My Gift to Mark and Greg (for what it's worth)
I'm not a brave person. I know right from wrong, and I do my best to live up to that standard. But if it comes to making a public declaration, I'm often silent. I don't really know why - maybe I'm afraid of disappointing a friend. This blog not withstanding, I'm reluctant to give my opinion on many important issues. (And even on the blog, I usually bend over backward to ensure that both sides of the story are presented). Now, it's time for me to walk to the edge, peer over the side, and jump.
There is no reason, other than prejudice, fear, and ignorance, to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Don't talk to me about the "historical" definition of marriage. Don't talk to me about Biblical imperatives. Don't talk to me about "slippery slopes". Those are all hollow arguments and they are easily exposed. What has constituted a marriage has changed over the eons many, many times. Heck, the Christian Bible doesn't have a single definition itself.
"But, Hugh", you say, "If we allow same-sex marriage, we'll have to allow for polygamists, pedophiles, and folks involved in incestuous relationships to get married." No, no, and no. Polygamists make the choice to involve themselves in that type of relationship, and homosexuals do not - at least in terms of the sex of the person they are attracted to. (We bring you this parenthetical announcement to state: "C'mon people, do you really still think that somebody 'chooses' to be homosexual or lesbian? I know I never chose to be heterosexual: I just always liked girls/women in 'that way'. If you still feel, in your heart of hearts, that people choose to be gay, stop reading now. Just remember that denial is not just a river in Egypt.") Pedophilia is morally reprehensible and justifiably illegal. It has nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with exploiting the less powerful. With incest, there exist compelling health issues which allows the state to legally ban the practice. Also, none of those situations center around two adults, both on an equal footing, consenting to the relationship.
In every state where it has not yet been legalized, there is a group of people who are being denied a basic right that others are able to take for granted. That is unconstitutional. This doesn't mean you have to like it: It's okay to think it's "icky" if you want to. But that's not a reason to legally codify discrimination. As I said above, there is no compelling reason, other than those based on prejudice, fear, and ignorance, to deny the right of marriage to two consenting adults.
If nothing else, let me leave you with this. My former church, Hammond Street Congregational Church, called an openly gay pastor about ten years ago. I supported this, but I remember thinking at the time: "I hope this means we won't become 'the gay church'" Well, to a certain degree, we did. A number of gays and lesbians (many in committed relationships), began attending. And I began to hear stories of being ostracized and denied by former churches and family members. Stories of searching for a place where they could be loved and accepted for who they were. Being a part of a place that would do that, I found I didn't care about being the 'gay' church. Though I'd always been an ally, it wasn't until these folks put a human face on it, that I understood how utterly unfair (and illegal), the denial of the basic right of marriage was.
I met Greg and Mark at Hammond Street Church years ago. I want to thank them for their part in my evolution. They are getting married on Sunday. I wish I could be there to help them celebrate, for I know there will be much love in that building. Congratulations you two. It has been a long road, but I know the reward will be sweet.