Seeds of Hope

Should Gay Marriages be Allowed?


[Posted on January 6, 2000]

Rev. Turner:

I'm doing a school report on Homosexual marriages (if they should be legal or not). If you could give me any info or just an opinion I would be highly grateful. I personally believe that they should be legal but I need others to agree or disagree with me. Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Amber


I am doing a small research paper about same sex marriages. In part of my paper I discuss how you say that people are taking verses from the Bible out of context to support their idea that homosexuality is condemned by God. I myself am not a religious person and I was wondering if you could give me an example of some of these verses people are using. Thanks for all your help. Keep up the great work. Your website is awesome!

Allison


Dear Allison and Amber,

Both of you have asked similar questions. Since the webzine this column is published in is full of information concerning those Bible passages used to slaughter us, I want to spend some time explaining why our relationships should be recognized by the church in the same way that heterosexual relationships are.

First, we need to understand what we know as marriage today has become a goverment sanctioned event. Because of this there are now certain rights and privilages that go with it such as tax breaks, inheritance issues, medical decisions, property rights, visitation for children in cases of divorce, hospital visitation for those ill and retirement benefits. This list is endless, suffice it to say if you are heterosexual and married there are a lot of things to which the government says you are entitled.

Outside of the government sanction of marriage is the religious aspect, especially for the purposes of this discussion, that of Jewish and Christian. Both of these major religious groups see the coming together of two people who love each other as a gift of God. The act of marriage is a public proclamation of that gift.

According to both Jewish and Christian traditions in order for this to be acceptable to God one must, through the act of marriage, do three things:

  1. Make a covenant with God proclaiming the relationship;
  2. make covenant with the community concerning this relationship and;
  3. make covenant with each other concerning this gift of love for each other is of God and will be treated as such.

Traditionally speaking these covenants are around the understanding the relationship as a gift from God and because of this they will remain true to each other until death. The community, through this covenant, promises their support and recognition of this Gift from God.

You may be wondering what this has to do with "gay marriage"? Actually, everything! Read carefully the preceding paragraph. When gay couples come together and proclaim their love for each other they do exactly what heterosexual folks do with their relationships. We, through our churches, our pastors, our friends and our families proclaim and understand our love for each other is a gift from God, therefore when we make a covenant with each other in the same manner as heterosexual people, we indeed are married by the traditional definition of what makes a marriage.

I will go one step further here to state why the goverement should and must recognize our marriages and therefore offer us the same rights and privileges of any other married couple.

It is very simple logic and understanding of the Church and State relationship that leads to this conclusion. In this country there is, by way of the Constitution, a separation of church and state. This is so the government cannot interfere with one's personal religious beliefs. This means the institution of marriage is recognized by the government as legitimate because, as a religious practice, it is the tradition and foundation of the church to marry their believers. It is on this basis that the government has passed so many laws of privilege for those married. In an effort to be fair to those who have no religious belief the government also then recognizes civil marriage as equal to that of religious marriages.

In this country, in every state of the union, there are gay Christian Churches and Gay Jewish Synagogues that are recognized by the federal and state governments. They all have their 501 (c) 3's as non-profit organizations like any other church. The credentials of the Pastors are accepted by those state and federal authorities because they are ordained by their particular communities.

This all being true and factual, then when a Gay Church or synagogue accepts, supports and confirms a same gender relationship in the manner I described earlier in this letter, then the government must afford the same rights and privileges as any other church recognized relationship.

You see it is not all about what people believe the Bible says about homosexuality. It is what their belief system is all about. When the church recognizes a relationship then the government must follow suit. Further, each church allows for different belief systems within the different denominations and synagogues around other issues such as the Sabbath, communion, eating meat, the way one dresses, has their hair, what they eat, whether to use birth control or not, cross cultural marriage, etc. So if a gay church or synagogue has a different understanding and belief of marriage the government should not interfere with the practice of that church anymore then they interfere with any other church because of their beliefs.

It is all very simply really. Our love for each other is our gift from God and no one can really deny it to us. So in their anger or misunderstanding they try to hide us, bury us and if all else fails kill us to have what cannot be denied or ignored.

God Bless,

Pastor Paul


Rev. Turner is Sr. Pastor at Gentle Spirit Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are seeking guidance and pastoral care on your journey to fullness as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person, please contact Pastor Paul directly at pastorpaul@whosoever.org.