Gay Marriage and the Christian Response

I had the privilege last week of hearing State Rep. Karla Drenner speak at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta as part of an ongoing speaker series. Rep. Drenner spent much of her time discussing environmental issues as she is an environmental health expert. I was very impressed by Karla’s grasp of the issues and wouldn’t disagree with State Rep. Fran Millar description of Drenner as “one of the smartest legislators in the state”.

As the only openly lesbian legislator in the South, I was interested to hear Drenner’s take on the recent controversies over gay marriage. Drenner told the audience about two interesting episodes over the past couple of years involving the gay marriage debate in Georgia. She first spoke about being at the capital on a day that many conservative Christians had come to protest gay marriage. There were many ministers in attendence as well as families with children protesting gay marriage. And many in this group were carrying signs that said “God Hates Fags”.

Karla also spoke of listening to the radio in Gainesville, GA one day and heard a political campaign ad by one of her fellow Democrats in which he stated that he hated gays just as much as his opponent did.

As a conservative Christian myself, I was embarrassed for my fellow Christians at hearing these accounts. There is a legitimate discussion and debate to be had on the topic of gay marriage. But it is not legitimate for the Christian community or individuals to show hatred towards homosexuals.

I’d like to apologize to Rep. Drenner and the gay and lesbian community on behalf of Christians for the hatred that is sometimes directed at them. And while there may likely be real areas of disagreement between Christians and the homosexual community, I’d love to work with Rep. Drenner to create a better atmosphere of understanding.

81 comments

  1. mercergirl says:

    I have argued both sides of this issue in a debate class of mine, and the only points I had to use for the “against gay marriage” side were: the Bible, and that most Americans are against it- and even though I personally do not agree with that lifestyle, I have a serious problem with those arguments. Anyone here ever taken a political theory class? Ever heard of Majority Tyranny? Cause once I learned about that concept, I had a pretty strong feeling that Majority Tyranny was what was going on in regards to this issue.

  2. Will Hinton says:

    mercergirl: my point in this article isn’t to hash out all the arguments for or against gay marriage. It is to acknowledge the shameful behavior of the Christian community towards gay and lesbians.

  3. mercergirl says:

    Oh I know, I was just stating an opinion. I assume you are trying to put out any fires that could be started before they have the chance?

  4. yellowhammer says:

    Well said Will. As a conservative and as a Christian, it is embarassing when “Christian” conservatives use God as tool to advance their own bigotry and hatred, all in the name of the conservative agenda. While God may not have intended for homosexual relationships to occur, anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Bible knows that God teaches to love all and respect all and leaving the judging part to him.

  5. jsm says:

    Will,

    I never heard any ad on Gainesville radio in which anyone stated that he or she hated gays.

    Sounds to me like you either heard an angry homosexual who wants to demonize her opposition or you’re embellishing the story a little bit.

    For the record, God doesn’t hate homosexuals, or anyone else for that matter. True Christians know that. God hates sin, but he doesn’t hate any person.

    I know there’s some wacko church from Kansas that misrepresents God’s character, and Christians should not be defined by the actions of this bunch of idiots. I don’t remember any news outlets mentioning or showing lots of “God hates fags” signs on the gay marriage protest day at the capitol. I think that would have been big in the media.

    The “Christian community” can’t be held responsible for hate coming from misguided splinter groups. Let’s focus attention on the real source of bad behavior.

  6. Will Hinton says:

    jsm: I am not embellishing the story; I am simply relaying what I heard from Karla. While she of course feels strongly about this issue, I find it hard to believe that she would concoct a story like this in such a public setting if it were untrue.

    Yes, it is easy to point to extremists like Fred Phelps. Yet it is hard to ignore that many Christians show hostility towards homosexuals. I have seen it and heard it my entire life.

  7. JRM2016 says:

    It is of course the argument of choice for those promoting the “gay rights” agenda to demonize their opposition as peddlers of hate or “homophobes”, as there could be no other reason to oppose gay marriage. As has been stated elsewhere by those more articulate than me, the state sanction of marriage has been reserved for one man and one woman. If the argument goes that if one man and one man or one woman and one woman wish to have their union sanctioned by the state, how can we maintain laws against plural marriage? Of course these are questions of values and morality. Usually the next response one hears is, “you are trying to legislate morality”. Well, what is our criminal and civil law if not the codification of a certain set of fixed values? From the Ten Commandments to the Code of Hammurabi down through the ages, civilized society has indeed “legislated morality”.

    The final nail in the coffin of those that promote a “gay rights” agenda is that the items usually complained of (denial of access to a partner who has been hospitalized, inheiritance/estate issues, division of property, etc.) can be handled by a lawyer competent to draw a contract. So this isn’t really about those underlying issues one hears so often (e.g. I cannot see my partner because his family is refusing to let me be admitted to his hospital room) but rather about society through the apparatus of government placing a same-sex union in equal standing with society’s view of traditional marriages.

    This is why many thinking people of faith who have no hatred/fear for those who are gay continue to oppose the agitation for legalization of gay marriage/civil unions.

    That said, of course civil debate is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy and I welcome Rep. Drenner and others to that conversation.

    As to Mr. Phelps and others of his ilk (who most recently expressed a desire to celebrate the murder of several Amish students in Pennsylvania), do not represent Christianity. In fact that which they stand for seems to this Christian to be fundamentally opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ. That is why I think these individuals are universally condemned by everyone on the right and left.

  8. SpaceyG says:

    Get OUTTA here!!!!! Could this be a note of tolerance from a Christian conservative in Georgia? Snowballs are flying you-kn0w-where! I’m going to go to my LIBERAL church on Sunday and give thanks for this Mr. Hinton, after I Google him first that is. And I’m not even gay. (But I do vote.)
    Dang… just when you’ve lost all hope. This has really turned my day around!

  9. Mad Dog says:

    Will,

    You are a man of rare courage and you should be admired and respected for that if courage were your only asset.

    I won’t try to praise you any further.

    You’ll get labeled as a godless communist if I do.

    🙂

  10. Mojo says:

    JRM,

    “If the argument goes that if one man and one man or one woman and one woman wish to have their union sanctioned by the state, how can we maintain laws against plural marriage?”

    That is a weak argument. How about this, if the argument goes that if one man and one woman wish to have their union sanctioned by the state, how can we maintain laws against plural marriage? It seems to me that the Rubicon has already been crossed when you attempt to define marriage at all. We have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the line in the sand is drawn, how is that a stronger indictment against allowing plural marriage than extending the line and saying that marriage is defined as the union between TWO consenting adults?

    “Well, what is our criminal and civil law if not the codification of a certain set of fixed values?”

    Criminal and civil law basically involves the regulation of offenses committed against societal norms, in which those societal norms and law abiding citizens are threatened by the criminal offense. Where does gay marriage threaten society? What rights are taken away from us by the existence of gay marriage? How are we harmed by the existence of gay marriage?

    “From the Ten Commandments to the Code of Hammurabi down through the ages, civilized society has indeed “legislated morality

  11. Mike Hauncho says:

    I agree that the Christian religion has focused its attention on the gay community and is trying to fight for what it believes is best for Christians and society. Unfortunately, many have gone about doing this is through name calling and hate speech. Christians should be the first to know that we are not to judge others. We have taken aim at a group that commits a sin but have turned our backs on others who have premarital sex, commit adultery, and other sins and treat them differently. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with their lifestyle and sexual orientation but there is a problem in how we go about dealing with it. The gay community is often quick to leave their churches because they feel unwelcome but in doing so they come across as though they are against God and religion. If more gays and lesbians were to take a stronger role in their various churches then they may be able to take some of the heat off of them. We all commit sins and God looks at all of them the same. Both sides have handled this issue poorly and both side need to work together for a common purpose and that is to be better Christian (if that is your religion). It is a two way street.

  12. heroV says:

    JRM2016:
    If competent lawyers can handle issues like hospital visitation, inheritance, division of property for everyone, then what is the point of marriage for anyone? Why can’t everyone just get a competent lawyer instead of getting married? It’s my personal view that a gay union isn’t on the same standing as my marriage, but that’s because I’m simply not gay. From a legal point of view, what is the point of refusing state sanction of gay unions?

  13. buzzbrockway says:

    Will,

    I agree with your comments about how some Christians behave. As a result, Christians have lost influence in the political arena as well as society as a whole.

    One more thing: Thanks for posting this after Linda was banned. 🙂

  14. SpaceyG says:

    We’ll see just how desperate Rep. politicians are as we head to the home stretch… with Foley and Iraq dogging ’em, they’ll be hitting the “gay agenda/marriage” Kool-Aid hard, just like Sonny did.

    One day, that insidious tactic is going to seriously misfire, right back in their “Christian values” face. Kinda already has, given Rep. Boner’s behavior.

  15. Decaturguy says:

    Great post Will. I really appreciate it.

    I think the leader of the Conservative Party in Great Britian has the right approach. In a speech this week he said that marriage should not be about religion or morality, it is about a commitment shared by a couple who loves each other, whether the couple is same sex or opposite sex. It is about sharing your life with someone else and sharing the responsibilities involved.

    So instead of racheting up hatred towards one another, why don’t we talk about how we can get there without the hate and prejudice that has dominated the debate?

  16. JRM2016 says:

    First to Mojo:

    Traditional marriage, as defined by thousands of years of practice and in the United States by 200+ years of statutory and case law has been defined as a union between one man and one woman. There have been even further restrictions though in terms of the prohibition of marriage within certain degrees of relation (incest) and by people of a certain age (generally child marriage has been outlawed for the past century). The state sanction of marriage is a recongition of what is, at its basis, a religious distinction. Necessarily a number of matters in the civil realm (treatment of the issue of the marriage, taxation, etc.) came to require the state to sanction marriages. So the state was simply recognizing relationships solemnized by the Church. Today in our society where the golden rule of many is moral relativism, it seems “unfair” or “judgmental” to say that anyone is barred from being married. The point is that this push for gay marriage is about one item only, acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle as on an equal moral footing with traditional marriage.

    Acceptance is a word I use deliberately here, as most of us in civil society (unlike Osama bin Laden and his ilk) tolerate our fellow citizens, irrespective of their individual lifestyle and personal choices. In fact it goes to the root of true conservatism to let those people make those choices as they will, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others.

    Acceptance on the other hand, is to say that this lifestyle choice or that moral position is agreeable to society. Among many people of faith, this lifestyle is not acceptable. So when a special interest group seeks the state sanction of marriage solely for the purpose of having society writ large deem their lifestyle acceptable, we have an obligation to oppose that legislation.

    We as a society do not accept gay marriage, in Georgia or in the United States. Therefore, we have passed laws to prevent our activist courts from imposing gay marriage upon society (See 2004 Georgia Referendum and 1996 DOMA passed by U.S. Congress and signed by President Clinton). The harm committed anytime one accepts something contrary to our morals/system of values is that the entire system becomes weaker, threatening the very morality the system of values was designed to promote.

    Your third argument is what is commonly known as a straw man argument. The position I took earlier is simply that throughout the history of law, society has determined its values/morals and imposed them via law. For example, the Commandment that Thou Shalt Not Murder. You have taken that argument, and then taken some antiquated laws which I never advocated for (e.g. killing someone for diverging religious belief) and equated the two positions. That is incorrect and let me simply state my position as such: Civil Society has always imposed morality and values through its laws. If you disagree that a value system is imposed via our law, please let me know where the support for that argument may be derived.

    Ahhh, my favorite argument from those that take the opposite position in this debate: that the plight of gays in America is equivalent to that of blacks in the 1800s, 1900s or even today. Let me see if I can help illuminate the difference. One cannot help but be defined by ones ethnicity. My skin color is right there for you to see, as is evidence of my national origin, religion, sex and age. Interestingly enough, these categories have something else in common: one is protected from discrimination on the basis of all these areas under 42 USC 1983 and other federal and state law. Sexual orientation is not defined by a physical attribute or by the nation in which one was raised but rather by a behavior voluntarily engaged in the privacy of one’s home. It is a private matter how one seeks sexual gratifiaction (unless of course it strays into the criminal law, see Gerry Studds, Mark Foley, et al). However, to compare the plight of a group that is largely white, educated and affluent which is accorded the same rights under the law as all others in society to the plight of a group that for their ethnicity were sold into bondage, worked unto death, treated as property and then later beaten and lynched for seeking their God given civil rights is simply wrong. There is no comparison. Perhaps you should give that analogy some more thought.

    As to your final argument, let me take it in two pieces.

    First, that we must accept the Bible as our civil law or not at all. This of course would mean making choices like you describe, or not outlawing murder, theft, etc. Thinking people can agree as a society what to throw away and what to keep. The Levitical laws regarding food have been recognized by many as reflecting the realities of the time regarding certain foods and the inherent danger posed regarding their consumption. Therefore our founding fathers, congressmen and state legislators discarded that from our civil law (to the delight of many future generations of Southerners I am sure).

    We don’t just pick and choose based on what is convenient but WE choose as a civil society what are laws will be. If the moral relativists in our midst ultimately prevail in the battle of ideas, then they will determine the laws. But for the present those of us, primarily people of faith and traditionalists have settled the law in the same direction as it has been on this issue and others for some time.

    Mr. Phelps advocates for the death of those with whom he disagrees. He rejoices in the deaths of Amish schoolchildren whose only crime was to be in their one room schoolhouse at the wrong time. He rejoices in the death of our fighting men and women, who are our best hope against the forces of barbarism from without that wish to destroy freedom and democracy and replace it with theocracy.

    Your equation of me, a person of faith who disagrees with the establishment of gay marriage to Mr. Phelps I think does more to illustrate your position on this issue that the entirety of your post. For whatever reason, this is an emotional issue for you and you resort to ad hominem attacks to complete your screed against my post. I advocate not for a “moderate” Christianity, but for public policy that reflects the deeply held values of many Christians and other people of faith. We all should have a seat in the public square.

    HeroV: I am going to lunch, so please see my response above to Mojo.

  17. kspencer says:

    JRM2016, I’d like to expand briefly on the point heroV made.

    First and foremost, your position of all these things being doable with the aid of a competent lawyer runs afoul of a reality — challengers taking the paper to court and winning on the basis of their blood relationship over the cohabitation relationship.

    Second, your position runs afoul of the expense issue. A marriage costs a pittance, and gives a host of benefits (a portion of which you described) by default. The equivalent paperwork requires a large monetary expenditure. This is not equitable.

    For what it’s worth, I would support a clear demarcation between religious marriage (that is, joined together in the eyes of a church/synagogue/temple/grove/whatever) and a civil union (legally authorize the partners so joined the ‘default’ benefits currently available to married couples). I admit to being leery any time religion is used to justify civil law – in the past that’s been used for slavery, rejection of women’s suffrage, refusing Jews and “Paythans” rights to ownership of property, and a host of other actions abhorrent to my concept of “justice for all”. It’s not a rejection of any religion, it’s a concern for potential abuse cloaked in moral righteousness.

  18. SpaceyG says:

    JRM: this is the comment space on a blog, circa 2006, not a freakin’ publishing company. Jeez, can you get to the point? Any point! Just make it and move on. I’ve about worn-out my scrolly thing.

  19. Mojo says:

    JRM,

    “Traditional marriage, as defined by thousands of years of practice and in the United States by 200+ years of statutory and case law has been defined as a union between one man and one woman.”

    There is much throughout human history and even American history that have been defined and accepted, and yet were still immoral and unjust. It was once defined that the sun revolved around the earth and slavery was acceptable.

    “There have been even further restrictions though in terms of the prohibition of marriage within certain degrees of relation (incest) and by people of a certain age (generally child marriage has been outlawed for the past century).”

    Those restriction exist in order to protect from abuse and exploitation. How does gay marriage fit within that framework? Who is being abused and exploited? Surely you do not consider gay marriage, incest and pedophilia as one and the same. At one time the marriage of a black person to a white person was against the law. Was the state right in making that restriction?

    “The state sanction of marriage is a recongition of what is, at its basis, a religious distinction.”

    The state sanction of marriage should have no basis on religious distinctions. It is a government document used to define certain rights and privileges placed upon the couple. If a particular church or denomination does not wish to marry gay couples in their churches then they do not have to, there are plenty of churches that are willing to do so, so why should the religious sensibilities of a selected group of Americans define what rights the state should withhold from another group of Americans?

    “The point is that this push for gay marriage is about one item only, acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle as on an equal moral footing with traditional marriage.”

    In what way is it immoral? B/c the Bible says so? A bible that says working on the sabbath, eating shellfish and wearing clothing woven of more than one fiber is immoral as well. Tell me, why should your moral sensibilities trump the rights of individual Americans?

    “Ahhh, my favorite argument from those that take the opposite position in this debate: that the plight of gays in America is equivalent to that of blacks in the 1800s, 1900s or even today.”

    I did not equal the plight, though in the opposition I see similar bigotry, but I simply showed that what society once accepted is no longer considered acceptable. If you can’t see this I’m certainly not here to hold your hand.

    “The Levitical laws regarding food have been recognized by many as reflecting the realities of the time regarding certain foods and the inherent danger posed regarding their consumption.”

    So, there is a difference b/w food consumption and relationships b/w individuals? Interesting how the Bible has the same punishment for both, and interesting how Jewish leaders would disagree with you on this matter. But, I see how this argument is convenient on you.

    “Your equation of me, a person of faith who disagrees with the establishment of gay marriage to Mr. Phelps I think does more to illustrate your position on this issue that the entirety of your post. For whatever reason, this is an emotional issue for you and you resort to ad hominem attacks to complete your screed against my post.”

    Name an ad hominem attack. It is simple for all to see, Phelps says he hates fags and you actively deny them fundamental rights. What is the difference?

    Your defense against gay marriage revolves around two fundamental points: the Bible and tradition. In the first I find it ridiculous to base modern public policy on a “holy” book written by some wandering Semitic nomads thousands of years ago, and on the second, how if tradition is the barometer for what is legal and what is illegal then why advance at all, to do so invites permanent stagnation. We are a society that depends on continuously updating ourselves to the times, of revising and redefining what is freedom and what is liberty, otherwise our forefathers never would have picked up their muskets and fought against their divinely ordained monarch.

    Substitute black for gay and you sound an awful lot like Jim Crow.

  20. heroV says:

    JRM2016:
    You didn’t really address my point in your response to Mojo.

    But in addition, you say that the state sanction of marriage is sought “solely for the purpose of having society writ large deem their lifestyle acceptable.” No, this isn’t about gay people striving for acceptance or a thumbs up from everyone in America. I think gay people realize that they will never gain acceptance from some people in society, even if there is some sort of state sanction for a gay union. Even if state sanctioned gay marriage passes unanimously in the legislature, there will be people who will never accept their lifestyles. Similarly, there is a segment of white society, however small, that will never accept people of color and vice versa.

    This is about people in a same sex relationship seeking a legal union as well as the legal benefits that come from it. Again, if two people are in what they consider a union, what is the point of denying them the legal incidents of marriage? You don’t even have to call it “marriage.” You could call it “blarkenfeffer.” That way, “traditional marriage” can continue to be defined as a man-woman union. And churches who refuse to sanction a gay marriage do not have to.

  21. JRM2016 says:

    Ok, let me respond and then leave this alone so as not to bore the readers:

    1)–Yes some things you include in the category of “traditional”, like slavery, no due process, etc. were bad. Over the last two millenia, most of these evils have been eliminated. You believe the failure of society to submit to your postmodernist, moral relativist worldview and decree that same-sex unions should receive the same sanction as traditional marriage is among these evils. I and many others do not.

    2)–I will deal with the race/gay analogy by referring you to my earlier comments. If you think being against same-sex marriage and being for denying blacks the right to vote, own property, etc. are the same thing, there really isn’t much else I can say on this topic that will be constructive.

    3)–You repeat the all or nothing fallacy about the Bible. Of course, no one person is dictating our public policy, but rather our elected representatives are reflecting the will of the majority on this issue. I will refer you back to the distinctions one can make about the Bible. My moral sensibilities are not trumping anything, it is society’s sensibilities reflecting in the law enacted by the people’s representatives.

    What rights are being “trumped” again?

    4)–You did equate the plight of gays to blacks in your earlier post. It is indefensible and I suppose that is why you offer no defense. I can’t hold your hand either to explain the difference between being defined by unchangable physical characteristics and how one chooses to seek sexual gratification. If you think those are the same, good luck.

    5)–Your ad hominem attack is to say that I am the same as Mr. Phelps. This is much the same as saying I am the same as Adolf Hitler. Neither are true, neither contribute to a discussion of the policy at issue and are intended to discredit my position by trying to associate me with people who have been universally condemned.

    Also an ad hominem:

    “Substitute black for gay and you sound an awful lot like Jim Crow. ”

    What “fundamental rights” are denied gay Americans, anyway? Can’t they vote, hold property, have a guarantee to due process under the law, sue and be sued, etc.?

    6)–“We are a society that depends on continuously updating ourselves to the times, of revising and redefining what is freedom and what is liberty, otherwise our forefathers never would have picked up their muskets and fought against their divinely ordained monarch.”

    This is exactly the mentality of our activist federal and state bench that regularly “redefines” our society. The idea of a “living” constitution which is inherently changable to the whims of the moment is exactly that which endangers the concept of the rule of law. This concept is at the heart of secular fundamentalism, the idea that above all things we must submit to postmodern moral relativism. I am here to put you on notice–not on our watch.

    And by the way, our forefathers and their contemporaries looked back in history, to the example of ancient Greece and republican Rome for their ideal government and to throw off the tryannical grip of England, not forward into some ill-defined, academician’s pipe dream.

  22. JRM2016 says:

    Oh and to heroV:

    “This is about people in a same sex relationship seeking a legal union as well as the legal benefits that come from it. ”

    What legal benefits are they receiving that they cannot obtain under currently existing law?

  23. Decaturguy says:

    Let me step in here. If my partner and I were married, there would be no tax on any gift I gave him or he gave me. Since we cannot be married, any gift over $11,000 is subject to taxation.

    If I owned my home in my name only, but wanted to deed half of the home to my partner, that half of the home would be subject to taxation.

    Those are legal benefits denied to gay couples because they cannot get married that no legal document can fix. I thought conservatives were about getting the government out of the business of private individuals?

  24. Mojo says:

    JRM,

    As with you this is my coda.

    “You believe the failure of society to submit to your postmodernist, moral relativist worldview and decree that same-sex unions should receive the same sanction as traditional marriage is among these evils. I and many others do not.”

    This is the perfect illustration for majority tyranny.

    “If you think being against same-sex marriage and being for denying blacks the right to vote, own property, etc. are the same thing, there really isn’t much else I can say on this topic that will be constructive.”

    Again, I do not equate this as being equal, but similar. Also, and again I’ve said this before, it was an example showing that what society once deemed acceptable and just is no longer viewed that way. If there was another popular example I would have used it.

    “My moral sensibilities are not trumping anything, it is society’s sensibilities reflecting in the law enacted by the people’s representatives.”

    Again, majority tyranny.

    “You did equate the plight of gays to blacks in your earlier post.”

    No, I did not. And, if I did?

    “Your ad hominem attack is to say that I am the same as Mr. Phelps.”

    You both wish to deny rights to gays and I said as much. That is not an ad hominem attack.

    “What “fundamental rights

  25. JRM2016 says:

    Decaturguy:

    You raise two excellent points. That is why many conservatives, including myself, wish to see the income tax, with all of its built-in social engineering tax credits, abolished and replaced with a national sales tax which would resolve both of the problems you raised.

    Mojo:

    It must be the lawyer in me, but I have to say one more thing to respond to:

    “You both wish to deny rights to gays and I said as much.”

    Again I ask what rights are being denied?

  26. Decaturguy says:

    Republicans also helped out gay couples recently in the pension reform bill when it eliminated a tax on the proceeds retirement funds for non spouse designees.

  27. Jace Walden says:

    How about this:

    We completely REMOVE the Government from the equation.

    We privatize Marriage. Take away Government incentives for getting married, and take away Government barriers from getting married.

    If two people want to live together as a “married couple” you shouldn’t have to get a damn government sanctioned licsense.

    All you should have are You, your Betrothed and a Priest.

    If this Foley thing, or any of the past examples of stupidity/corruption/perversion in government can teach us one thing, it is that Goverment has no place in someone’s private life where individual rights are not being violated.

    JRM2016, sorry, you’re wrong. Two gay people getting hitched does not endanger society. If you truly cared about preservering “traditional marriage”, then why aren’t you out there advocating for a repeal of the right of divorce or annulment. The way I see it, a 50% divorce rate endangers marriage more than two gay dudes getting hitched.

  28. heroV says:

    Jace Walden:
    interesting idea, I wonder what the effect on tax revenues would be if you removed all of the marriage related provisions. I’m not an accountant.

    However, it seems like there has to be some government protections in place at least when there are children involved (and yes, I’m assuming that a gay couple could adopt) so you wouldn’t have to rely on “a competent lawyer” to think of everything in advance. I must admit that I think some of the legal protections for spouses and kids that are in the law are a good thing.

  29. Chris says:

    Nice arguments by all the posters. I’ll chime in here in support of equal treatment for all.

    To JRM, I’d like to know how the Schiavo case would have faired under these seperate-but-equal legal contracts you’re promoting, had the married couple been two people of the same gender. Would the parents’ wishes to keep the mate alive have prevailed, or would the husband’s wishes to uphold his mate’s wishes have prevailed?

    And in general, this whole notion of legislating moral based on the bible is a huge turnoff. One of the things I grew up appreciating about America was the ability to trust in the knowledge that our government was there to enact and enforce laws that allowed people to enjoy their liberties except in cases where those liberties caused imminent threat of harm to life, limb or property of another. That these laws overlap some of the teachings of the bible is merely coincidence. The freedoms of religion in this country placed the responsibility for moral behavior squarely in the court of religion, faith and societal values, leaving the government to protect only life, liberty and property. All other matters would be addressed and resolved by societal norms and the nearest churches.

    I interpret the desire to enact legislation that imposes morality based exclusively on biblical teachings as a sign of weakness on the part of religions who are failing to on their own merits to maintain the moral values they deem important for the wellbeing of their culture. To me it’s sure sign of weakness that the religions have to turn to the government and its ability to force people at gunpoint to adhere to certain behaviors that the religions deem so vital. Being raised as a fundamentalist Christian, it was the power of our faith in God that guided our morals, not faith in the government’s ability to force others to “act” as if they have the faith running through their veins. The religious fervor to get the government to do the work religions are supposed to do is a sign of desparation indicating that the people of those religions are either getting lazy, or failing in their missions to create and maintain moral societies, for a reason.

  30. JRM2016 says:

    Jace,

    Most conservatives have been pushing in many states for “cooling off” periods before divorces can be made final to reduce the depressingly high rate of divorce in the U.S. I advocate such a “cooling off” period. So I guess I am out there trying to change the divorce law.

    If this debate only involved two gay people then there probably wouldn’t be much of a debate. But it isn’t about two gay people getting married, its about fundamentally changing the definition of marriage recognized throughout the ages.

    The fact that there is adultery and other bad behavior among heterosexuals that causes a high divorce rate does not negate the argument against gay marriage. It furthers the argument that traditional society is facing attacks on multiple fronts, both from heterosexuals who treat marital relationships like rental property and homosexuals that seek to change the definition of marriage.

    Have a great weekend!

  31. jsm says:

    Jace said, “That these laws overlap some of the teachings of the bible is merely coincidence.”

    You may want to do a little research on the founding of this nation.

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

    “The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.

  32. Chris says:

    Jace didn’t say it, I did. And there are just as many quotes from our founding fathers that will say this country is NOT based on Jesus Christ or religion in general. You want me to compile a list to compete with yours and we wrestle out what was in the minds of our founding fathers over 200 years ago?

    The bottom line is, if organized religion cannot keep their flocks in line, while respecting the God-granted free will of its members, that’s not the government’s problem. If the religious message is failing to keep people of faith from straying, and failing to recruit others to take part in its message, then it’s a problem with the message, and not with the government’s failure to mandate it through force.

  33. Mojo says:

    Chris makes a good point, you can find countless quotes from the founding fathers saying this country is based upon Christ and countless others saying the exact opposite. The important thing is that we do neither, but instead recognize that this country is constantly moving forward and society constantly redefining itself. Slowly we are moving to that point when the words “All men are created equal” are actually fulfilled.

  34. Jason Pye says:

    jsm,

    I fail to find anything about this nation being a Christian nation in the Constitution. Here is what is in the Constitution:

    he Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    Here is some interesting words from the Treaty of Tripoli:

    Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

  35. defnotrep says:

    DecaturGuy…Thanks for the info on what the Brit said. I think it is well said, and I agree with him.

    This will not be an issue in 10 years. I am a Christian but I am ashamed how some Christians behave.

    Will maybe you should run for office. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  36. Personally, I think Ms. Drenner lied or exaggerated to demonize those who oppose her(unless it WAS the nuts from Kansas who aren’t “Christian” in any way — I would believe it if they were there). I just don’t accept the notion that “many” — if any — non-Phelps people would be carrying signs saying that “God hates fags”.

    If that had happened, the AJC and the media would’ve been tripping over themselves to get there and film it. And you can be rest assured that someone there had a video camera — someone always does. Footage such as this — especially if it was someone other than the Phelps folks — would be prime time fodder for Olberman, Air America, Chris Mathews, etc. I just don’t buy it.

    With that being said, I don’t condone hatred like that from Christians — or anyone else. It’s absolutely wrong. However, failing to validate gay marriage by codifying it into law is a long stretch from holding up signs saying “God hates fags”. And even if someone were to hold up such signs, they certainly don’t represent me or the overwhelming majority of Christians in this country.

  37. Erick says:

    Will Hinton, before this is over you’re going to pull a Bill Clinton and go to Africa to apologize for slavery and renounce your whiteness.

  38. Dorabill says:

    As a christian and a conservative who tries not to combine the two I can’t stand by and let people change the meaning of words. These words are what comprise the legal books, the dictionaries and our founding documents. And they’re what protect everybody across the board, all colors and religions and lifestyles. One of those words is marriage. That one goes way back. And it’s connected to common law by things like man/woman sex and procreation. If we let them change what these words mean than nobody is safe. Also with these things the public debate is designed for a 4th grade comprehension but the fine print needs a lawyer to intrepret. Can you blame people for being wary? Don’t forget the Churches are on the defensive here not the offensive.

  39. Dorabill says:

    And I don’t mind if people want to form a Civil Union and get the same tax breaks but I’m getting into an area I know nothing about.

  40. jsm says:

    Sorry, Chris and Jace. I’ll be more careful when quoting in the future.

    You’re right, Chris. We could get into a quote war about Christian founding vs. secular founding, but I believe the length of that argument would annoy most here. However, when I research quotes on both sides of this argument, look at the definitively Christian prayers were made a part of meetings of Congress before this Nation’s beginning, and see all the Christian inscriptions on Washington buildings and monuments, I’m convinced that our founders overwhelmingly support the influence of the Christian Bible on this nation and its laws. I believe our founders would be disappointed at how Christian influence has been stifled in our society by misusing the very document meant to give the Separatists freedom to exercise their faith publicly.

    In no way do I think Christianity should be forced on anyone, but I believe it should be protected just like any other religion. I also feel that the majority of Americans believe the Biblical definition of marriage should be preserved. Our Democratic Republic should recognize that.

    Having said that, I agree with many here that government should have no connection to marriage, because it is a religious entity. I would support civil contracts to allow rights and privileges that are connected to “legal” marriage now to be given to any two people.

  41. Chris says:

    Dorabill: One of those words is marriage. That one goes way back. And it’s connected to common law by things like man/woman sex and procreation. If we let them change what these words mean than nobody is safe.

    Who changed the definition of marriage? When did the definition change from “arranged” by the elders to one’s personal choice based on the mutual affectations of both parties? Male/female couples have been marrying for all kinds of reasons beyond or besides man-woman sex and procreation. Contractual arrangements to exploit the benefits each receive from that piece of paper without ever having intentions to make a family, or a lifelong commitment “til death do us part.” Conventional marriages have seen their definitions change with the culture since societies started respecting the will of its people. Don’t you dare try to blame these changes on some other “them” that you even lack an understanding for.

    Same sex marriage technically was legal in this country because there were no laws on the books to prevent it. All of a sudden, 230+ years into this country’s history, someone decides to actually take advantage of the freedom left to his own choosing, and our leaders get all blustery and decide that that freedom doesn’t apply to them and they’ve got no rights to try to alter the definition of their esteemed marriages, despite the constantly evolving definition of marriage within the privileged set.

    I say if we put marriage into the hands of people who actually want it, it might get a little more respect and reverence than what the male-female crowd has done to it.

  42. Chris says:

    Dorabill: Worst case scenario?? Churches being forced to perform a ceremony which would be against the religious beliefs of the congregation.

    Are all churches forced by law to marry its congregants now? Why would you suddenly feel forced to marry people your church doesn’t approve of, unless you’re already being forced to marry people it don’t approve of? So, help me out here, are you forced by law now to marry people you don’t want to marry?

  43. Dorabill says:

    Chris
    I spend half my time convincing people I’m actually conservative. I’m pro-environment, pro-choice, I’m into alternative fuel and alternative medicine. I don’t like the Christian Coalition and I don’t like the government telling anybody what to do. And I think any ammendment for this is silly. But I find it difficult to have a meaningful discussion about anything when the meaning of the words themselves are in dispute. Unless I’m sadly mistaken the older dictionaries didn’t include “man/woman” in their definitions because it was so clearly understood. Some dictionaries have added an entry for “same sex marriage” recently. Here’s one that hasn’t:http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=100628&dict=CALD

  44. Dorabill says:

    Chris
    “don’t you dare”?
    Nobody, and I mean NOBODY tells me what to think, to speak, or to write. And I’m way beyond the “them” thing. If you try to categorize me in a similar fashion, I’ll have to categorize you right on back. And where I’m standing I’d be looking at you with a pair of binoculars, right next to Ann Coulter.

  45. JRM2016 says:

    I would hasten to add that the problem with having this debate is that if you are on the side that wishes to prohibit same-sex marriage, it is assumed (as in mojo’s comments) that you are like Mr. Phelps or lumped in with some other hate group.

    Again, I am not advocating that we legislate the Bible. But I think it is equally ridiculous to pretend that our legal tradition, dating back to the foundations of American, British, western law has no connection whatsoever to the Judeo-Christian value system, as embodied in the Bible.

  46. Chris says:

    It’s probably not appropriate for this thread, but for lack of a more relevant thread I’ll challenge you to defend the Christian basis for a society that honors their elders by herding them out of sight into retirement centers and nursing homes for strangers to tend to, keeps the Sabbath holy with massive commercialized football games and being served at your after-church all you can eat buffets by minimum wage workers whose own day of rest is at the mercy of management, and whose economy is built utterly and completely on the sin of coveting, and whose accomplishments as judged in your families and careers are based on the success of your covetous activities, and whose prestitgious leaders and their media minions carve out their positions of successful leadership based on the severity and tenacity of the false witnesses they bear against their opponents.

    For a society like that to claim its foundation rests on the value system embodied in the Bible, it’s a wonder that society hasn’t collapsed into Hell a whole not sooner.

  47. Mojo says:

    JRM,

    “I would hasten to add that the problem with having this debate is that if you are on the side that wishes to prohibit same-sex marriage, it is assumed (as in mojo’s comments) that you are like Mr. Phelps or lumped in with some other hate group.”

    Such intolerance that leads an individual to actively deny certain rights to a group of individuals, that other groups of individuals also share, in which the exercising of those rights would harm no one is hate, pure and simple. You can claim moderation and tradition all you want, you hate just as much as Fred Phelps. Nice company, eh?

    “But I think it is equally ridiculous to pretend that our legal tradition, dating back to the foundations of American, British, western law has no connection whatsoever to the Judeo-Christian value system, as embodied in the Bible.”

    It doesn’t. The most important fountain that our legal system has drank is that of the Roman Republic.

  48. Mojo says:

    Chris,

    “For a society like that to claim its foundation rests on the value system embodied in the Bible, it’s a wonder that society hasn’t collapsed into Hell a whole not sooner.”

    Augustine once believed that a society that devoted itself to God and the Gospel could never fail, that that “city” would reign eternal protected by the divine providence of God. Of course, after the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 CE, he had to change his speech and, therefore, he wrote “City of God” to explain the differences b/w his “City of God” which was eternal, and the “City of Man” which is fated to fall. Rome fell, what of us?

  49. Chris says:

    What of us? We’re toast, and have been for a while.

    I’m glad this good Christian nation finally found a scapegoat in the gay population to blame this country’s downfall on. They turn their heads to the pervasive, repetitive sins of their own while screaming that our society cannot accept and condone the sin of homosexuality or gay marriage for it would surely destroy their own faith, their families and their society with God’s wrath. The sorry state of marriage today rests squarely on THEIR shoulders, twisting it and abusing it and removing any holy reverence to their states of matrimony, 100% entirely their own. I’m surprised they suddenly find it of such value as to try to withhold it from the sinners among us.

    It’s quite laffable at the shear idiocy of their arguments.

  50. jsm says:

    Chris,

    You have demonstrated that you don’t understand the entity of the Sabbath per Christian belief. It’s best you don’t talk about things you know nothing about. Sunday is not the Sabbath–in the Christian faith, it is the Lord’s Day. This is because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

    The Sabbath was on Saturday under Old Testament law. That law is no longer spiritually binding for Christians, although we believe it is good to take a “sabbath” at some point in the week for rest. No certain day is specified. If the NFL chooses to play a game on Sunday and people choose to work for minimum wage on Sunday, I’m not wrong for watching the game or eating at the restaurant.

    Someone “whose own day of rest is at the mercy of management” can find another job if he or she does not want to work on Sunday. Those minimum wage jobs you mentioned, being only 2% of the labor force, are plentiful. (By the way, of that 2%, 63%receive raises within one year of employment, only 15% still earn the minimum wage after three years, only 5.3% are from households below the official poverty line, 40% live in households with incomes $60,000 and higher, & over 82 percent do not have dependents. SOURCE: http://www.bls.gov)

    I get a little incensed when liberals who know nothing about the Bible try to take a few verses out of context and condemn me. By the way, that’s not a sin. The Bible says to be angry and sin not. So stick to something you know about and leave the Biblical subjects to those who study their whole Bible.

    It’s funny you lay the blame for the state of marriage on the “Christian nation” as if only Christians get married. I submit that this secular society has become so oblivious to morality and responsibility that they have devalued and destroyed the sanctity of marriage, especially in Hollywood. Now, who is responsible for the “sorry state of marriage?”

    Christians are fighting for keeping some moral values in this society. We’re not trying to force anyone to become what we are, but we’re fighting to keep the values that made your grandparents and great grandparents decent people. You might think the definition of marriage has nothing to do with that, but I do. It’s part of a values system held for generations that has kept this Nation together, and we need to hold on to it.

  51. Chris says:

    If the Sabbath is any day that you make it, then why are alcohol sales restricted on Sunday? If the Sabbath is any day of the week chosen by the faithful, then why are blue laws being used to pick a day for us to stick to? Is this another one of those “it is, but it isn’t” situations where man’s free will has the final say, except where his imbibing proclivities are concerned?

    And the responsibility of the sorry state of marriage rests entirely on those who marry, Christian or otherwise. I’m glad you exhibit some comfort believing that Christians would never abuse the sanctitity or privilege of marriage, it’s one of the reasons Christians have no credibility when they reach into a miniscule faction of society to try to pin their foibles on.

    I’m a traditionalist, and certainly want to uphold traditions I was raised under, and found myself early on realizing it’s impossible to do that in this kind of society. I was even engaged twice to try continue on in the mold I came from. Those values embodied in the 10 commandments are particularly dear to me, which have all but evaporated in this faux pseudo Christian culture. Would you mind explaining to me just exactly what moral values you think are most important, besides those represented in the 10 commandments? Your collective actions towards the place gays have in this society give a clue as to what your priorities are, so why have you apparently foresaken those the Bible itself says are more important?

  52. millie says:

    A couple of thoughts on the “Christian nation” thing: Of course most of the founders were Christians; however, they were Christians who had observed and knew the dangers of entangled church and state (i.e., the Inquisition and Crusades). You might want to remember that our founding occurred during the Enlightenment and that many of our founders were Deists. Most of us today would not consider them Christian as we use the term. Another thing to realize is that the Declaration of Independence itself was a slap in the face of Christian Tradition, which taught that Kings had the Divine Right to rule. That was shocking to many people who supported the king in the struggle. So let’s don’t get too high up on the High Horse about this. More later.

  53. millie says:

    As a shocker, I give you a few excerpts from Barbara Walker’s A WOMAN’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYTHS AND SECRETS:

    “The word marriage came from Latin “maritare”, union under the auspices of the Goddess Aphrodite-Mari. Because the Goddess’s patronage was constantly invoked in every aspect of marriage, Christian fathers were opposed to the institution. Origen declared, “Matrimony is impure and unholy, a means of sexual passion.” St. Jerome said the primary purpose of a man of God was to “cut down with an ax of Virginity the wood of Marriage.” St. Ambrose said marriage was a crime against God, because it changed the state of virginity that God gave every man and woman at birth. Marriage was prostitution of the members of Christ, and “married people ought to slush at the state in which they are living. Tertullian said marriage was a moral crime, “more dreadful than any punishment or any death.” It was “spurcitiae”, obscenity, or filth.

  54. millie says:

    More from Walker:
    There was no Christian sacrament of marriage until the 16th centry.

    The article on marriage is fairly shocking to those of us who are used to the “one man, one woman” model. There’s a good deal there about group marriage (a subject already touched on by one of you) and the transferring of pagan practices into the Jewish tradition, along with traces of matrilineal inheritance mixed even in the Bible (the Book of Ruth, for example). Property was lodged with the female, not the male. Hebrew men were expected to wed their brother’s widows..or their cousin’s …in order to keep the property in the family and under the control of the men. But the most famous words from that book are of course, “Whither thou goest, I will go”…said by Ruth to Naomi, her mother-in-law…who gained status as head of the family until…uh-oh…yep. There was Boaz.
    Marriage has constantly changed, gang.

    I personally believe we should just all be in civil unions, with people in churches having special services to deal with their prejudices.

  55. jsm says:

    Chris,

    As I explained earlier, the Sabbath differs from what Christians call the Lord’s Day, Sunday, the first day of the week. It’s the day set aside to gather and worship together. There’s no connection whatsoever to the Sabbath.

    I personally don’t agree with blue laws or restricting alcohol sales on Sunday, because I see no reason for government to legislate righteousness outside of protecting its citizens (i.e. DUI).

    Regarding marriage, we Christians aren’t perfect, but our collective values should not be trashed because we can’t achieve perfection. Moral values give people something to strive for. Without them, society would only go further in the toilet.

    millie,

    I’m not impressed by quotes from a mythology book whose apparently outdated and discredited sources have been questioned by the very pagans and witches who support this kind of literature.

    “Walker’s books are jam-packed with fascinating information. Problem is, some of it is sheer speculation and wishful thinking; it’s hard to know what’s what.” (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, http://www.cuups.org)

    “In fact, this is 1000 pages of attempting to define every goddess as an aspect of the Great Goddess or Triple Goddess, every saint as a stolen pagan deity, every god as a Sacrificial King and/or patriarchy’s attempt to masculine a goddess, and every biblical woman as a deliberately misrepresented matriarchal leader. Its entire motive is to promote Goddess spirituality and give men a few kicks while its at it. Walker depends heavily on painfully outdated and even discredited source materials such as works by Frazer and Graves. There may be some actual information in this book, but its so peppered with nonsense that it becomes impossible to distinguish what might actually be legitimate information.” (Catherine Noble Beyer, wicca.timerift.net)

  56. millie says:

    JSM: I would be in partial agreement with Beyer, above. However, I would not be in agreement with you when you “apparently” discredit Frazer and Graves. Mythology is mythology, after all, and Frazer and Graves are essential authors, along with Campbell. The point here is we are talking about Christian apologists in the first part. The second part either stands or falls or whether or not the Biblical reference does or does not meet Ms. Walker’s thesis. It seems to do so.
    Marriage is a LEGAL institution entered into to preserve property rights. That’s the point. I think you would agree.

  57. jsm says:

    No, I do not agree. Marriage was instituted long before it was given legal recognition. Some mythological dissertation from a book that has been called sexist is not going to change that. This is a classic example of trying to change the definition of a core value of Christian society in an effort to erode its morals.

    The legal contract that has been tied to marriage may be about property rights, but the original institution is not.

  58. heroV says:

    jsm:
    As has been stated over and over in this thread, why is it the place of government to worry about “a Christian society?” Isn’t that the role of the church? Government should not legislate based on what would preserve a Christian society. I’m puzzled that you seem to equate morality with Christianity. Is it not possible to have morality without Christianity? The population of India, for example, is largely Hindu and Muslim (they have the second or third largest Muslim population in the world) and it is a free, democratic republic that does not support terrorism and has low crime rates. Is India somehow immoral because they care nothing about preserving “a Christian society?”

  59. jsm says:

    You don’t get it, hero. It’s not government’s place to worry about a Christian society. However, it’s also not its place to hijack and redefine Christian values in society.

    I equate Christianity with morality, because the meaning of the word Christian is “Christ-like.” True Christians are moral people, but that does not mean that I think that ONLY Christians are moral. Your effort to lure me into passing judgment on India isn’t gonna work.

  60. GOPeach says:

    God does NOT” HATE FAGS” –

    God hates PRIDE! ! !

    Pride is the root to Homosexuality.
    Thus – ” GAY PRIDE”…

    God LOVES people-
    He HATES pride-

    Pride brings destruction.
    God exhaults the humble.

    I think if “gays” would humble
    themselves and submit their
    soul to GOD’s will they would
    see a miracle.

    I have seen many “gays” repent
    and ask for God to cleanse them
    and create within them a clean
    heat a right spirit-

    God is faithful!!
    He works wonders!!

    “Gays” can not REPRODUCE.

    Many people love God
    Few respect Him.

  61. Chris says:

    If God hates PRIDE then no wonder America’s being destroyed. May God have mercy on Lee Greenwood’s soul, and all of you who enabled him with concert tickets, royalties and album sales.

  62. rmckibben says:

    This is so freakin simple. France got it right (shocking) when they created the marriage/civil union compromise. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation can enter into a civil union. Only heterosexual couples can be married. As someone stated earlier. marraige is a religious institution. As sucj the state has no right to outlaw any type of marriage, only the church does. The state , however, does have the obligation to see to it that no person is discriminated against. Thus the civil union was born. All of the rights and privelages of marraige without the church’s belssing. If Christians want to ban gay marraige, that is there choice. Just don’t force your opinions on the rest of us.

  63. Chris says:

    jsm, it is the government’s duty to ensure all Americans have access to the opportunities that enable them to pursue life, liberty and happiness. We’ve already gone over how many values expressed in the ten commandments have been undermined by this country’s legal system, all without persecution or punishment: the freedom to covet and induce covetous behavior, the freedom to dishonor your parents, the freedom to bear false witness against your neighbors, the freedom to hate your neighbors so much that you can legally ban them from your communities, the freedom to completely ignore the sabbath, and even the freedom to take God’s name in vain. These entrenched Christian values, based exclusively on the Bible, are completely undermined by a government that protects the God-given free will of every man in this country. It’s a little late and a lot ridiculous for Christian’s now to try to harness the government’s power to try to restrict something as socially beneficial as marriage to people otherwise loyal and committed to themselves responsibly.

  64. heroV says:

    jsm:
    No, you don’t get it. The point is that the church and its followers decide what defines their values. How does a purely legal relationship between a gay couple and the state hijack your values? Without such a legal relationship, the gay couple will remain gay and will remain a couple minus some legal rights. Your values remain the same, the state is not firing a “values missile” into your head that will automatically turn upside down and hijack your values. State sanctioned gay marriage or civil unions does not and will not ever compel any church to perform such a marriage or union. It is a legal construct. Churches and their followers can continue to decide what defines and guides their own Christian values and that may continue to exclude an acknowledgement of gay unions. If you simply find gay couples distasteful, then you can continue to find them distasteful.

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