Selection Of Your Comments
July 7, 2004
Now, let me just say right here at the onset that I am a 32 year old Christian, and have only fairly recently given my life to Christ. For this reason, I have a different perspective altogether than some who have maybe been raised by Christian families. In those cases, when a person grows up enveloped by “The Christian Lifestyle,” they are surrounded by people who support them in their faith right from childhood. When a person comes to faith in their adult life however, their view of the rest of America’s take on Christians is different.
By this I mean to make no point other than that the opportunity to view things from a purely secular vantage point is not there for a life-long Christian. One view is not specifically a clearer, or somehow better than the other, they just necessarily see the impact of Christianity on secular America differently.
I recently received an email from a friend regarding the upcoming vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. (Slated for July 15th, 2004). Specifically, the author was urging me to contact my senator, who was just about to vote to kill the amendment, thereby making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. The author of the article was appealing to Christians’ sense of morality by advising us,
“If the homosexual activists and the Senate Democrats are successful, homosexual marriage will radically reshape our society. They will force acceptance of their lifestyle on the rest of society.”
I see what whoever wrote the article was pointing out here. If gay marriage becomes a commonplace event, and is generally accepted by most Americans as part of our "inalienable rights" there would be that much more work to do in the arena of bringing Christian ethics to the forefront of American culture. In fact, it may even pave the way to putting secular America’s perspective on Christianity on even more of a slant towards the idea that all Christians are right wing fanatics. That is definitely a pit I don't want to have to try any harder to claw my way out of.
Having said that, I can't seem to find it in myself to agree with this article. Nothing about homosexuality is as black and white as the author of this article would have us believe. To deny a couple the rights to the same governmental privileges such as tax benefits, medical insurances, or any other domestic privileges that are available to heterosexual couples seems to me like just plain discrimination. The fact is, most homosexuals will tell you that if there was a choice involved, they would have chosen a hetero-sexual, or “normal” life.
But homosexuals can no more choose their sexual preference than an artist can choose his talent. A talented singer has a good voice, whether she likes to sing or not. After reading many books on the subject, and speaking to gays about the challenges in their domestic lifestyles, I firmly believe that no rational person would choose such a path, given an opportunity to do otherwise. Like a sickness, or handicap, it is simply not an easy thing to live with.
If that’s so, we ought never to deny anyone these rights and privileges any more than we would deny ourselves of them. After all, when is it ok to discriminate against a certain kind of marriage? Physically or mentally handicapped couples? Interracial couples? Jewish/Christian marriages? It’s easy to see why the lines are so blurry. If homosexuality is not a selection, but an affliction, we can no longer look down our Christian noses at gays any more than we can at cancer patients. Now I grant you, almost no one in the homosexual community will take kindly to me referring to gays as ‘afflicted,’ and I understand why. But here’s where the higher truth comes into play.
We live in a fallen world. The whole place is corrupted by sin, sickness and death. Many of the things we casually accept as “part of life” are symptoms of this. We have become so arrogant in our genius, that we have forgotten what they are even symptoms of. What we brilliantly label as psychosis, or delusional paranoia, Jesus would have called a demon. (See Matthew 8: 28-32) We have just come up with comfy little labels for things that would otherwise remind us of our deeper, darker problems, and our deeply unwanted need to depend on Christ to get us through. The practice of homosexuality is just another symptom pointing to the larger illness of sin. An illness we all share, whether we are straight or gay, murderers or doctors, priests or pornographers. That’s a higher truth, whether it is politically correct or not.
Now, since we’ve cleared up why we need to be more polite to gays, what about their infiltration into the God ordained institution of marriage? It’s a touchy subject, to be sure, but let’s look at what that means. The definition of the word marriage is what we’re thinking about. To Christians it is a different thing than to the rest of secular America. We believe that God has ordained marriage as a Holy commitment made before God, by a man and a woman (See Genesis 2: 23-25). It is an illustration of our relationship with the Holy Father, and when it looks the way He intended it, it is a pointer to how we ought to love. Not just love our spouses, but love our neighbors, our God, and even our enemies. Marriage can be, and was divinely designed to be, the best model we have of true Christ-likeness.
But that’s not what everyone hears when you say the word marriage. Some marriages demonstrate little love at all, even between the two involved. Regardless of the reason, any marriage not based on the biblical principles of marriage, is by its very definition a different thing, to the Christian. To be blunt, anything else is little more than a ‘civil union.’
So the reason Christian’s blow their stacks at the idea of gay marriage, is that because homosexuality is a sin (See 1 Corinthians 6: 8-10), homosexual marriage would defile what should otherwise be a sacred & Holy institution, which in turn indirectly defiles the glory of God. Now that is understandably offensive to any believer. But wait… It seems that all the things that homosexual couples are looking for are the governmental provisions associated with marriage. They’re looking for equal pay, and the same family medical benefits. They want their fair shot at the tax benefits of marriage, and home ownership as a family unit.
In so far as that is concerned, I can see no reason why those benefits should not be afforded to them. If I truly view them as afflicted with another ‘strain’ of the same sin I am afflicted with, why should they be denied those rights? The rights most gay couples are after have little or nothing to do with God’s plan for marriage.
Maintaining a law that says gays cannot marry, means they will live together anyway, and essentially do all the things they would do if married, except that they would not receive the governmental and financial benefits a straight couple would receive. In short, we are not keeping people from being gay by disallowing them to marry; we are instead discriminating against them and segregating them. How is that in accordance with God’s will?
I am not ignoring the issue of the biblical implications. There is simply no avoiding the fact the God is clear; homosexuality is sinful, and indulging in it will lead one away from a right relationship with Him. You cannot find a loophole, or a crack to slip through. The biblical evidence is concrete. And, it is just as clear on what marriage is intended to be.
So then, I must agree that there ought to be no ordained minister of the Christian faith willing to conduct a homosexual marriage ceremony. After all, what is the ceremony all about? Based on the Genesis account, I get the impression it’s about declaring to your intended wife, & before God, that you are making a contract with God to conduct your marriage in whatever way best follows hard after Him.
Okay, so here then, is the important question- in the minds and hearts of those who wish to be legally married in the united states, to another person of the same gender, and who are willing to be married by a court appointed official, and not by a member of the clergy, is there a desire or intention to make a contract with God, and to use his marriage-model to follow and glorify Him? My inclination is to say probably not. That’s a generalization, but if the couple is pursuing a homosexual relationship, it's a safe generalization to say that they are not putting God's glory first in their relationship. In fact, it seems that in the minds of most young couples in America, faith has little or nothing to do with their decision to marry, heterosexually or otherwise.
So if faith, and a desire to chase their God is not a factor in a decision that will inevitably alter the entirety of the rest of their lives (whether they stay married or not), then no wonder they're angry about Christians meddling in their personal affairs.
According to Matthew 22, we ought to give to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar’s. The Sermon on the Mount seems to have nothing whatsoever to say about the tax benefits of marriage, about money, social status, or governmental position. God seems to ignore these things altogether, that is, unless He chooses to use them for His purposes, merely because they are now there, rather than because they are His. And, if a couple chooses to marry based on a love for each other, but not for a love of God, and/or because they desire the financial benefits of a marriage, then it seems to me that what they are intending is completely independent of God's ordained purpose for marriage. In that case, Christian's have as much place telling them how they ought to build their financial portfolios or whether to eat beans or brussel sprouts, as they do how to conduct their marriage.
Regardless, here come the Christians, preaching dubiously about the awful homosexual sinners, making grand statements about calling our senators to take a stand against moral injustice, and righteously fighting to preserve the Christian institution of marriage. All the while, we harbor our own brand of sin, and often show none of Christ's compassion for a people who have to wake up every day and face a world which forces them into a life of 'dirty little secrets' by telling them that they don't measure up to our standards. Whatever happened to compassion? Wasn’t that how Christ showed his love for those people in society who struggled with unpopular issues? You know what? If Christ had come today rather than 2000 years ago, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he chose a homosexual for one of his disciples.
I say, let them marry in any courthouse they choose.
Christian B Zollers
July 9, 2004
Dear Kevin and Joe,
The United States Constitution overrides a state constitution if there is a conflict, and this would especially be so because there are several provisions within the U.S. Constitution that establish protected categories within which gay marriage would be included. Therefore, all state laws banning gay marriage are unconstitutional.
Marriage is either a contract or a religious arrangement. Throughout history, the contract category has been a larger set than the religious category. In either case, however, the constitution requires that gays have the right to marry.
Article I: Section 10: "No state shall ...pass... law impairing the oblitgation of contracts". With marriage in its contract mode, any hinderance to gay marriage would be an impairment of contracts.
In its aspect as a contract, banning gay marriage is impairing the obligations of contract that citizens decide to enter into. Therefore, it is unconstitutional to ban or fail to recognize gay marriages.
Bill of Rights, Article 1. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof" In the religious mode, gay marriage is a belief of some people, so to hinder gay marriage would be a violation of freedom of religion in the above.
If a marriage has a religious aspect, then to ban or refuse to recognize gay marriage would be a violation of the freedom of religion of gays. It would also be an establishment of a particular religious belief, the religious belief that marriage should only be of people of opposite gender. Therefore, any ban or failure to recognize gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Any future federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage would weaken the existing provisions to protect contracts and to provide freedom of religion. Such an amendment would be the beginning of a slippery slope. If one exception is made to protection of contracts and freedom of religion, that would provide a precedent that could spread to failure to protect contracts in other situations, and would provide a precedent for denial of freedom of religion in other situations.
There is a general, nonconstitutional aspect of this which is especially important. The United States has been strongly promoting freedom and human rights throughout the world for many years. This is an important bedrock principle within American foreign policy. The United States uses herself as an example of freedom and protection of human rights. Therefore, the United States must also provide the most freedom and human rights possible to her own citizens, or America will not be setting the good example that is so much a part of U.S., foreign policy. To deny the right to gay marriage would be to fall short of this maximum freedom and human rights that the United States so strongly puts forth in international situations.
On another matter, it would be very helpful to the gay community if it could create an endowed think tank which would gather in from elsewhere and itself create new ideas for the benefit of people in both America and elsewhere. These ideas would not be limited to gay issues, so the gay community would end up with credit for many new ideas beneficial to everyone, which would reduce discrimination against gays.
July 14, 2004
Wouldn't it be interesting if for three to seven days, every person in the country who supports gay marriage rights went on vacation to a country or place that supports gay marriage rights, like Quebec or the Netherlands? The overall effect on the country would be fascinating to watch both socially and economically....
Let "Project Exodus" begin.....
July 23, 2004
Hello! I'm Marina Goltermann, a grad student in NC, who fears for possible anti-gay marriage legislation here. I have designed a graphic I hope you can use to make a point.
Loving member of the rainbow family,
July 30, 2004
If you know Michael Hendricks, see him, email him, however you communicate with him, please give him my very enthusiastic kudos and congratulation for "To dare to say 'I do'". I hope they don't take that lightly.
I read easily 99% of equalmarriage.ca [this web site], the [M]arriage List [an email list], Fenceberry [another email list], 365gay.com, etc. As you know, we keep reading the same arguments from each side (every side?) of debate over and over again, to the point that I've grown numb to a lot of it. But every once in a while an article comes along that expresses my thoughts (important to me, of course), has passion while lacking anger, and I can actually feel in my blood and nerves while I read it. Michael Hendricks' "To dare to say 'I do'" was one of those, and he deserves to know it.