On November 7, 2006, Idahoans will vote on HJR 2 and thereby decide whether to join the 18 other states that have banned gay marriage by amending their states’ constitutions. I will vote against such an amendment, because I am a Christian.
Does this make sense to you? If it does, we have something in common. If it doesn’t, doesn’t that make you marvel at just how different our perceptions of our own faith can differ?
I can see someone, totally convinced in their Christian faith, saying “Why is he even bothering to write this? No duh something like that should be voted against!” Then I can see someone else, totally convinced in their Christian faith, saying “Is this guy insane?! Where does he get off thinking like that?!”
For the second person, I hope this explanation at least makes sense. In order to keep this as short as possible (you know how much trouble I have with that – it’s still pretty long) I’m only going to give positive reasons why I feel the way I do. These are not necessarily in any order.
One: I feel, as a Christian, I’m called to love my neighbor. No ifs, or buts about it. Some of my neighbors in this state are gay. If these gay couples are committed to each other, they probably feel they should have certain benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. By civil marriage a heterosexual couple has certain rights. If one member of the couple dies, the insurance benefits and estates are automatically given to the spouse. The same goes for child custody.
What if a death occurs in a gay couple with a child? Who gets the money? Who gets the child? Whether you agree with that couple’s lifestyle or not, it is probably not in the child’s best interest to pull it out of that home. Nor in the best interest in the partner left behind.
Imposing these difficulties (and others) by explicitly denying these civil unions is not a loving action.
Two: The whole idea of banning gay marriage is based on supreme hypocrisy. The hubris of the people who claim their model of marriage the only right one is unbelievable! In this country the main reason someone would say gay marriage is wrong is because the Bible teaches against homosexuality. So these people dare to claim that their so-called “Christian” idea of marriage should be legislated. Forget the political implications of that – let’s just stick to religious aspects.
The Christian model for marriage is, indeed, one man and one woman – but it is marriage for life! The hypocrisy is some people would legislate their religious morality on gay people, but will not legislate what should be their own morality on themselves.
No one claiming to be a Christian has any business saying marriage is only between one man and one woman unless they also say that there is no option for divorce except in the case of marital infidelity. And seeing as how the divorce rate in Christian marriages is at least as high as everyone else’s, it is understandable that they would shy away from such a stance. Who would want to try to establish divorce as generally unconstitutional? In essence, these people would hold gay people to a moral code that they do not hold themselves to.
Three: Does anyone think it’s possible, or even makes sense, to impose a straight lifestyle on a gay person? Whether the state allows or bans gay marriage, they will still be gay. People will still live together as couples no matter what marriage legislation is in place. So the legislation is pointless, except to make life generally more difficult (see reason one).
Four: The amendment IS pointless! Gay marriage is already illegal in Idaho. State Code, Title 32, Chapter 2, Section 01 (subsection 1) states: “Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of parties capable of making it is necessary. Consent alone will not constitute marriage; it must be followed by the issuance of a license and a solemnization as authorized and provided by law. Marriage created by a mutual assumption of marital rights, duties or obligations shall not be recognized as a lawful marriage.”
State Code Title 32, Chapter 2, Section 09 states: “All marriages contracted without this state, which would be valid by the laws of the state or country in which the same were contracted, are valid in this state, unless they violate the public policy of this state. Marriages that violate the public policy of this state include, but are not limited to, same-sex marriages, and marriages entered into under the laws of another state or country with the intent to evade the prohibitions of the marriage laws of this
So trying to pass a constitutional amendment to say the same thing is truly beating a dead horse.
Five: The ideas behind it are divisive. Jesus did not require so-called ‘sinners’ to change before he would hang out with them. He just hung out with them. We should be seeking out fellowship with all people, especially the ones who are marginalized, or the ones we don’t agree with. Only by showing all people that they are valuable as humans beings, that they are worthy of respect as they are, can we enter into any meaningful conversation with them. The point isn’t trying to change people. The point is bringing God’s love to everyone wherever they are. Let them see God for themselves. God is quite capable of sorting everything else out to his own ends.
So there you have it. But, like voting for anything in Idaho that’s not “Republican”, this is futile. The amendment will pass and I’ll be left with one more thing to apologize for since I’m both a Christian and from Idaho.