The Controversial One Where I Talk About Gay Marriage
Like many people I sit in the apex of this discussion. We're Christians, from very conservative backgrounds, who consider ourselves to be conservative. But we also have myriad close friends, family members and professional role models who are gay, lesbian or transgendered. We all do a lot of personal questioning and prayer about this issue. It's not one we tend to treat with any degree of blaise.
From my particular point of view I think I can safely say that in all the talk of pro- and anti-gay marriage, most people seem to be talking around the most sensitive part of this issue for a lot of Christians. That's what I'm going to lay out there.
For all the talk of the sanctity of marriage and it's role as a foundation for society, we've done a poor job of walking the talk over the last seventy-five years. The United States in the wake of World War II has been rapidly evolving socially and culturally as well as technologically. It should be abundantly clear to anyone studying the nature of the country that there are about 50 flavours of Christian, about 5 flavours of Jews, several flavours of Muslim, various other religions and those who are wholly secular. "Marriage" is something slightly different to each and every one of those people. Already, many Christians are endorsing the idea of Covenant Marriage as a sort of divorce reform. This is a type of marriage with a religious basis that requires additional counseling to institute and is harder to dissolve with divorce. It's been a way for many people to say "we want to marry according to our beliefs, rules and traditions. What the state offers is not in keeping with our religiocultural definitions of marital union."
After a lifetime of reading celebrity gossip with varying degrees of interest I think it's safe to say that we've already got a de-facto variety of marriages in this country. What marriage means to me is clearly not the same thing it means to Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones and Brittney Spears. So why are so many conservative people against gay marriage?
Because they believe that legalised gay marriage will lead to a reduction of their rights.
In other countries, ministers are being thrown into jail for preaching that homosexuality is a sin. As it stands now in the United States we have freedom of speech. One person should be able to say that homosexuality is a sin, while another should be allowed to say that it isn't a sin. That's what makes us America. But the standard belief seems to go like this:
If gay marriage is legalised, then churches will eventually be forced by law to marry homosexuals. Churches and parachurch organisations can also be forced to recognise homosexual marriage.
Since in many churches, synagogues and mosques view homosexuality as a lifestyle not in keeping with the faith, this idea is an anathema. I can understand that.
I've long felt that we need a legislated two-tier marital system, such as that we've already begun to practice with Covenant marriage. A state-sanctioned union for all citizens, with the religiously sanctioned union in accordance with the practices of ones church being seperate. We've been trending this way for the last 65 years. We may as well just get it over with. Not only would this allow gay people the right to marry for which they are clamouring, but it would allow those Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths a safeguard for their freedom of religion.