Since I went ahead and made a comment on the fallout surrounding Proposition 8, I thought I would give my rambling, incoherent thoughts on the gay marriage issue at large.
I’d like to start by explaining that I have a dear uncle who is gay and has lived with the same man for about 18 years. I love this man, and I love his partner. They live in England so I have not seen them often throughout my life, but whenever I have it has been a blessing. They are wonderful men who have a wonderful love for one another, and I have always called both of them “uncle.” My uncle’s partner is an ordained minister of one of the churches in England and we’ve had some good discussions on gay Christians.
My point in discussing my uncles is simply that I grew up with a strong example of a positive homosexual relationships in my life; I’m not a “homophobe” (whatever that means these days) and I’m not a stranger to good homosexual people. I’m an on-and-off World of Warcraft player and some of my best friends in the game have been homosexuals, and I had an invitation from a friend to join Champions of Stonewall, the largest GLBT guild in the game. I’ve given relationship advice to homosexual friends, and received marriage advice from them. This is not new or uncomfortable territory to me.
I have an undergraduate degree in classical studies with extensive focus on Greek and Latin languages, and my undergraduate minor was Hebrew, so I think I’m a bit more familiar with biblical hermeneutics than the average lay person. I’ve read the arguments from gay Christians concerning what the Bible says about homosexuality, and I’ve read the arguments from the opposition. I side with the latter. I think the Bible prohibits homosexual practices, and I think those prohibitions still have application today.
However, I am strongly against giving special treatment to homosexuality as a sin. The Bible teaches that everybody sins, and it does not say being homosexual is worse than lying, fornication, adultery, or dishonoring your parents. It’s not exactly a secret that most people in the US population, including a good number of Christians, engage in pre-marital sex, and the Bible says that’s just as wrong as homosexuality. It bothers me that evangelicals are known for being anti-gay but indifferent to heterosexual fornication; I think we should treat our gay friends the same as we would treat anyone else. With love and respect.
Given what I’ve just written above, my conclusion may surprise some of my readers. My position on what the government ought to do about the same-sex marriage controversy can best be described as “undecided.” These are my thoughts on the issue so far:
~ I think gay marriage is wrong from a religious standpoint, but does that mean that it’s the government’s place to enforce the morals I’d like to see? As I just said, I also think fornication is wrong, and I sure as hell don’t want the government to try and regulate that. Sure, I would like to see the government eventually put an end to abortion, but that’s because abortion threatens human life, and I think the government has an obligation to protect human life. Gay marriage does not directly threaten the physical well-being of any party, so why should the government be called on to stop it?
~ I dislike defining unions between same-sex couples as “marriage.” Marriage has always been defined as the union of a man and a woman, and while this may be a mere matter of semantics, changing the definition of marriage is very unsettling to me. I’m much more open to the idea of same-sex unions for gay couples that function exactly the same as marriages so long as we don’t call it “marriage.” You can call that silly and prejudicial if you want, it’s a real problem and I’m just being honest. I think that the suggestion to have the term “marriage” managed by churches and let the government manage all “civil unions” regardless of the genders involved is on the right track.
~ Being intimately acquainted with Mormon history, I find it very ironic that some gays are now directing their ire for the failure of Proposition 8 at Mormons. Mormons themselves once practiced an unconventional form of marriage (polygamy) and the US government quite literally sent an army against them to force them to stop. If same-sex civil unions are allowed, is polygamy still off-limits? Why? Why is it okay in our country for a man to have four different girlfriends, get them all pregnant, and abandon them, but if a man wants to live with and take care of four different women and their children for the rest of their lives, that’s wrong? And if gay marriage is okay, and that opens the door for polygamy to return… well, Jerry Springer is going to get a heck of a lot more interesting. Sometimes I find myself leaning against gay marriage if only to keep things simple.
~ There needs to be a national solution to this problem, one way or another, and it needs to be decided on by the American people, NOT by the Supreme Court Roe-v.-Wade-style. This system we currently have where just a few states are allowing it and most states are rejecting it and saying they won’t recognize same-sex unions from other states is absolutely doomed to failure. There have already been reports of heartache from couples having a hard time obtaining a divorce since they were married in another state. There also needs to be a system in place to settle same-sex divorce disputes involving custody and child support. I firmly believe that the children should not be made to suffer because this country lacked the patience to work these issues out before plunging into a new marriage system.
For now I guess you can say that I tentatively oppose gay marriage and would support an amendment like Proposition 8, but that’s only because I want a larger, more cohesive solution to the problem. Show me how we’re going to integrate same-sex unions with traditional marriage, show me how we’re going to care for the children such unions produce. Then we’ll talk.