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In Which I Solidify My Position on Gay Marriage

April 15, 2009

My last post on gay marriage was written in a rush. As a result it wasn’t that well thought out, that well written and it didn’t express what I really wanted to say. In short, it didn’t serve its purpose.

First I need to give you a bit of background on myself, so you may understand a little more clearly where I am coming from, and how far I have come.

I grew up in a strongly religious household. I attended church every week. I prayed. I read the Bible. And I believed. I believed that despite the doubts I held that the word of God was absolute and correct, and above question, suspicious or hesitation. If the Bible decreed that a homosexual lifestyle was wrong in the eyes of God, then wrong it was, regardless of how I felt about it.

I remember having various doubts about Christianity. I didn’t want to believe that good people who happened to not be Christian would be destined for an eternity of damnation, or that we could declare their religion “wrong”. People told me that God works in mysterious ways and that we have no idea what happens to those “non-believers” after death, but I always felt that they were simply trying to assuage m worries.

Yet I rarely questioned further. Blind acceptance, more or less.

Growing up I was a typical homophobic male teen. “Gay” was a regular part of my vocabulary, as an epithet for “shitty”, “bad”, “stupid”, etc. “You’re so gay” or “You’re such a fag” was a regular part of my vocabulary.

I was taught to see gay people as something strange, something different, something immoral and something unnatural. And I followed blindly. My parent’s positions on the topic haven’t changed. While it’s wrong to hate gay people and to be cruel to them, it’s not wrong to expect them to tone down their lifestyle and live a life of celibacy. “We”, as Christians, cannot condone the homosexual lifestyle, and we must hate the sin, not the sinner. While, thankfully, my parents believe that homosexuality is biological and that gay people don’t choose to be gay, they do believe that living a gay lifestyle is a sin and that people must learn to control it. My mother equated it to a mental illness, such as anger management. You have no control over having it, but you must learn to control it. Apparently, just as you can’t go around punching people in anger you also cannot go around fucking people of the same gender. Celibacy or hell, more or less. 

I jumped ahead a little there, forgive me.

It all changed when I went to university and met and befriended gay people who were completely out and who were happy and satisfied with who they were. By getting to know them I became aware that gay people were not inherently immoral, their sexually was neither a choice nor a mental handicap and they were some of the kindest, gentlest people I had ever met.

Those of you who have been raised in liberal households and surrounded by open and happy gay people all your lives may see this revelation as being silly. But to me it was an eye opener.

While I still had some remnants of my Christian faith left I tried to reconcile my religious background with my newfound life experiences. Why not allow gay people to have civil ceremonies, I argued. That would give them all the health, tax and insurance benefits without stepping on the toes of the religious establishment by calling it “marriage”.

As my faith slipped away my support of gay rights (and other “left-wing” beliefs such as pro-choice and the absolute separation of church and state) grew.

In the end I’ve come to the conclusion that, frankly, I see no reason why gay marriage should even be an issue. It shouldn’t have to be an issue. It should be so widely accepted and tolerated that there should be no need for protests or marches or conservative pundits discussing the downfall of American morality.

People on all sides of the religious and political sphere can live in harmony. When over half of marriages end in divorce, when crime is rampant, when you have people in awful, abusive marriages and relationships, there is no reason why two people in a loving, committed relationship should not be legally and spiritually joined together, if that’s what they choose.

Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden all allow same-sex marriage. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont in the US allow same-sex marriage. A number of countries, including the UK and Germany allow civil partnerships.

The world is changing. We’re facing a number of horrific issues, such as a volatile and war-torn Middle East, economic threats from China and India, violent threats from Iran and North Korea, and the worst economic recession in many, many years.

Do we really have time, or even the need, to argue about people who just want to love each other? We need love more than ever, and we shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that. 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2009 11:39 am

    Ask yourself this:

    Do you truly believe that laws allowing gay marriage won’t be used to force religious organizations to violate their faith? Say Catholic Adoption Services being forced under law to adopt children into gay households, or churches being sued for not allowing gay marriages to be performed on consecrated ground?

    If you can answer yes to the above, then you’re in the position to ask, “Do we really have time, or even the need, to argue about people who just want to love each other?”

    If you can’t truly answer yes to the question, then you’re missing the real argument against gay marriage laws.

    BTW: Both examples I’ve cited have already happened…

    • sleepwalkingwriter permalink*
      April 15, 2009 11:51 am

      Hi Jonolan,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      I’m guilty of falling into the trap of seeing it as a black and white issue, whereas in reality it’s a massive grey area.

      I think any law allowing gay marriage has to be very, very carefully worded and enforced to respect all who would be affected by it (which would in fact be the entire population).

      I do believe in religious freedom. So, if something goes against the teaching of the church then no, it shouldn’t be allowed in the church. So if I a church refuses to marry gay couples, that’s their right.

      When I say gay marriage I really mean that the secular government and people should recognize a marriage between two homosexuals as just as legal as one between two heterosexual individuals. I don’t expect it to be blessed in a religious sense.

  2. April 15, 2009 5:20 pm

    It’s not just a “grey area;” it’s an amoeba.

    In Massachusetts, the Catholic Adoption Services was forced to either violate their doctrine by adopting children into gay homes or close down, because – once the gays were married under secular law – it became a case of discrimination to exclude them from being adoptive parents.

    In New Jersey, a Methodist church lost the tax-free status of it’s church property because they refused to allow a gay couple to hold the ceremony on the property. Actually, they refused to let them hold it in their chapel – which, to be fair, they did rent out for other purposes – but were willing to let them hold the ceremony anywhere else on the extensive grounds.

    You see, a lot of us aren’t worried about churches being forced to marry gays. We’re worried about the other issues that surround this one.

    Frankly, I’m Pagan and a priest in my faith. I’ve performed hand-fastings for several gay couples, and I’m still concerned about these laws that they’re passing.

    • sleepwalkingwriter permalink*
      April 16, 2009 9:18 am

      Your concerns are valid, and to be honest, I agree for the most part. I don’t think religious organisations (i.e., the Catholic Adoption Services, churches, mosques, synagogues, Pagan groups, etc.) should be forced to to do things that go against their respective doctrine. So, while there are secular alternatives to say, an adoption service, a church-funded agency shouldn’t be forced to accept certain adoptees.

      Yet I still see no reason why marriage rights, and all that those rights entail in terms of legal protection, shouldn’t be granted to same-sex couples, as long as whatever legislation is in place is very, very careful to protect those non-government groups that don’t support same-sex unions.

      While I may not agree with the Christian Church, the Pagan religion, and other world religions on a lot of their views, I fully support their right to hold those views. So while I think it unconscionable for, say, gay people to be barred from worshipping in said churches, I don’t feel that the churches should be forced to condone or even support their lifestyle, as much as I personally wish they would.

  3. April 16, 2009 2:04 pm

    If – and it’s a sadly huge if – “the legislation is in place is very, very careful to protect those non-government groups that don’t support same-sex unions,” then I’m all for gay marriage in the secular sense.

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