Well it has been an historic few weeks week in America, and the internet being the Internet there has been a lot of chatter back and forth about the subject, some of it reasonable, some of it not so much. And me being me, I ignored a lot of the chatter, beyond indicating my support via my FB profile picture, and shied away from commenting on this blog out of fear of making it too “political/controversial” in its early days.
Then I realised a couple of things: one no one reads this blog, so I’m not really setting myself up as a target for hatred and more importantly, what I have to say shouldn’t be that controversial and perhaps I need to explain why. That perhaps we need more opinions out there that aren’t about fear mongering, hatred and name calling. (And I’ve seen a few good ones from both sides).
On that note I also need to explain that I know a number of Christians who’s values and lifestyles I enormously respect, my parents are on that list, so are several people I have never met, but have encountered through their carefully thought out opinions on FB and the internet. These people have differing opinions to me on marriage equality and I respect that. I was raised Church of England, I know what the Bible says about the joining of one man to one woman, I even think the wording has a certain majesty. This letter is not to them, whom I consider to be the sort of Christians that Jesus would recognise as adhering to his teachings, I have nothing but respect for people who’s faith is such that they use it to try and make themselves better people and the world a better place. This letter is to the people who call themselves Christian but cannot adhere to the law Jesus said was the most important after “love thy God”, which is “love thy neighbour”.
So here it is, my letter on the subject of marriage equality:
Dear Everyone Who wants to Tell Me Marriage Equality Is A Bad Thing, Some of Whom Unfortunately Seem To Call Themselves Christian,
There are a few things you probably need to know about me before we have this discussion, for a start I’m one of those people who can’t love a book, or a movie or a dessert with out annoyingly saying “OMG this is soo good, here you should try this” and thrusting said book movie or spoonful of pudding at you. Not once in all the time I have been doing this, has this good thing I am sharing been diminished by the sharing.
So when I tell you I have been happily, gloriously married to a rather amazing man for over a year now, it should not be hard to guess my basic stance on whether there should be marriage equality. Yes that’s right, it’s OMG this is so good, everyone should have the right to try this.
My marriage hasn’t been changed one bit by all the happy same sex couples walking down the aisle, just as it hasn’t been affected by all the ridiculous 48 hour celebrity marriages, (which statistically speaking at the point of writing are 100% heterosexual). As for the sanctity of marriage, which of these scenarios seems to be taking marriage less seriously? The people who campaigned strenuously to have the right, or the people who take the right so much for granted they treat it as something disposable?
As far as I’m concerned, marriage equality was a done deal on July 4th 1776, when you as a nation declared:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
This is considered by most of the world to be one of the original and best statements of human civil rights and as Maya Angelou said about civil rights:
“It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without including whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.”
If you feel that your marriage is going to be diminished, because two of your fellow citizens are exercising their God given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, doesn’t that say more about your lack of faith in your own marriage – or God for that matter? If something has value only because it is exclusive, then to me, that says even more about you.
So I brought up “God given”, let’s talk about the Bible, and I’m not even going to get into the discussion about cherry-picking the sins you like and ignoring the other sins, it’s been done too often and too well elsewhere. Initially in this Open Letter to Dr Laura and then in West Wing.
What is discussed less often, is that if you read the Bible and your history books, you will know isn’t anti gay marriage, it’s anti all marriage. Yes you heard me, the Bible doesn’t like marriage. Look at monks and nuns and priests – the original hierarchy of the original New Testament Christian Church, the Roman Catholics. They aren’t allowed to marry. They can’t serve two masters. When Paul wasn’t writing his letter about Charity/Love (depending on your translation preferences) to the Corinthians, which ironically is now one of the most popular wedding readings, he was basically telling everyone that if they really wanted to live a spiritual life, they should remain alone. The early church preferred that you didn’t marry, in fact the only reason it felt marriage was appropriate was to have children.
I pause here to allow you to triumphantly assert “aha! Gay couples can’t have children” To which I quietly reply “no, not without assistance, just like many heterosexual couples.”
So the next thing you need to know about me is that I can’t have kids, my tubes weren’t built right, I lost two babies, two tubes and once nearly my life trying to disprove this but there it is. So if you make having babies without assistance the only basis for marriage, then you are going to have me, a lot of infertile couples, a lot of post menopausal marriages and a lot of couples who just don’t want children, all pretty pissed off with you telling them their marriages don’t have meaning and we shouldn’t have the right to marry therefore.
The government didn’t get involved in the business of marriage to protect “the children” as I have heard it argued. It got involved because of money and the protection of its citizens. Marriage gives rights over property and affects taxes and the government wanted this regulated. Also when you built freedom of worship into your Bill of Rights, by definition you built in freedom not to worship and those people also needed to have their marital needs catered for. Whatever the original intentions of the Roman Catholic Church, most marriages in America today are about love and love is a many splendored thing. It is also universal.
If the job of SCOTUS was to uphold the Christian Bible, then their decision would have been wrong, I have no arguments about how the Christian Bible defines marriage and fully support the uninfringeable right of religions to practice according to their beliefs. But the job of SCOTUS is to ensure that all laws that are passed in the USA are constitutional and it seems to me that if you have a first amendment right that says that no law can promote one religion above another or abridge your rights to practice or not practice religion, then no law can ban civil marriage on the grounds of a specific religion’s definition of that marriage.
I’m going to end this letter with a quote, and funnily enough it’s a quote from the bible, I mentioned it earlier and it’s generally accepted in the modern sense to be about love – you remember love, that thing Jesus said we should give to everyone, even our enemies?
So here it is from 1 Corinthians 13: (new international version)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
I would simply like to add also, on this occasion, #love wins.
P.S. Please stop being offended by rainbows, Gay people have not stolen your rainbows. The rainbow is a symbol for lots of things. If you really want to get into a “Noah had it first” argument, then I guess the final thing you need to know about me is I’m Pagan and my Gods & Goddesses are older than your God. So if we are going to have a conversation about stealing things, we have a lot of talking on the subject of the Trinity, Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, and All Hallows’ to name but a few, before we ever get to your concerns about rainbows.
A Good Marriage is a 2014 film based on a Stephen King short story.