Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weddings For All?

Rarely do I comment on political issues. I generally keep my views (on things from universal health care on down) on low key. This blog is about my challenges and joys of  a frugal retirement. Its not a financial blog or a political blog. It's not a diary or a business.  Occasionally, I feel the need to share my thoughts and opinion on controversial subjects. This is one of those times. I believe on this issue people have an obligation to speak up. As the old saying goes, a vote to abstain is a vote against. In this case against what I consider basic human rights.

I am a devout Episcopalian. Recently when I was making some observations about about life in general, I mentioned how thankful I am for my church. I'm one of those people for whom finding a church is a major component of finding a place to live.  A friend once even said about relocation (and I agree) "find the church and then find the house". My faith is a large part of my life. I was married by a priest, in a church. I consider marriage to be both a religious and a secular institution. I consider marriage a lifetime commitment. I do not however, believe that my way of marriage is the only way, or that it should be the only way.

I have a beautiful 22 year old niece who is gay. She has always been gay. She didn't choose "gayness", nor did per parents 'make her that way". God, himself made her who she is.  If I believe that God makes us all, and makes us for a purpose (and I do) then I have to believe that she is who she was meant to be. It is my fervent hope, my prayer even, that by the time this beautiful young woman finds a partner, she is able to be married-both in front of God, and in front of the Justice of the peace.  When that time comes, I will attend her wedding, and with joy.

Her marriage, in front of God (by a priest) and in the church will in no way diminish me. It will not diminish my faith.  I will not make my family less than it is, or more than it is. Rather, her marriage will enrich my family. As a devout, religious young woman, entering into marriage would be a lifetime commitment and introduce  a new member to our family (and perhaps more new members).

This is a difficult discussion for me. In general, I respect the opinions of others. My problem in this case is that respect does not seem to be mutual. Others want to force their religion and beliefs onto me and my family.  They want to decide the kind of life, the quality of life, that she and we are allowed to have. I would suggest that should not be up to them. I would suggest that faith is an individual thing, that should be kept private and held close. I would suggest that one can live their faith in full without stopping others from living their lives, or participating in a different faith.

Finally, and I realize I may offend here,  I would suggest that I am continually amazed that individuals who consistently suggest that the government stay out of our lives seem to have an inordinate need to decide how we live, who we marry, and what we do with our own bodies.

And that's my thought for the day.

6 comments:

  1. I understand where you are coming from. I only fear that some will force others to go against their beliefs in having to particate in the union . I think as long as the pastor does not object on his/ her own faith grounds, then you niece should be able to unite as she wishes. Religion is a group of people choosing to follow their beliefs. That should be tolerated as well.
    PS - one of my oldest friends is gay and has been with her partner for 32 years. They recognize that neither of their churches would validate their union- so they leave the judgement to God. Both are amazing women and they willingly make their choices to both participate in their Churches and live together.
    And I appreciate that you take the stand that you do.

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  2. Good for you. The second most important Christian belief is to love your neighbors as yourself. It doesn't say love only those neighbors who think and act like you.

    To tell two people who truly love each other that they can't be together is exactly what this world doesn't need.

    As you note, God created us. He can't make a mistake. No one chooses to become gay, they just are. So what?

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  3. I remember a friend once commenting that she would still love her son if he turned out to be gay, but she would be sad that he would be condemned to hell per her churches teachings. I was aghast, and I offered the following, "So you are saying that your ability to love your son, regardless of his orientation, because you recognize his worth as a person, is greater than that of the God you believe in?" Weeks later she shared that my comment had given her pause, and she was now reexamining her own beliefs.

    Hallelujah! If two people love each other, and both are better for that love, and the world is therefore better because of the expansive nature of love, than in what quiet recesses of our soul can we find the harm to humanity?

    My soul is entirely at peace with gays being afforded the legal protections of marriage. In no way will extending this privilege infringe on my rights in any way. And it will forward the acceptance of others who are different . . . not bad or evil, just different.

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  4. Janette I really canot imagine how someone could be foreced to participate in the union. Well, I suppose a justic of the peace could be foreced to do so. My answer is simple-when he took that job, he agreed to up hold the laws-whether he agreed or not. We dont get to pick and choose. The same is actually true of insurance providers and employers. As long as that is how health care is provided they have an obligation to provide equal care, not just the care they morally believe in.

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  5. Thank you for this heart-felt post. You've said it so nicely. I can't post on this topic because I can't say it so respectfully.

    I'm embarrassed by the actions of the vast majority of North Carolina's electorate in passing a constitutional amendment denying gay couples this right. (Just as I was by my state when they passed Prop 8, along with some 30 other states).

    What's next a constitutional amendment to deny them the right to vote?

    Religious protection arguments were used just decades ago to deny interracial marriages, haven't we figured out yet that when we let the majority vote on minority rights, we don't usually arrive at the answer that protects all our citizens equally. That's not up to us, that's guaranteed by the constitution. (Unless, of course, you vote to change the constitution to fit your own biases.)

    It just makes me sad that people still feel this way. Really sad.

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  6. I totally agree with you. People are born the way they are so seeking to change something that is innate about them is ridiculous. Sometime in the future this topic will be as much of a non issue as things like equal rights for women or equal rights for blacks which were highly contentious years ago but now are like duh.

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