Monday 10 November 2008

Homosexual marriage

At the risk of sounding snarky (I don't mean to!), I honestly don't understand some things surrounding the whole homosexual marriage issue. On both sides. So however you feel about it, feel free to chime in and edumacate me.

Let's start with the people who are for homosexual marriage, since it's the easier of the two. For the most part, I understand. But just focusing on one little thing - I absolutely understand why supporters would want same-sex unions of some sort. I don't need any clarification in that regard. What I don't understand is why supporters want to change the definition of marriage itself in order to allow for same-sex marriage, especially in places where same-sex unions are allowed and are granted the same rights as married couples. Why is a civil union with rights equivalent to marriage unsatisfactory?

Now, moving on to those who are against same-sex marriage and/or same-sex unions. If you are not a Christian and are against either/or, why? It actually shocks me that same-sex unions are still limited to only a handful of states, as the only people I ever hear speaking against this are those who are against it for religious reasons. I don't understand why, unless one is a Christian and believes homesexuality to be a sin, one would be opposed to this?

And now for the majority - Christians who are against same-sex marriage and/or unions. If you are against same-sex marriage, I more or less understand where you're coming from. But for those who are against even same-sex unions on a religious basis...why?

As Christians, we believe the Bible tells us that homosexuality is a sin. But we believe lots of other things are sins too - including other things related to marriage. How about common-law marriage? Cohabitation? Domestic partnerships? What about premarital sex? What about divorce, which God says He hates?

Why shouldn't all these things be illegal too? If marriage is so sacred, then why aren't Christians lobbying against these things the way they are against same-sex unions, or even homosexuality in general?

And if all sins, no matter how small, are enough to separate us from a holy God, then what about making those "small" sins illegal too? Lying? Greed? Arrogance? Gossip?

It seems that many of us as Christians feel it is our duty to legislate our morals. What makes us think we should be able to tell others what to do, and even to force them to do it through laws? Do we think we can bring salvation through laws? And if so, isn't that the whole point of the gospel, that the law - whether religious law or governmental law - cannot save us? That we need a Saviour? Isn't that what the Law was supposed to show us?

I do not in any way believe that churches should perform same-sex marriages or blessings. As a member of the Anglican church, this is an issue that touches very close to home for me, as the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of the USA have both split over this very issue. We belong to a church that has chosen to reject the idea of the church blessing or performing same-sex marriages, as we do not believe the church should ever bless something which the Bible says in a sin.

But the law has nothing to do with Christianity, and we should hope it remains so. One day, should it become illegal to preach or read God's Word, will you obey the law then? And as for what the world does? We cannot (and should not) force them to conform to our morals and beliefs, nor even expect them to - for why would they? Would you obey Islam's commands if you did not believe in Allah or follow that particular religion?

Maybe we should start by showing the world Jesus.


  1. This post made me smile in a completely complimentary-to-you way. I love that you are asking these questions. I hope people will at least think about them if not start talking more about them. If I can put together something respectfully brief, I'll add my two cents... :)

  2. As a christian and an American, I couldn't agree more! My husband and I have often talked about this because he has a gay family member. We have come to the same conclusion that you have. Thanks for taking on this topic.


  3. Thats for summing it up so clearly for me... This will be very helpful with talking to friends. Thanks for being bold.

    Hilty Sprouts
    aka recycling man

  4. This post made me think. I'll try to articulate my thoughts. :)

    I suppose the reason American Christians take issue with the idea of legalizing gay marriage is because we already have laws that limit it to man/woman relationships. The idea of redefining marriage to include homosexuals is controversial to Christians because this would allow sin to taint the idea of marriage.

    As you mentioned, there are a LOT of sins that taint marriage. Lust, premarital sex, cohabitation, divorce/remarriage, abuse, the list goes on. Perhaps the reason we don't "fight" these sins (like we do gay marriage) is because there is no current legislation against them to begin with.

    My opinion on the matter? I oppose homosexual marriage. However, I predict it will be legalized across America in the next four years, much as it already is in Canada. If you had asked me six months ago how I felt about this, I would respond with indignation and disgust. While I am still against legalizing gay marriage, I now realize that this does not make Christians less responsible for their actions. In fact, the darker this world gets, the brighter our lights can shine for Christ. People will sin, legalized or not. Instead of getting caught up in legalities, I think our time would be better spent being a light to a world where right and wrong are becoming a matter of popular vote.

  5. I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state. I think that marriage is a religious concept and that it should be left to religions. In Europe, most people get "married" twice, once in church and once in the town hall, because the church wedding isn't recognized as legal.

    I would take it a step further than that. I would say if you want to get married, leave that to the churches. The government should have some definitions around what makes a couple or family if they need to for the purposes of tax treatment, benefits, pensions, immigration, etc. but it should not be marriage. Not for homosexuals and not for heterosexuals. Not for anyone.

    But as long as the government recognizes the marriage of heterosexuals as a legally binding contract, I think they need to offer the same option to homosexuals.

    My husband and I only got married because at the time Canada's immigration requirements required us to be married in order for me to sponsor him to come to Canada. Today, cohabitation is sufficient for immigration purposes.

  6. I really enjoyed this post. I am someone who typically never allows my politics and religion mix. It has also been a pet peeve of mine for years that Christians like to pick our favorite "sins" if you will and enforce those while we cheat, lie, envy, etc. I was brought up to believe that a sin is a sin. No matter how great or how small that it's.

    I also believe that being gay isn't choice, but that the lifestyle is. I really feel it's a chemical issue for many people, but to act on these feelings is a sin. But it is also a sin to act on the lust you feel for someone, and it's a sin to act on the backbiting nature you may have so you can further yourself. I guess my point is, I'm not going to go crazy over one sin someone is choosing to commit when there are probably people in my church sinning as well (including me). After all, "He who has not sinned, cast the first stone..."

  7. There are a couple things that came into play for me when considering my vote: from the civic perspective, outside the sentimental reasons to vote for gay marriage, I don’t see any practical reasons for it and it will end up costing money. Right now, at every level of government, we have no business deciding to spend more money regardless of how grand an idea might be. At my house when finances are tight we forgo things that otherwise make perfect sense to purchase. So, as a citizen attempting to voice an opinion that I think will lead to a stronger, more stable society in my state and country, I must make a vote to not expand our financial obligations.

    And, though I wasn’t voting with the goal of imposing morals on people, I was voting with God looking over my shoulder. He told me not to be a man pleaser. He told me to fear Him and not man. He told me to trust in Him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. He told me that my heart is deceitfully wicked and that I cannot trust it. He told me that I must decide today who I will serve. With all that in mind, I decided to listen to Him above and before I listened to all the other voices bombarding me from every direction. I decided to serve Him with my vote. In that moment, the outcome of the vote was irrelevant – the only thing that mattered was my bowing my head in humility before Him.

    P.S. I also agree with pretty much everything else everyone else has said.

  8. I support gay marriage and the need for the word marriage is that separate but equal in not equal. Also, international law does not recognize civil unions. There are a lot of american laws that also don't recognize civil unions and civil unions do not pass over state borders the way that marriage does.

  9. I think I agree with you.

    I wanted to add that I think the reason, at least here, Christians fight the actual legislation for homosexual marriage is because our affirmative action, hate crime and "special privilege" laws are so intetwined that things like this could potentially force all pastors or priests to marry homosexuals, even if they don't agree with it. I know that in order for people to get "rights", we often pass laws that create rights, thereby forcing them all across the board, if that makes any sense.

  10. I also want to add that I think marriage should be outside of government anyway. :) And that in terms of visitation and things like that.. well technically any two people can enter into some sort of binding contract and get these things anyway, again, at least here. Which, would essentially be the same thing as a civil union.

  11. I seriously love you for a lot of what you said in this post. Religion shouldn't dictate law, and sins shouldn't be selectively made illegal. And I love that you, a devout Christian, said all of it. I seriously want to hug you for this.

    As for marriage vs. unions, I think the point on that is that it is a difference, even if it gives the same rights. It's still singling them out in a way, not allowing them to have something that everyone else has, and trying to replace it instead with something "good enough" or "pretty much" the same. Does that make sense? I think if I were gay, I would be okay with a civil union, but I can understand, too, why some aren't.

    Did you see Keith Olbermann's special comment about Proposition 8? It's here. I found his comparison between gay marriage and slave/interracial marriage interesting.

  12. I didn't see rachel's comment until just now - "separate but not equal [is] not equal." That was exactly what I was trying to say, only I'm not so great with brevity :). Obviously.

  13. We try to stay out of politics and get annoyed when christians try to poke their noses in to all of the laws of the land. I belong to the kingdom of God not to the United States of America. I think the pledge of allegiance should not be sung by Christians because we should have no allegiances to a worldly country, only to God. My husband has said "Patriotism is the foremost avenue to racism" because when you care more about one group of people you at best indifferent to all other groups.

    good post!