRS. If a couple moves from one state to another they must become “civily unioned” again, as no state has reciprocal agreements with other states on this issue.
    If federal law recognized civil unions as having the full force of marriage, and all states had reciprocal agreements, that might be a different matter. But honestly, as I pointed out above, I don’t think that’s really the problem.

    I read in other comments in this column that others have lost their jobs for voting for Prop 8. That’s too bad, and I feel that no one should lose a job for voting their conscience. I’ve lost a job just for being gay, and it’s no fun. But frankly, I think that pales beside what gay people experience on an ongoing basis. It would be interesting to see a comparison of statistics for hate crimes against Christians and gay people in this country.

    Here are hate crime statistics for the U.S.A. for the year 2006, retrieved from the web at http://www.esquire.com/features/hate-crime-0608. It’s interesting to note that there is no category for Christians. I think that’s probably because there really is no hate crime activity against Christians in America, at least to speak of.

    7,722 hate-crime incidents were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2006 — an 8% increase from 2005.

    2,640 were anti-black (up from 2,630 in 2005).

    967 were anti-Jewish (up from 848 in 2005).

    890 were anti-white (up from 828 in 2005).

    747 were anti-male homosexual (up from 621 in 2005).

    576 were anti-Hispanic (up from 522 in 2005).

    156 were anti-Islamic (up from 128 in 2005).

    163 were anti-female homosexual (up from 155 in 2005).

    These are very conservative figures, by the way. Much crime against gays is not filed under the hate crime laws, because it immediately becomes a federal issue, which sometimes irks local law enforcement. And I abhor all hate crime, not just that against sexually varianced people.

    Thanks again. I enjoyed reading you, as you seem a humane and generous person. I thought your last paragraph was funny. I feel I relate to you in a couple of other ways, as well. I greatly admire the Dalai Lama, and although I hate war, I admire all those who protect and serve.

    Blessings and peace to you…

  19. Mother in Law,

    You have it right. If civil unions are the answer, then there are a lot of laws that will need to change. As Daniel so eloquently stated in his post right below yours, a current problem is that civil unions are not recognized the way that marriage is. That is a major thing that needs to change. Tax implications, family rights, heir status, and things like that are not addressed sufficiently in a way that will give our same sex citizens equal status.

  20. Daniel,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I have to say that I got a far better understanding of things simply by reading what you had to say and through the browsing of your blog. I hadn’t thought about the fact that civil unions are not a federal statute. That would need to change. I suppose that perhaps the movement is right on this one and perhaps I am wrong. OK, friends, you can let me have it. I know you are thinking “oh my god, did he just come close to admitting that he could be wrong about something?” Yes, I may have judged a bit wrong, but I am not fully admitting that yet.

    I don’t think that I adequately stated what I mean by the church has dominion over the term marriage. It isn’t to say that they do, but for me the point is simply that I am unsure it is fair to ask them to change what they believe any more that it would be to ask you to change what you believe. While merely a semantics issue (and some good conversation is happening around this in the intolerance thread), it seems that this is a major part of the hangup for a significant portion of the christian population. If that is true, half the battle is semantics, and with my position I merely want to compromise in a way that most expeditiously gets the rights that you are entitled to given to you.

    As for the being only biased against gays, unfortunately that part I have found to be untrue in my own experience. When I chose to marry a couple of years ago, I was forced to go through premarital counseling with the pastor of the church where we were to be married. Being a non-christian, I would not be allowed to be married in that church so I had to keep mum on that part of my belief system. I believe that millions of dollars aren’t being funneled into the other people simply because their movement isn’t nearly as big. It is far less often that a muslim or buddhist wants to marry a christian. I didn’t start a movement there simply because I didn’t care about what the church thinks about my marriage. I only cared about being married to Jen. That being said, I certainly see and agree with your argument there.

    As for the hate crime thing, I also abhor it on any level. At no point should someone be victimized simply for being different. Realistically at no point should anyone be victimized. I am not a fan of hate crime laws, but that is another issue altogether. I think there should be harsher penalties for all crimes. Hanging a noose around a tree and hurting someone’s feelings by doing so is not worse, in my opinion, than beating them. Yet because one is a hate crime and another is not, the penalties are disproportionately different. If someone beats someone up, they should be punished severely (although I do admit that it is much easier to say that now that I have grown up and stopped being such a “rambunctious” young boy). It should not matter what the reason is behind the crime.

  21. Well my point of view as a member of the gay community. From most of the gay people I have talk to about gay marriage( which is in the thousands-doing research on this topic). Most would welcome civil unions as long as they had the same rights. The word marriage really is not a issue for 99% of the ones I have talked to. The problem they have is that most civil unions provided by states have only limited rights. I can understand that the word marriage has always been related to church. To me civil unions would be fine as long as the same rights apply as they do in marriage.

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