Saying No to Gay Marriage

The third and final installment of the What We Really Need Now is No” series.

I voted yes on California’s Proposition 8, and I’m sick of hearing that this somehow means that I’m an ignorant, bigoted hatemonger. I’m saddened that people assume that because I supported Prop 8, I hate or fear gay people, that somehow I want them to live without the rights that I enjoy.

My opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with rights. I’m fine with gay couples receiving all the basic civil rights anyone else is guaranteed in this country.

No, I’m opposed to gay marriage because, well, because I think that it is a moral distortion and I cannot support it being affirmed as equally sacred as heterosexual marriage. I realize that “marriage” has taken a beating in our culture with divorce, infidelity, Britney Spears, etc… But marriage is still a sacrament that has throughout time been a religious rite of symbolizing the sacred merging of male and female. It is a slap in the face to orthodox views of morality to equate male-male, female-female with the traditional male-female union. I’m fine with gay couples getting civil unions, having the state recognize their commitment, etc. But I can’t bring myself to endorse church-sanctioned, “just like any other couple” gay marriage. It all comes down to the fact that I cannot affirm homosexuality as a right or pure expression of human sexuality.

Of course, this is the real heart of the matter for gay activists—the thing that has them screaming outside churches, harassing nuns, and sending white powdery substances in envelopes to the Mormon Church. They’re rebelling against the fact that there are people—52% of Californians, as it is—who do not affirm their lifestyle, at least in part. They are seething with anger not necessarily because any rights have been revoked, but because they perceive an attack and condemnation of their very existence in the passage of “Prop H8.”

Speaking for myself here, my vote for Prop 8 was not an attack on anything or anyone, and it certainly was no exercise in hate. I lament that it is perceived as such. It especially pains me when my gay friends perceive it as such. But I hope they understand where I’m coming from.

My support for Prop 8 was an affirmation of a principle I hold dear and will never apologize for: that wrong should never be called right, regardless of the sincerity or well-meaning of its practitioners.

Here will come the inevitable arguments that homosexuality is not a sin or is not wrong. You are welcome to think this, of course. But my moral system, as informed by orthodox Christian interpretations of Biblical teachings (as well as, frankly, my soul’s intuition), deems it as such—a sin—no more and no less than illicit heterosexual improprieties or pride or greed or gluttony are sins.

Is it not right to say no to the things one’s religion says is wrong? Would I not be making a mockery of my faith if I were to say, “well, because so many people are so sincerely and emotionally arguing that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle, I guess it can’t be wrong after all?” I wonder what the abolitionists would have to say about that type of reasoning? And yes, I did just go there.

Here’s the bottom line: it pains me to write something that sounds like a condemnation. But it’s not a condemnation. It’s an affirmation. In saying “no” to gay marriage I am really just saying yes to the moral system of restraint, discipline and piety that I believe is God’s best plan for humanity. I struggle with it in my own life, to be sure. It’s not easy. I’m no saint. I’m a child of the screwed up, fallen world as much as the next guy, as much as my gay neighbor or racist landlady. We are all unfortunately slogging through identities that have been marred and twisted and disordered by forces and circumstances often out of our control. But as much as it isn’t our fault that we have wrongheaded desires and unconscious impulses toward the wrong, we must nevertheless answer for them.

This may seem unjust, and yes, from our human perspective it sort of is. I can totally sympathize with feeling the dissonance between something that feels right or natural but that we are told is sinful or wrong. I understand and grieve with those who, because of abuse or damage done to them in their childhood, suffer from psychological issues today that they in no way chose or seek out. It is true that our environment, and often our parents or elders, screw us up. But that doesn’t mean that immorality is excused. It doesn’t mean that our damaged psyches can be normalized and accepted rather than redeemed. But they can be redeemed, thank God; but only when we deny that they define us. We must first orient ourselves upward, outward, and say no to our inward, narcissistic pull.

When I say no to gay marriage, I’m saying no to things in my own life, too. It’s an act of solidarity—this struggle to deny one’s self in service of a higher truth. But we’re all in it together. And I’ll let that be the last word.


41 responses to “Saying No to Gay Marriage

  1. If marriage is a “sacrament”, then why should the government have any say on the subject whatsoever? Pro or con, I mean.

    When it comes to same-sex marriage, I tend to take the same view that C.S. Lewis took of the liberalized divorce laws in his day:

    “My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to lead Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

    Of course, matters are complicated because some churches actively endorse same-sex marriage, whereas others do not. But I really don’t think any church should be using secular law to enforce its standards against other churches.

  2. You have a right to stand up for what YOU believe in. I applaud that rationale. I’m sick of the p.c. crowd assuming that anyone who doesn’t agree with their line of thinking is a racist, bigot, hater, etc. It’s not that simple. People – you, me, everyone – have a right to believe whatever they want to believe based on their own moral principles.

  3. I agree with C.S. Lewis (as cited above)— I am, in fact, against all state-sanctioned marriage, because I believe that at the heart of the gay-marriage issue is the simple problem that two distinctly different institutions are referred to with the same word: ‘marriage.’ In my opinion, ‘marriage’ ought to be the thing that you get at your church, mosque, synagogue, temple, et al., sanctified by your god and by your faith system; the legal contract, signed by two witnesses and officiated by an appointee of the state should not be and never should have been called ‘marriage.’ Civil unions for everyone, hetero- and homosexual alike.

    My understanding of the legal situation is this: As it stands, a state-sanctioned marriage is, as I said, a legal contract between two people, recognized by the government. As such it is unconstitutional for the state to refuse entry into such a contract (bestowing hospital visitation rights, the ability to file taxes jointly, passage of property, et al.) based solely on that person’s sex. Arguments that an identical contract can exist for people of the same sex to enter into (‘civil unions’) are arguments for ‘separate but equal’ laws, which is never a good idea and certainly not constitutionally justified, if only for the reason that when marriage law changes minutely, civil union law is not automatically guaranteed to change in that same way.

    Brett, you and opponents of Prop 8 have every right to desire that ‘marriage’ remain a sacrament, a sacred institution in which God mysteriously knits together two souls. But please do not confuse religious marriage with civil marriage simply because the two use the same word— they’re entirely different concepts, and attempting to map one onto the other is to attempt to legislate one’s own moral understanding which, as you indicated earlier, includes the notion that greed, pride, and gluttony are wrong— things that ought not to be legislated.

    Homosexuals deserve all the rights that heterosexuals have, and one of those rights is the ability to enter into a specific legal contract. This is how our government functions. For lack of a better term, I am in favor of abolishing civil marriage and remaking it into ‘civil unions’ for everyone, hetero- and homosexual; and I don’t think this is revolutionary, but merely a better reflection of the reality that already exists in which two distinct, separate notions are often confused with one another because identical language is used to refer to both.

  4. I just happened to stumble upon you site and read your third installment of “What We Really Need Now is No” trilogy of posts. While I appreciate your honesty and approach to the Prop 8 debate there are a few things that have been over looked.
    I appreciate the fact that you support gay rights but it is in my belief that marriage is a right for all and not just a sanctioned item for those who are part of a church. When you said that you voted yes for Prop 8 because “[you] think that it is a moral distortion and [you] cannot support it being affirmed as equally sacred as heterosexual marriage” you’ve stumbled onto the larger message that gays are sending with our protests. This isn’t just about gay marriage and gay rights…it’s about equality. When you cast your vote yes you said that we were not equal. More importantly, you said we weren’t equal in the eyes of our own government. You’ve injected your own personal morality onto others.
    While your vote yes as you said [was not an attack on anything or anyone, and it certainly was no exercise in hate] it was still an act to define and classify who we are as people. You are trying to tell me how I and many others should live our lives according to someone else’s moral compass.
    I would also like to say that in regards to voting yes for moral restraint in our society, I find it rather intriguing that you find it necessary to tell me how I should morally restrain myself. If you would like to restrain yourself morally I have no problems with that but for you to tell me how to morally restrain myself is a whole different ballgame. I am a young college graduate who works hard to pay his bills, donates to charity etc., and if I want to be with a man then so be it. Who are you to tell me your morality is better than my morality?
    Finally in your second to last paragraph if you’re implying that homosexuality is due to the environment one is raised in that is a bold generalization that isn’t correct. While I do feel the environment can play a part in who we are today, I believe that our sexuality lies in our genes. Sexuality isn’t a neat little package that can just be explained away by the environment we are raised in. It is much more complex than that.
    I didn’t write this response to bash you or sway you from your stances in life. I just wanted to give a little perspective to take into consideration.

  5. I do agree with Peter and Tim (and Lewis) about how there really should not be government interference in marriage, which should be up to the churches. But given the fact that the government IS involved in marriage and it is a civil, not just religious act, I therefore have no choice but to parlay my religious argument against gay marriage into a civil one (in the sense of voting against Prop 8). But yeah, I’d much prefer that the government stay out of marriage in the first place.
    Of course, then there is the matter of churches that openly and aggressively support gay marriage (I attended one this weekend)… and that is really who I have the biggest problem with.

  6. Great post Brett, as usual.

    Huh, I disagree with Tim. That never happens..

    “Homosexuals deserve all the rights that heterosexuals have.” They have them. What “right” don’t they have that heterosexuals do have? What homosexuals want is a special distinction that has no historical, moral, biological, or ethical precendent.

    The reason that I am against homosexual marriage (and would have voted for Prop 8 if I lived in California) is this:

    “We believe the California supreme court greatly overstepped its bounds. Their decision did more than legalize same-sex marriage. The Court declared that requiring spouses to be of the opposite sex counts as discrimination. Religious groups that act on the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman are henceforth engaged in unlawful discrimination.”
    (Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse quoted)

    This is not equality. This is forcing the government to enforce discrimination laws against religious institutions who do not morally agree with homosexual unions. Marriage is not a “right” it is a relationship between a man and a woman. Every child has a right to have a normal relationship with both her father and her mother and this is not possible in a homosexual marriage.

    All of this is simply semantics however. The bottom line is that the people have spoken (twice), loudly and clearly. Instead of simply accepting that Californians do not accept or endorse homosexual marriage, the homosexual movement feels that it is okay to bring McCarthyism back to California. They are now strong-arming and black-listing anyone who expressed support for Prop 8 and people are being put out of business for voting their conscience. This is the face of “tolerance”? It’s hypocritical and unethical and if there is another vote tomorrow, I bet that the measure would be passed even more resoundingly than the last time.

  7. What “right” don’t they have that heterosexuals do have?

    As I said, the issue is that the government is currently not allowing particular individuals to enter into a legal contract on no basis other than their sex, which is unconstitutional.

    Luke, the rest of your comment seems to indicate that you didn’t read what I wrote, in which I attempted to explain the distinction between religious marriage and civil marriage— a ‘relationship between a man and a woman’ is of no interest to the state. What you’re talking about is religious marriage, which is not under discussion as relates to Prop 8 specifically or the legalization of gay marriage in general. Please understand that there are two entirely separate and distinct institutions that are both referred to with the word ‘marriage’; your insistence on the issue indicates that you are confusing the two with one another.

  8. Hi, I’m writing this because you seem like a genuinely nice person, but I think you have some misconceptions about homosexuality. I can tell you from personal experience that being gay is not “because of abuse or damage done [in] childhood”. I was raised a good Catholic, and I fought for years against my orientation, but it just didn’t work. Look at any scientific research and you will see that homosexuality is biological, and found in many other species. I would agree that people who are attracted to both sexes, to whatever degree, have some choice in how to live their lives, but for others there is none. If you have children, please keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how you raise them, they could still be gay. It’s not just another desire you can control like wanting to eat a lot or be lazy, it’s the complete lack of physical attraction to the opposite sex. People who fight it with all their heart often end up killing themselves, because it’s impossible to change, for almost everyone.
    It’s good that you believe in your own moral code and that works for you, but “Christianity” is not a single belief system. I know many Christians who believe, as I do, that Jesus cared more about compassion and understanding than in adhering to a strict moral code. If you can respect people who have different beliefs, then you should not use your voice in the government to make moral rules for everyone else. The Supreme Court was not overstepping their authority, they were recognizing the fact that we don’t live in a theocracy. Churches cannot be forced to marry anyone, so please leave that out of the argument. This is about civil marriage, and using your religious beliefs to limit it is literally intolerance.
    There are religious people who support gay marriage not because they’re afraid of not looking “PC”, but because they believe in allowing people to express their beliefs equally under the law. When gay marriage becomes legal, and it is obviously only a matter of time, I hope you will have already come to the realization that having compassion is more important, and more productive, than being judgmental.

  9. Regardless of your views on the religious or spiritual merits of homosexuality, you have no right to deny others their inalienable rights to pursue life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Even though you try to dismiss homosexuality as a mere sin or identity, and try to back that up with biblical or intuitive insights, I can’t help but wonder if you are against gay marriage due to the prejudice inherent in your social upbringing and ideological stance. I don’t think you are a hate-monger, but you are depriving gays and lesbians with the same respect and civic responsibilities afforded to heterosexuals through the term/institution of marriage. If gays and lesbians can have the same benefits as heterosexuals in the form of domestic partnerships or civil unions, why do they need to call their unions by a different name? If it was the same then why not call it marriage? Anyways, I don’t think you are being entirely honest with yourself about this subject. In order for you to understand fully what’s it’s like to be gay, you would need to be gay. However, you are heterosexual and thus will never understand that being gay is not just a sinful compulsion, learned bad habit, or psychological disorder. However, being gay is something that is determined by biological and genetic causes that are related to polygenic traits, similar to other complex behavioral patterns/traits. There is no room for our civic institutions to be defined and determined by religious notions, because this causes the lack of religious freedom, a lack of separation between church and state, and an intolerant denial of equality to a category of citizens that do not cause any harm to anyone else. They don’t deserve to be treated as criminals, mentally ill, or diseased. Gay people are just a natural biological expression of humanity and thus should not be treated any less than heterosexuals. Please try to read some more on the subject through scientific studies and investigations on the issue. That way you will gain greater awareness of the empirical evidence of homosexuality throughout almost every other species on Earth. Why would humans be so different?

  10. Tim
    Let’s cease all the semantics about legal contracts! ANY TWO individuals have the right to legally formulate a PARTNERSHIP – what homosexuals want is ‘marriage’. God defined this institution as being between a MAN and a WOMAN (we can skip any arguments concerning those who ‘change’ gender). When the Apostle Paul wrote: “…. in the last days perilous times shall come ….” ( 2 Timothy 3), he was most likely speaking of OUR day. Just look at the way the most blessed of all nations (yes, I mean the USA) is falling apart at the seams morality-wise. The Creator of ALL (not just ‘church’ people) decreed the law on marriage – and that law applies to ALL. People are free to form whatever ‘partnerships’ they desire (as long as they do not impinge on the rights of others) – why do homosexuals insist on marriage (they could so easily CONSIDER themselves ‘married’)? The bottom line is that you cannot be BOTH a Christian and a homosexual (I say this because homosexuals even press for ‘churches’ to change their rules – they have every right to form their OWN ‘churches’). As an aside, I am becoming weary of the term ‘homophobic’ – I do not FEAR homosexuals, and I do not SHUN them – however, I cannot condone their sins (or my own, for that matter).
    All I can say about your last three posts is: AMEN!

  11. Keith—

    What homosexuals want is to be considered the same as heterosexuals in the eyes of the state, which is their constitutional right. This right is being denied them, and Pauline epistles have nothing to do with it. Homosexuals insist on legal marriage because this is a right afforded heterosexuals and not homosexuals, which violates the Constitution of these United States. I’m not sure why this is unclear.

    And finally, regarding your statement that ‘you cannot be BOTH a Christian and a homosexual,’ I’d simply like to point out how unchristian this notion is— even if we agreed that homosexuality is sinful, you seem to be advocating that Christians not be allowed to be sinful. Try this: ‘You cannot be BOTH a Christian and greedy’; ‘You cannot be BOTH a Christian and a liar’; ‘You cannot be BOTH a Christian and harbor pride or envy or wrath.’

  12. Thanks for speaking out on this, Brett. I appreciate it.

  13. It seems like the problem here is that the government has co-opted religious terminology for secular concerns. It is pretty insulting to gays to tell them that in the government’s eyes their union is not equal or equivalent by using different language. I don’t particularly have a problem with the rights conferred by civil unions for gays, but I do have a huge problem with the language. As Peter pointed out, the government shouldn’t really have anything to do with a religious act.

    So why not change all the language, from a government perspective, to a civil union, or some other neutral term? Brett, you may not be ok with gay marriage, but not everyone does. If a church finds its conscience clear in marrying gays, they should be allowed to. However, there is clear precedent for religious leaders to refuse to marry couples if they find the relationship unfit. As far as I know, no one’s ever sued a church for that, and I don’t really think that’d be a problem if the government equalized the language.

    Finally, Luke, it seems like Dr. Morse is mistaken in her reading of the Court’s judgement for much the same reasons as I outlined above. A marriage performed in a church is a private, religious act, which government should not be allowed to interfere in, true. But the signing of the marriage certificate is a public, legal act which the government has every right to be involved in and ensure equality.

  14. Tim
    More semantics – a little disappointing coming from you. Maybe I should have used the peculiar phrase: You can’t have your cake and eat it. I expected you to realise that I was really saying: You cannot be BOTH an unrepentant sinner and a Christian. We ALL sin, but true Christians repent of their sins – repentance is one of the greatest teachings of the Saviour, but He did once say: “Go thy way and sin no more”, so a repentant homosexual, if Christian, knows exactly what to do. Please bear in mind that the original punishment for adultery AND homosexuality was death by stoning – even in the New Testament, Paul uses the phrase “worthy of death”. Of course, in our ‘enlightened’ day (I think ‘endarkened’ would be more apt), BOTH ‘sins’ are no longer considered as such (try reading 2 Timothy 3 – Paul captures perfectly what is happening TODAY). Again I ask, why do they insist on ‘marriage’? Whatever they claim about being ‘born that way’, couldn’t rapists, paedophiles, sadists, serial killers, …. make a similar claim? Sorry, I’ve just realised that I am also drifting into semantics – all I am really trying to say is that unrepentant sinners (of ANY ilk) cannot consider themselves to be true Christians. It’s also worth a mention that our CIVIL laws are based on the Ten Commandments – how ironic!

  15. Keith—

    You aren’t going to derail this discussion, which is about civil law, not religious dogma. As I already said, it really doesn’t matter to this conversation what the Bible says, because religious marriage and civil marriage are entirely separate institutions (as Chris says). American law does not and should not exactly mirror biblical law, so arguments about what Paul says are moot and have no place in this conversation.

  16. Tim
    The ONLY definition of marriage of which I am aware is the one that GOD gave us – BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN!!! Any other definition is TOTAL SEMANTICS – I am not trying to derail anything. As I have already stated, civil laws have their basis in the Ten Commandments – can I assume that you disagree with this? Are you also suggesting that ‘Christians’ disregard anything that the Bible has to say on this ‘conversation’? “In God we trust” – as long as we can ‘sin’ and be conscience-free according to ‘civil law’. By the way, might not heterosexuals be rather offended in being described as ‘the same as homosexuals’?

  17. first, thank you brett for reviewing ‘milk’ and for giving it a favorable review. second, thank you for encouraging this dialog regarding same- sex marriage. the other posts are theoretical; mine is practical. i speak from the perspective of a man (and fellow UCLA alum) who was a domestic partner for 3.5 years prior to marrying my husband on 6.17.08, becoming one of the first official same-sex couples in california. having experienced the difference in treatment (for the better) since we got married, we have become advocates for same-sex marriage. if you are willing to challenge yourself and meet a real live married male couple, leave a post on this thread letting me know. and for the record for anyone reading regarding prop 8.:
    1. it has no impact whatsoever on school curriculums. by law, school boards decide what to teach and parents have final say over what their child is exposed to in school.
    2. no church’s tax exemptions were threatened if it failed. by law, churches have the right to decide who they want to marry.

  18. Keith—

    The Ten Commandments say nothing about marriage, and civil law says nothing about idolatry. It seems fairly obvious to me that you cannot draw a one-to-one correlation between biblical law and U.S. law— there’s nothing on the books about the eating of shellfish, how to deal with women on their period, how to build a tabernacle, or putting to death rebellious children. Likewise, there’s very little in my copy of the Bible about making a right turn on a red light, how many fire exits a business requires, or which drugs are illegal. Our nation’s law’s basis in biblical law is debatable, but that does not in any way suggest that you can learn about the legality of something by reading your Bible, or vice-versa.

    You say that you are unaware of any definition of marriage other than that which God gave us— that’s a shame, because it isn’t the definition which the United States government uses, which you can find in any legal dictionary: for example, The legal union of two people. Once a couple is married, their rights and responsibilities toward one another concerning property and support are defined by the laws of the state in which they live. A marriage can only be terminated by a court granting a divorce or annulment. (from Civil marriage is distinct and separate from religious marriage, as I’ve already said several times: Civil marriage involves legal rights and responsibilities, and does not invoke God or spirit or morality. Religious marriage does not care about filing taxes jointly.

    As an addendum, I’m curious to see how a ‘biblical’ definition of marriage doesn’t include the possibility of polygamy.

  19. Oh, and P.S.

    You said: By the way, might not heterosexuals be rather offended in being described as ‘the same as homosexuals’?

    If they are, then they’re pretty awful people, because they think that homosexuals are somehow worse than they are. I’m sure that there are white people who are offended in being described as ‘the same as black people,’ but that merely speaks very loudly re: the character of those people. Frankly I find this very question borderline offensive.

  20. Tim
    Your response could virtually be called a treatise on semantics – it is, and always has been, glaringly obvious that marriage is between a man and a woman – at the time the Constitution was penned, they would not have considered how perverse their ‘blessed’ nation (along with others of the ‘civilised’ West) would become. In the same way that the homosexual community has hi-jacked words like ‘gay’ and ‘hero’, they are now trying to do the same thing with ‘marriage’ – and you are championing their cause! Would you consider me to be an ‘awful person’ if I objected to being regarded as ‘the same as’ a sadist? Furthermore, until quite recently, homosexuality and adultery were ILLEGAL – would you consider that EVERYONE was ‘awful’ until ‘enlightened’ people changed the law? If people choose to be homosexual (or adulterous), then I guess that they have the right (nowadays) to be so – but PLEASE don’t deny ME the choice of NOT being considered ‘the same as them’. Perhaps I should have said that our ‘civil laws’ WERE based upon the Ten Commandments (together with many of the sundry laws given to Moses) – we now seem to be more ‘liberal’ with regard to ‘sinful’ behaviour (of ALL types – not just homosexuality). By the way. MIGHT you not be ‘offended’ if I were to say that YOU are ‘the same as’ ME? As an addendum, how many wives did Abraham have – or Jacob (Israel) – or David – or Solomon? Oh, before I forget, I DID NOT say that homosexuals are WORSE than me – it seems that you inferred otherwise.

  21. Keith,

    I’m not sure why you think that ‘semantics’ is pejorative. In questions of legality, semantics are highly important. Semantics is basically the entire reason for the existence of the judicial branch of the federal government— to interpret the law.

    Regarding this: Furthermore, until quite recently, homosexuality and adultery were ILLEGAL, I’d like to point out that also until fairly recently interracial marriage was illegal, women and blacks were not allowed to vote, blacks were legally considered 3/5 of a person, and slavery was legal. Argument from historicity is no argument at all.

    Your concern about the term ‘marriage’ and its historical definition is why I made my original statement way up there near the top of this page— where I noted that there is a confusion between two different and distinct institutions, and that I am all in favor of removing the word ‘marriage’ from the law altogether, both for hetero- and homosexuals. In my opinion, this usage of one term for two things leads to confusion and consternation, the sort which you are expressing here. Honestly, as a Christian, you should feel offended not that homosexuals wish to participate in civil marriage, but that civil marriage exists at all, insofar as it co-opts the language of the church. This is one of many reasons that I feel, as stated, that the proper solution to the current problem is renaming civil marriage something benign such as ‘civil union,’ and allowing ‘marriage’ to continue to refer to whatever spiritual union differing religious bodies wish.

    I have no idea why you think I would be offended if you were to say that I am the same as you. Obviously we are all the same in God’s eyes, and ideally we should all be the same in the eyes of the state as well. Unfortunately the latter is not currently the case.

  22. Tim
    “Argument from history is no argument at all” – I was always taught that, to ignore history is to repeat it (referring to the ‘bad’ things thereof). I also thought that we are EQUAL in God’s eyes, which does not mean ‘the same’ – I just thought that I might try some semantics of my own! There IS no confusion between ‘the two things’, because there is only ONE ‘thing’ – but lawyers throughout history have ALWAYS found loopholes – now even with the word ‘marriage’. Obviously, lawyers have no common sense – hence their semantics over the lack of the words ‘between a man and a woman’. For around six thousand years, mankind has used the word ‘marriage’, KNOWING it means ‘between a man and a woman’. As I said before, this is an attempt to hi-jack the word – or, as you suggest, eliminate it. Humanists would rejoice at such ‘success’ – to be finally rid of that PROPER union that God initiated! These must surely be the ‘last days’. The only thing that ‘offends’ me in this interchange is that ‘as a Christian’ you would be rid of civil marriage – surely atheists who wish to be married (as per common sense meaning) would then have no other choice than to just ‘shack up’ together. Church marriage or civil marriage – it’s still marriage. However, I do agree with you that, in the view of a Christian, ‘proper’ marriage takes place in Church (but it seems that some clergy would still ‘unite’ homosexuals, including themselves!) – so just call any OTHER type a civil union, but don’t steal/eliminate the word ‘marriage’. To conclude, I think we should be using the word ‘equal’ rather than ‘the same’ – in which case you are quite correct that homosexuals are not equal. I just feel that they already have ‘more than enough’ – after all, when have you ever seen, or heard of, an adulterers parade? Sinful behaviour should never be flaunted in public as though it is something to be admired – I can never bring myself ‘accept’ such a way of life. If people wish to ‘do it’, I’ll accept it as their ‘right’ (as under ‘modern’ laws), but surely it does not have to be so ‘in your face’. By the way, I said “MIGHT you not be offended …” .

  23. There IS no confusion between ‘the two things’, because there is only ONE ‘thing’

    This is exactly the confusion that I’m talking about. Civil marriage is not the same thing as religious marriage. They are entirely separate. This is why you can have as many wedding ceremonies as you like, but the state only cares about it when you sign a marriage license with two witnesses and a state-sanctioned officiant. Please see the C.S. Lewis quote offered by petertchattaway way up there at the top of this thread.

  24. Tim
    We’ll have to amicably ‘agree to disagree’ – neither will convince the other. I’ll just ask two questions:
    1. Is the Bible the word of God?
    2. Are homosexuality and adultery sinful behaviours?
    Just in case you are wondering, I link these two ‘sins’ because they are sexual sins. Also, I believe that C.S. Lewis STILL meant ‘between a man and a woman’.

  25. Keith,
    I agree, I don’t think this conversation is going anywhere. However, in response to your two questions, I have to say that in the context of this discussion, neither is relevant, because we aren’t discussing Christian morality, but U.S. law. And as far as discussions of U.S. law are concerned, the Constitution matters, and the Bible does not.

  26. Wake up you cretin! There are 1300 plus civil rights which are attached to the word “maarriage”. If “marriage” is sacred, keep your church rights out of the secular world! That’s the point: if you call it marriage secularily it removes the sacredness. Get it?

  27. Tim
    Thanks for not resorting to insults (did you notice that ‘beyourownstory’?). It’s always civil to have opposing views without having to ridicule one another. As I am not an American, could you tell me where the slogan “In God we trust” originated?
    To beyourownstory: I always assume that people who use ‘handles’ are either afraid or have something to hide – am I close?

  28. Keith—

    ‘In God we trust’ dates back to the Civil War, during which increased religious fervor prompted many citizens to pen letters to their congressmen petitioning them to recognize the country’s penchant for religion in some form on its coins. (At the time, U.S. currency was in upheaval because of the war— for only the 2nd time in U.S. history, paper money wasn’t representative of a specific bunch of gold or silver). The motto’s use on U.S. money has had many opponents, including Teddy Roosevelt, who said, ‘My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege… it seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements.’

    ‘In God we trust’ was adopted as the country’s official motto in 1956, two years after ‘under God’ was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. Both are widely considered to be politically driven, i.e. to unify Americans against the ‘godless communists’ of the Soviet Union.

  29. Tim
    Thank you for taking the time to improve my knowledge of history – as you can imagine, we are taught very little about American history in Britain (although I now reside in New Zealand – wonderful country). Have a great Christmas season.

  30. It is fair to say that not all support of prop 8 came from “hate.” I would say the lion’s share came from ignorance.

  31. I think this article is brilliant and really explains what “traditional” marriage really is, if you want to take it literally.

  32. “I voted yes on California’s Proposition 8, and I’m sick of hearing that this somehow means that I’m an ignorant, bigoted hatemonger.”

    Well, get used to it, because you are. And the proof is right here:

    “They’re rebelling against the fact that there are people—52% of Californians, as it is—who do not affirm their lifestyle, at least in part.”

    If this is what you really believe, then you my man are someone who cannot see the people for the homosexuals. And that is what a bigot is.

    If and when the day ever comes discover an urge to venture a tad beyond your comfortable conceits, talk to some of the devoted, loving, same sex couples who have had their lives together, their hopes and dreams of love and peace, ripped to bloody shreds because the law said they were strangers, and even durable powers of attorney, even reciprocal medical registries, even separate-but-equal civil unions, could not protect them. Nor, if you are honest, were they ever intended to. Their love is not sacred. It is immoral. It is Wrong. You don’t call wrong right. You don’t treat immorality on the same plane as that which is sacred. Not even in an emergency room. Once you have culled the love of same-sex couples out of the realm of the sacred, then it follows as the rising sun that putting a knife into it is surely not a very great evil. More like bad manners. If that. And after all, God doesn’t like what they’re doing.

    So a woman in Florida is kept locked outside the hospital door where the love of her life lay dying, even though they had durable powers of attorney. So same sex couples all across the nation are treated with outright contempt, even in states where civil unions exist. Because you don’t call wrong right. Because their love is not sacred. It is a pale, possible even offensive imitation of the sacred. Why…that’s a kind of blasphemy isn’t it?

    If you really believe that all that motivates gay people in this fight is Approval, then you are simply unable to see the people for the homosexuals. That is what it is to be a bigot. You don’t see the person in front of you, for what your cheap bar stool prejudices are telling you that person is.

    Hip? Yeah. Right. Spitting on the hearts of people in love is so very…hip. You are just repackaging the same heart-stabbing prejudices of the mega-mall cathedrals you claim to disdain. All your fine artists and thinkers and leaders who have shaped you, and none of them could make you understand that whatever evils this poor angry world suffers, too much love isn’t one of them. Let alone that maybe, just maybe, you don’t know the mind of God so perfectly well that you can separate the sacred from the not-sacred for Him.

  33. Pingback: The Story So Far… » Blog Archive » About Right

  34. I don’t think people think you are ignorant or a hater because you voted yes on prop 8. I think they feel this because of these words: “No, I’m opposed to gay marriage because, well, because I think that it is a moral distortion and I cannot support it being affirmed as equally sacred as heterosexual marriage.” If you feel my seperate relationships from yours has less value, how could you possible view me as equal value? Plus, you have no logic/reason to back up your ‘opinion’.

  35. Pingback: Best of the Blog’s First Five Years | The Search

  36. What a perfect time to stumble onto this. Such a cute read.

  37. Hey Brett, I’m an Episcopalian. my church celebrates the sacrament of marriage between same gender couples as a sign of Jesus’ love for the world. Who in the world are you to tell my church what sacraments we can perform? I don’t go into your church and tell y’all to stop worshipping the patriarchy and blaspheming the Holy name of Christ with your hateful lies.

  38. You’re totally a bigot.

  39. Why are Christians against same sex marriage? Or homosexuality in general? Because it’s mentioned a few times in the old testament? What do you say to a person who is a Christian but does all the other things that the Bible prohibits? Why is it just homosexuality that the Bible is REALLY against? Also, if it is so important, don’t you think Jesus would have said a few things about it?

  40. I forgot to say – for instance – why are some Christians, who are against homosexuality and gay rights, wearing tattoos, when the Bible prohibits it? Do you have a tattoo? Do you (or they) argue that “God didn’t really *mean* that part. But he really means it about homosexuality? Isn’t a Christian with a tattoo, who believes homosexuality is wrong, a hypocrite? Here’s a Christian page on the subject:

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