I recognize that some are going to want to attack me for these thoughts because they don't agree with them. Before you do so, know that such aggressive behavior has already done more to hurt your cause than help it.
I'm not entirely at peace with either side of the gay marriage debate. What I do know for certain is that I don't want anyone unable to live without physical or undue emotional harm because of their moral decisions unless those moral decisions directly hurt another person's ability to live without physical or undue emotional harm. Hurting someone in any way just because they don't agree with you is inexcusable.
This is rambling, because rambling is exactly how I feel about this issue. I can see good and bad to both sides of the argument. Originally, I supported legalizing gay marriage. But, as I've listened to the debate, the pro-gay-marriage side has made me a lot more hesitant to support it. Their arguments for gay marriage have done more to frighten me about the possible ramifications than the arguments against have convinced me.
"Sexual orientation is not what I do, it's what I am. Either accept what I do, or you are rejecting me, and are my enemy."
For me, sexual orientation IS a choice. I choose as a woman, not only to be attracted to men, but to be attracted to a certain type of man. For me, having sex is even more of a choice. Sometimes it is a more difficult choice than other times, but it is always a choice.
I believe sin is anything that turns us away from God and His purposes. I believe homosexuality is a sin. So is extra-marital sex between a man and a woman. So is incest. So is sex with a minor. The last two are punishable by law, the first two are not. If I suspect the latter two, I'm going to get involved. The former two, I am not. I'm not going to avoid anyone just because they don't agree with me. I am going to avoid people who tell me I either have to agree with them, or I'm their enemy. That gets scary, and reeks of fanaticism.
As much as some people would like to make it so, this is not a simple decision between being homophobic or accepting homosexuality. Homosexuality is ALREADY tolerated by the majority of people, even if they don't like it or agree with it. There are shades of gray between toleration and condoning.
"Marriage is a right. You are denying us our basic rights."
Marriage is not a right. It has nothing to do with basic survival. I don't have the right to marry whomever I want. I have no right to marry a family member or a minor. I don't have the right to marry multiple people. Marriage by law is a privilege. Some think it is a privilege that should be extended to same-sex couples, some do not. Some think it is a privilege that should be revoked entirely.
"If you don't let us marry, it is because you hate us."
Sometimes I don't give my children what they want because I love them, and I think that what they want will hurt them.
I have made many decisions that were unpleasant for both me and the other person because I loved them. I choose to see homosexuals as more than just their homosexuality. I see the person, not just the orientation.
"People should be allowed to do what they want to do. It's not hurting anyone else."
There are some moral decisions that are not compatible with society. That is a given. That is what law is for. Whether or not gay relationships should be sanctioned by society, whether or not each individual believes them to be compatible with living in a society, is the issue. It is not just a matter of allowing gay relationships, it is a matter of believing whether or not it is something that government funds and support should be given to the same way as heterosexual relationships wherein future citizens, children of both parties, could potentially be given life. It's also a matter of convincing the general populace that it really won't hurt anyone else.
Marriage is not an island. It affects law and society in a myriad of ways that can't all be foreseen. Any great societal change should be done with caution. In order to change how marriage is done in society, we should be careful. The burden of proof always rests on those who agitate for change of any kind.
I believe that children benefit by having a good role model of each gender. I don't think that having two parents of the same gender immediately harms a child. But if I had a choice between two sets of equally great parents, one gay and one heterosexual, I think there is an advantage in a child having access to both gender role models. I reject the notion that the male and female genders are the same. I think that biology gives each uniquely different ways of coping with the world that are often strengthened by cultural bias (at times strengthened too much). But I still believe there are differences in general, though they vary from individual to individual. I believe they are differences that can complement each other as a parental unit seeks to teach a child ways to cope with the world.
"This is no different from segregation."
The civil rights movement came after a majority had already voted in favor of emancipation, after a war was fought over it. Some people were disobeying law that had already been decided by the majority and the outcome of the war. So far, the majority has decided against (not for) gay marriage, so far, the war is not yet won by either side. At this time, the analogy is not a good one.
Once the legislative body creates a law requiring the extension of marriage to gay couples, until gays are forcefully kept from drinking at certain water fountains, patronizing certain public establishments and sitting in certain seats, the analogy does not hold up. If that does happen, there should certainly be steps taken to punish those who instigate it. That is unequivocal in my mind.
"You can't use your religion to vote."
You have no right to tell me what can and cannot factor into my voting decisions. I have every right to let my religion affect my votes, just as you have a right to let your sexuality affect yours. More than anything, this argument irritates me the most and makes me want to vote against merely to prove I can. It is my vote for a reason, not yours.
All of these rantings make me nervous that those who want to marry are not truly trying to help gays or society in general so much as they are wanting to win. It feels like they think that all who disagree with them are closed-minded bigots, and they just want to crack their heads open both figuratively and literally. Their goal seems to primarily be to force others to agree with them, not to win something tangible for themselves. It is almost like the marriage itself has become a side note.
And an actual quote:
"We hope you’ll change. You might not, but we hope you and the church will. This is why we insist on calling your stance homophobic and bigoted, so that you don’t feel comfortable about your positions."
Which sums up perfectly what I mean by this post. This openly admits an attempt to manipulate through shame, to control another person's behavior. While I understand the same can be said in the other direction, that still makes me suspect the motives. I don't call you names, please try to extend the same courtesy to those who are genuinely trying to understand.
I know a lot of people have been hurt because of things that other people have done to them, and want to lash out. Understandable, but not reassuring. Not calculated to persuade me to change my mind back to what it was.
I hurt most of all for those who are caught up in the crossfire: those who are truly wanting to follow God's will, but struggle with feeling inadequate or intrinsically deficient. I know how that feels, and I'd not wish it on anyone, no matter why you feel that way. I wish we could all have a good cry on each others' shoulders.
So I've saved for last what I think is the most important part of this whole debate. Know that even though I'm confused and conflicted about the various points, and I definitely don't understand all the ins and outs and possible ramifications of one decision or the other, even though I most definitely do not agree with certain tactics and attitudes on both sides of the fence, there is One who knows and understands it all. It doesn't matter who you are, He understands you and loves you. He wants your eternal joy, not just your immediate happiness. It doesn't matter if I ever fully understand how you are feeling, because He does.
And that is all that really matters, in the end.
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