Here Comes a Gay Wedding (Part 1)

When I first saw the news on Friday, I knew heads were going to explode. Figuratively speaking. The Technicolor glitter wars that ensued in social media from then and through most of the past 60 some odd hours have been entirely predictable.

Battle lines are drawn between those celebrating this cultural shift, and those decrying it as the saddest day in American history. Between those changing their profile pictures to a rainbow infused portrait and those engaging in Levitical pearl clutching, there were a few consolatory posts trying to reconcile the differences. These were the Christian equivalent of Switzerland refusing to pick a side and hoping to portray reason and temperance through neutrality.

While the Skittles crowd indulged in a victory for gay rights, the conservative (and mostly Christian) critics have been acting in ways that are disheartening even if expected. When I read through these antagonistic opinions, I noticed a common theme. The reasoning behind the opposition to the Supreme Court's decision has a predominantly emotional or religious basis. Legal arguments against gay marriage have been rare.

So much is based in Old Testament scripture describing homosexuality as detestable or an idealization of what God intended. The oft referenced "traditional marriage" (which is rife with logical fallacies) is the standard these conservative voices are trying to protect.

Through this tension, I find myself in step with the Switzerland personalities. I see and understand the evangelical views, but I recognize and value the experiences of my gay friends. However, if you insist I pick a side, then I want to know your perspective. Do you see marriage as a religious institution or a legal institution?

If you believe that marriage is a religious practice, then the government needs to get out of the process. Let the churches decide who can and cannot get married. If a church chooses to officiate a gay wedding, then let that be between them and God. If you don't agree with that church, you are free to attend elsewhere. But if we took this route, those who cling to the notion of traditional marriage would have to forfeit the privileges they have enjoyed in their state sanctioned union: tax deductions, next of kin access, hospital visitation rights, insurance beneficiaries, combined incomes for home loans, and release of medical information. In the event a couple chooses to divorce, it would have to be approved by the church instead of the courts. Once the government is no longer involved with the issuing marriage licenses and recognition of marriage certificates, then they will no longer involve themselves in the dissolution of marriages. That means the church would be the authority in the division of property and custody issues would be frustratingly more complicated.

But if marriage is a legal issue, the arguments about what God wants or intends has no bearing. If we legislate civil matters on religious convictions, we push ourselves closer to a theocracy in violation of the separation of church and state. If marriage is allowed as a matter of legality between a man and a woman, then denying that right to homosexual couples is nothing more than government sponsored discrimination. At this point, we are not defining God's law; we are modifying man's law. This is where we confirm the American ideal that all men and women are created equal and deserve equal rights.

Now let me be clear, I am good with either option. If you want marriage to be strictly religious, fine. Let's do it. But if you want the privileges and protections of a legally recognized marriage, then those rights must be afforded to the gay community. You cannot have it both ways.

For now, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that homosexual marriages are legal in all 50 states. The court's decision will not erase homophobia, much the same way that electing a black president did not eradicate racism. Public opinion is clearly divided and practically irreconcilable.

It is too late to stem the tide of reactionary tweets and facebook rants. If time machines existed in this magical world of ours, I would use it to go back and urge everyone I know to tone down the angry rhetoric. Unfortunately, we can’t undo – or even redo what has all ready been done. People got pissed off, hurtful things were said, and now we are left to figure out where we go from here.

I cannot tell you what to think or feel or even believe. Just the way you cannot impose your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs upon me. I know that opinions are set on gay rights and are as likely to change as hardened concrete. So I do not wish to force anyone to accept or even approve of the actions of the Supreme Court. Instead I only hope to mold how we react going forward. In order to do so, I am going to get biblical. But I will do that tomorrow.


  1. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Well, I am one of the angry ones. It has kind of surprised me how angry I am given that I live in a state where it was already legal and I have long been appalled by Christians getting involved in politics under the guise of doing the Lord’s work. If Christ had wanted the crown he could have taken it. To try to give it to him retroactively by our own might and wisdom is a little presumptuous.
    But at the same time, I don’t think we are called to rejoice at the increase of lawlessness even though we are to expect it. And this ruling was nothing if not lawless. It did not even bother with the pretense of being lawful.
    I am of course frothing at the mouth as I write this. And for this reason I have not commented in writing or to anyone else who has disagreed with me. But for some reason I am giving vent to my feelings with one futile protest on an unread blog at the lawlessness of this age.
    In the first place, your distinction between secular and religious has no basis in reason. That is to say, it is hypocritical and you can’t be defended in a consistent manner. Almost no society other that a Christian society has ever defined marriage as being only between one man and one wife. For most of the world’s history the idea that a man could only have one wife would have been considered an absurd idea. The reason this changed was because people’s religious beliefs changed. Why should the state be able to impose the idea of that marriage only involves two people on people with different religious beliefs? Surly everyone involved is a consenting adult. More to the point, the idea that it should only involve two people is a “religious” idea.
    We might make the same point about prostitution. The idea that it should be illegal is at best a cultural idea. And want makes imposing your own cultural ideas on other people any better or any different then imposing religious ideas on people?
    The hypocrisy of liberals is that they like to impose their moral ideas on others while pretending that their moral ideas fall into a special category because they are not religious. They can make a law that says that horses can’t be killed for food but cows can and pretend that this different from Hindu religious beliefs that cows should not be killed. In the same way, I can be denied an experimental medical procedure for my own good and a teenager can’t even have an aspirin at school without permission from the parents. But somehow to suggest that 13 year old should not have an abortion without her parents or guardians approval is to try to bring about a theocracy.
    But this is only to point out liberal hypocrisy and not to say that allowing gay marriage is in itself lawless. All countries have laws reflecting their customs and beliefs. Those customs and beliefs differ from country to country and they change over time. That does not make them lawless. What does make them lawless is when the law becomes something that a few powerful people can change on a whim to mean whatever they want it to mean.
    To be continued…….

  2. Anonymous7:48 PM

    The Supreme Court was lawless when it decided that gay marriage had to be accepted by the states because that was not what the people who wrote the constitution or the people who voted to approve understood it to mean. In some cases, Supreme Court has been faced with technologies that could not have been foreseen and so had to apple their reasoning skills to apply the general principles to new situations. In other cases, the Supreme Court was simply lawless and changed the plain meaning of the constitution to suit their own whims. This is not the first time that the court has acted in a lawless manner. But the fact that it has done it before does not make it right.
    When Abraham Lincoln campaigned against slavery, he was careful to acknowledge that he had no constitutional authority to end the practice. And he was careful to point that his purposed method of dealing with (to prevent its spread and let it slowly die) was a method approved of by the founding fathers (that is to say, they recognized that federal government could control whether the territories were slave or free under the constitution). And when Lincoln did issue the first order freeing the slaves, he was careful to issue it under his constitutional authority to wage war on an enemy. This is what tackling a moral issue in a lawful way looks like.
    And gay marriage could have been brought about in a lawful way. In Ireland and in a few states it was voted in fair and square. There is nothing in the constitution that prevents that anymore then there is anything in the constitution that prevents the legalization of polygamy or of prostitution. But it would be wrong to say that the constitution requires those things to be legalized. And it is wrong to say the constitution requires that gay marriage be recognized any more then the constitution requires the government to allow boys into the girls bathrooms in public places. The government can discriminate by gender and when they tried to get a constitutional amendment passed to change that it was voted down. That is why only men have to register for the draft.
    To be continued…..