The Whole Gay Marriage Thing
Jason’s post has brought up a number of issues which I believe deserve more attention. But since I can only take on one topic at time, I thought I’d start with what I like to call “the whole gay marriage thing.”
Growing up in the church, I have had the principles of tolerance and love for my fellow man drilled into me by countless Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. To abandon this when faced with the issue of gay marriage is, needless to say, difficult. Now I know you’re probably itching to use that old Mormon anthem, “hate the sin, but love the sinner”—an anthem that, though cliché, I agree with. But here’s the problem. We also believe that people are only held accountable when they sin with knowledge—i.e., when they know something is wrong, but they do it anyway. Assuming that the knowledge that being gay (and by that, I mean acting on homosexual tendencies, not just having them) is wrong is not innate, then most gay people are not sinning. With this in mind, it’s hard for me to support making life harder on people who are just living the best they know how, and who desire to enter into committed, socially accountable relationships.
I know the answer is, of course, that if we let this happen we are opening the doors to the disintegration of the family. That if we allow this to happen, the alternative lifestyle will be presented in tomorrow’s textbooks as just that—an acceptable alternative. I also know that this will make adoption by gay couples easier, bringing children into single gender homes and affecting them in a way we can’t predict (or maybe we can predict it by looking at single parent homes).
But, I also know that the gay lifestyle is already fairly acceptable. That gay people already adopt kids. And that the gay family is quickly becoming the alternative to the traditional American family. So my concern is that if we, as churches and religious people, fight against them and try to deny them the rights that they feel they deserve, we will alienate them. We will squash the faith out of the many that have it, and they in turn will squash the faith of the children they adopt, leading again, to the disintegration of the family.
I work for a gay man. He’s a fantastic person. He works hard, is faithful to his boyfriend, and is kind to those around him. His boyfriend is a full-time volunteer. He participates in Big Brother and a number of other wonderful organizations. He does more service than I do by far. How do I look this man in the eyes and tell him that I don’t want him to have the same security, the same rights and privileges, the same public recognition of his relationship that Chris and I enjoy?
Despite all these thoughts, I still feel like the Lord, who knows a lot more than me, does not approve of gay marriage. I support that. I guess I just wrote this to encourage us all to be more thoughtful on this issue, to treat those involved more tenderly and respectfully. And to acknowledge that, dang it, this is hard stuff.