Last week, New York State legalized gay marriage. I don’t know that anyone doubted that it would eventually come to pass, New York being a bastion of liberalism. I confess that I don’t really know how I feel about the new law. But here are some of the things I ponder:
1) Yes, the word “marriage” does have religious meaning for me, so I struggle with pairing “gay” and “marriage”. But even more at the forefront of my dilemma is that the word “marriage” has lost its religious meaning, even for religious people. The divorce rate in this country is astronomical, so I think that unless those who are rallying for “traditional marriage” get their own acts together, the debate over “gay marriage” is a moot point.
2) Just for the record, marriages in the Bible usually involved more than one wife and/or lots of concubines. So the word “traditional marriage” needs to be tempered with “American traditional marriage”. Just saying.
3) The word “marriage” aside, I am totally in favor of a legal way for people to come together to make a public and formal committment to remain together as a family. Whether that’s a heterosexual couple or a gay couple or a grandmother raising her grandchildren or a single mom marrying a great guy who will raise her kids as his own, it all involves some sort of legal arrangement. Call it marriage, call it civil union, whatever. Family takes many different forms in our country, but at the core is a commitment to take responsibility for the care, love and concern for another person, for better or worse. So to have a way to formalize those family units makes sense. That, of course, brings up the issue of polygamy. So again, this is just stuff I ponder.
4) I know that there is a lot of talk today about “evil” in relation to gay marriage supporters. I can only speak for myself, but I haven’t ever met someone who is gay who is evil. I’ve met some gay people I don’t particularly like, but it has nothing to do with them being gay. They’re just jerks. And the same goes for heterosexual people. Even if you disagree with gay marriage, or find the behavior of being gay “evil” or unbiblical, you have to remember that people who are gay are also neighbors and coworkers and family members and friends. In the same way that I want people to judge me on ME, not the label “Christian”, judge people who are gay based on the person they are.
5) I’m not a fan of parades in which people walk around in their underwear kissing their spouse, whether that spouse is the same or different sex, or displaying flagrant debauchery. The reason that much of America struggles with gay marriage is that the extreme end of the spectrum makes the news. The same way extreme Christians make the news. If people took time to get to know their neighbors and have a deep, meaningful friendship with at least one person who is gay, it would revolutionize the way we talk to each other. We might never agree, but the discussion would be much more loving.
I think that’s it. I don’t have the answers – I don’t even have any answers. But I’m sure that, as usual, I’ll get hate mail from both Christians and gays.
In the realm of things to worry about, gay marriage doesn’t seem to me to be the biggest or most important issue. We’ve got children starving, being used as sex slaves, or forced into being child soldiers. If we spent half as much time caring for those problems the world would be a better place. I think if Jesus were here, he’d be talking more about how much God loves people and how he sent his son to die for them.