In every argument I hear against same-sex marriage, that word is used. Opponents worry that gay and lesbian marriages will go against “tradition.” At first I believed they were right, and that, yes, gay and lesbian marriages would not be traditional, and that would be a good thing. Now, I believe gays and lesbians should show the straight community the true tradition of marriage.
Everywhere you look you’ll find evidence of how straight America has desecrated the once sacred tradition of tying the knot. These days more than half of straight marriages end in divorce. I, myself, am the product of a broken home, even though my father, as a Southern Baptist minister, should have been well versed on the whole sanctity of marriage thing.
I believe the straight community is afraid that the gay and lesbian community will be more successful at making marriage work. To be shown up by a bunch of heathen “queers” is the last thing Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and their cohorts wants to see happen.
But, that’s exactly what I propose. The gay and lesbian community should take marriage very seriously. Not only does marriage afford you some great perks like property rights, the right to visit your spouse in the hospital, and health insurance, it also is a chance to show the world your lifelong commitment to another human being. Not even Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich or Bob Barr can say they’ve had completely successful marriages, yet giving gays and lesbians a chance to try it somehow soils the sacred tradition.
It’s time to return to the old tradition of marriage: a commitment you make after much soul searching and prayer, and a commitment you make for life.
Whosoever founder and Editor Emeritus Rev. Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. She earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She serves as the spiritual director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., and blogs at Motley Mystic.