Be warned...This post is slightly controversial and GASP! political.
I thought long and hard about writing this. But ultimately, this is a blog about our family, US - a blog mostly about Cole, of course - but twenty years down the road when he decides to read this blog, I want him to know who his mama was as a person, too, not just as Cole's mom. I want him to know about the things I am passionate about, the things I fight for.
I am pro-same sex marriage.
Obviously, I'm not gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, etc. I don't have any close family members or friends who are. Truly, I think I've only even met two or three gay people in my life. So while this is not a personal issue for me, it's still an issue I am incredibly passionate about. You didn't have to be African-American in the 1950's to stand up for Civil Rights, right?
There's been a lot hot-button same-sex marriage issues in the news lately. Chick-fil-a, Boy Scouts, JC Penney - all have brought a lot of media attention for their pro- or anti- gay stance.
Truly, it saddens me more than anything.
I consider myself a Christian, a loving and understanding person, and I will ALWAYS support homosexual rights in every way possible. The most common argument I hear against gay rights is using Christianity and the Bible as reasons why it should be illegal.
I have read and studied the Bible passages that declare marriage for one man and one woman...however, there are a lot of Bible passages that are taken out of context, or that are meant to be read in the context of historical rules, not necessarily God's word. What do you say about the Bible verse Leviticus 19:27 "You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard." Does that mean we should pass a government law that all men must have beards? (sounds a lot like the Taliban rules) Or the Leviticus 11:8, which instructs all Christians to not eat pork - or, indeed to even touch something of pigskin (such as a football)? Or Leviticus 19:19, which reads: "You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together." So if you wear a mixture of spandex and cotton, does that mean you are not deserving of the same rights as everyone else?
How about divorce? The Bible is also astoundingly clear on the subject of divorce, even going so far as to call it adultery if a divorced person remarries. So as a country, should we not allow remarriages for divorced people? If you have a divorce, should it be illegal to adopt a child or make medical decisions for a long-term significant other?
There are hundreds of verses like that in the Bible, hundreds of cultural and religious "laws" that the majority of Americans and Christians do not follow and do not seek to follow because they are not applicable to our modern lives. You can be a good Christian who is following the Lord without following every single "law" in the Bible. To me, homosexuality is one of those outdated cultural laws.
Second, I think one of the most fantastic things about our country is that we are NOT a "Christian" country. We are a country that respects religious freedom. As a kindergarten teacher, every year at Thanksgiving I tell my students about the meaning of the first Thanksgiving and I start out by saying, "A very long time ago, some people called Pilgrims lived in a country called England. And England had a king instead of a president. The king told everyone who lived in his country that they couldn't go to their church, they all had to go to HIS church. They weren't allowed to choose which church they went to. So the Pilgrims got on a ship and sailed to America, where they were allowed to go to any church they wanted."
I truly believe that when we use the phrase "A Christian nation", we are undermining almost everything our forefathers stood for, including the right to free speech and the right to bear arms.
HOW can we ask our government to stay out of our personal lives, and yet allow (and ask) them to dictate who we can marry? To me, this is the same thing as saying single moms shouldn't be allowed to marry and have marital rights, because they had a child out of wedlock. Or that couples who have sex without intending to procreate should not have marital rights, because that is not allowed in the Bible. Or that couples of different religions shall not be married with full marital rights? These situations are all incredibly ridiculous, just as not allowing homesexual marriages is.
Please tell me how allowing homosexuals to have THE EXACT SAME RIGHTS as anyone else will infringe on your rights? It simply means they get to file taxes together. That same gender couples can make medical decisions for each other. That they can provide loving homes for unwanted children who may otherwise end up in overcrowded foster homes. How does that hurt ANYONE?
And what right does the government have to take that away?
Fifty years ago, the government passed laws saying that it was illegal for a black man and white woman (and vice-versa) to marry. Those who believed in that used passages from the Bible to support their beliefs: Genesis 28:1; Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 7:2-3.
A hundred years ago, Christians used Deuteronomy 23:2 (which is very clear) to insist that a child born out of wedlock should not be allowed in a church.
The Bible has, for hundreds of years, been the Book to use for people to back up their beliefs, to advance their agendas. Wars have been fought, millions of innocent people killed in the name of the Bible and God.
Churches are losing 50 thousand members per week, especially among young people. Gay people are completely ostracized. We as Christians are driving people AWAY from God's word when we choose to stand against rights of about 4 percent of the American population.
Isn't it time for us to start, as Christians, showing the world what we are FOR, rather than what we are AGAINST? Isn't it much better to light a fire and bring people to the warmth, than to build a fence to keep people out? Isn't it time to stop alientating any one we judge, and instead simply reach out with the Golden Rule?
All the money, all the time, all the effort that goes into being AGAINST gay marriage - wouldn't all that be better spent toward things that REALLY matter? Homelessness, child abuse, foster care, starving children in Africa. I mean really - what does you being against gay marriage accomplish? Does it make less people gay? Do gay people see a Prop 8 sign or a "Marriage = 1 Man 1 Woman" bumper sticker and say to themselves, "Hey! I better stop being gay! Let me go up to these people to ask them how I should join their church and stop being gay!"
Of course not. It accomplishes nothing other than to draw the line in the sand saying "I AM JUDGING YOU. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF THE SAME RIGHTS AS EVERYONE ELSE."
I know I would be angry and hurt at anyone who told me that I couldn't marry my husband. So I choose to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The one consistent guideline in 21 different religions.
Here's the biggest argument I hear from people against gay marriage: "Those liberals preach tolerance, but they aren't being tolerant toward my opinion!" Well, yes. The problem is NOT your opinion about gay marriage. The problem is when you use your opinion to try to take away someone else's rights. I hate guns - so guess what? I don't own a gun. I'm not trying to take away your right to own a gun. THERE'S the difference. Don't like gay marriage? Don't get one. Don't try to take it away from others.
It is my hope and my prayer that fifty years from now, when I am rocking my grandchildren on my knee, I will be able to tell them about how same-sex couples couldn't marry and they will be as amazed as I am when my grandparents tell me about the days when interracial marriages were illegal. I hope fifty years from now we all see how bigoted and selfish it is to fight against same-sex marriage.
And I will tell my grandchildren with pride that I fought for equal rights for everyone - I will be the example of who I want them to be.
Please, take a moment to comment. I love respectful discussions and debates. However, I reserve the right to delete negative and disrespectful comments.
* If you have a moment, I strongly urge you to read this blog post, written by a gay man. It is well written and truly inspiring.