|In Which I Solidify My Position on Gay Marriage
||[Apr. 15th, 2009|03:09 pm]
I grew up in a strongly religious household. I attended church every week. I prayed. I read the Bible. And I believed. I believed that despite the doubts I held that the word of God was absolute and correct, and above question, suspicious or hesitation. If the Bible decreed that a homosexual lifestyle was wrong in the eyes of God, then wrong it was, regardless of how I felt about it.|
I remember having various doubts about Christianity. I didn’t want to believe that good people who happened to not be Christian would be destined for an eternity of damnation, or that we could declare their religion “wrong”. People told me that God works in mysterious ways and that we have no idea what happens to those “non-believers” after death, but I always felt that they were simply trying to assuage m worries.
Yet I rarely questioned further. Blind acceptance, more or less.
Growing up I was a typical homophobic male teen. “Gay” was a regular part of my vocabulary, as an epithet for “shitty”, “bad”, “stupid”, etc. “You’re so gay” or “You’re such a fag” was a regular part of my vocabulary.
I was taught to see gay people as something strange, something different, something immoral and something unnatural. And I followed blindly. My parent’s positions on the topic haven’t changed. While it’s wrong to hate gay people and to be cruel to them, it’s not wrong to expect them to tone down their lifestyle and live a life of celibacy. “We”, as Christians, cannot condone the homosexual lifestyle, and we must hate the sin, not the sinner. While, thankfully, my parents believe that homosexuality is biological and that gay people don’t choose to be gay, they do believe that living a gay lifestyle is a sin and that people must learn to control it. My mother equated it to a mental illness, such as anger management. You have no control over having it, but you must learn to control it. Apparently, just as you can’t go around punching people in anger you also cannot go around fucking people of the same gender. Celibacy or hell, more or less.
I jumped ahead a little there, forgive me.
It all changed when I went to university and met and befriended gay people who were completely out and who were happy and satisfied with who they were. By getting to know them I became aware that gay people were not inherently immoral, their sexually was neither a choice nor a mental handicap and they were some of the kindest, gentlest people I had ever met.
Those of you who have been raised in liberal households and surrounded by open and happy gay people all your lives may see this revelation as being silly. But to me it was an eye opener.
While I still had some remnants of my Christian faith left I tried to reconcile my religious background with my newfound life experiences. Why not allow gay people to have civil ceremonies, I argued. That would give them all the health, tax and insurance benefits without stepping on the toes of the religious establishment by calling it “marriage”.
As my faith slipped away my support of gay rights (and other “left-wing” beliefs such as pro-choice and the absolute separation of church and state) grew.
In the end I’ve come to the conclusion that, frankly, I see no reason why gay marriage should even be an issue. It shouldn’t have to be an issue. It should be so widely accepted and tolerated that there should be no need for protests or marches or conservative pundits discussing the downfall of American morality.
People on all sides of the religious and political sphere can live in harmony. When over half of marriages end in divorce, when crime is rampant, when you have people in awful, abusive marriages and relationships, there is no reason why two people in a loving, committed relationship should not be legally and spiritually joined together, if that’s what they choose.
Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden all allow same-sex marriage. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont in the US allow same-sex marriage. A number of countries, including the UK and Germany allow civil partnerships.
The world is changing. We’re facing a number of horrific issues, such as a volatile and war-torn Middle East, economic threats from China and India, violent threats from Iran and North Korea, and the worst economic recession in many, many years.
Do we really have time, or even the need, to argue about people who just want to love each other? We need love more than ever, and we shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.