Hello there Rev. My name is Mary and I am a college student in New Jersey. I recently visited Whosoever and read your responses to some questions and since I am writing a paper on the topic of homosexual marriage and parenting I would love your personal and expert opinion on them. And if I may have your permission to use any of your answers in my paper that would be very helpful. I thank you for your time.
Of course you have my permission to write out my responses. Here are your questions and my answers:
1. What is your personal opinion of same-sex marriage?
Marriage is a covenant between two people, God and their community. The genders of the couple does not matter. Over the last several months the debate concerning “gay marriage” has risen to new heights of passion and meanness. I suspect the basic reason for this is centered around power and control issues. Those who have defined marriage as the exclusive right of heterosexuals want to continue to control the rules. It is a “Members (who meet the standard) Only Club.”
Marriage in today’s sense is less about two people who love each other deeply and are committed to living in a way that will enhance that love. Rather, it is about tax breaks, exemptions, property and legitimate (read: legal) sex. I wonder which scenario God is more concerned about?
We live in a world where marriage vows are usually not worth the paper on which they are written. Yet the idea of a covenant is the total investment of those involved. I wonder if God is more concerned about promises and covenants that call on people to go deeper in their relationship than simply dogma and church rules. Finally, I wonder, from a spiritual perspective, if a God who by biblical definition is both male and female is really concerned about the gender identity of a couple who are willing to live in covenant with each other.
After all, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, in other words which commandment should be the basis of who and what we are, his reply was, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself:’ All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If these commandments are where it begins and ends — I believe our God, the God of Jesus Christ is far more interested in covenants of love regardless of gender identification rather than traditional marriage which does not have a hint of the two commandments.
2. Does the Bible really say that homosexual marriage shouldn’t be possible?
No, because the people of biblical times did not understand homosexuality the way we do, just as I am sure people of biblical times would have thought flying in an airplane or going to the moon was sinister and evil. God gave us free will and the ability to learn. I would hope we have learned a few things in a few thousand years.
3. Should the definition of marriage be based on the Bible, if there is a definite definition?
I gave my definition of marriage under the first question. Furthermore, I will ask again what was the greatest commandment? Love God your God with all your heart, soul and strength and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. This seems to me to be far more important then worrying about the gender identity of people who want a committed God-filled relationship.
4. How do you feel about homosexuals parenting children?
No different than I feel about straight people parenting children.
5. Do you feel that homosexual males and lesbians are capable of doing so?
Of course, and there are many who are doing just that. I have a gay couple in my church who are raising three children and the kids are just fine.
6. What do you think of the 28th Amendment to permanently restrict homosexuals from getting married?
What will happen to bisexuals or transsexuals? Does this mean anyone who has ever had same-gender sex are banned from getting married? It is a stupid, ill conceived, hateful and degrading exclusionary amendment.
7. What do you think of those who are strictly against homosexuality and any right they are fighting for?
They are misguided and probably are not secure in their own gender identity and sexual practices. The question should be: How does recognizing the basic civil rights of every adult in the country affect your identity? My partner and I have been in a committed, married relationship for 21 years. How has that hurt anyone else?
Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever and Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Rev. Paul M. Turner (he/him) grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994, have been in a committed partnership since the early 1980s and have been legally married since 2015.