Posted by: Genny Colby | March 27, 2013

Marriage…

So unless you are not on Facebook and/or live under rock, you probably know, or at least have heard, that the US Supreme Court heard arguments this week on gay marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  As with anything, there are people on both sides of the argument.  If you know me, or have read my blog, you know where I stand on this issue.  I don’t hide the fact that I believe that everyone has the right to be in a relationship with whomever they chose.  Who am I to tell you who to love?

But this issue sparks a lot of debate and controversy and I am really curious about why.  I am hoping that there may be some of you out there that can answer a few things for me.  I really want to understand the other side, I want to know why there are those that feel that marriage between those of the same-sex is wrong, or that will undermine the meaning of a marriage between a man and a woman.  If you do decide to give me your ideas, I just ask that all responses be thoughtful, respectful, and kind.  We can agree to disagree.  We can still be friends even if you think my position is wrong.  But let’s be adults and share ideas and thoughts and opinions respectfully.

My biggest question is if those who oppose gay marriage are against someone’s right to commit to the person they love.  I am not asking if you believe homosexuality is a sin, or choice.  But just down to the basic “does everyone have the right to choose with whom to spend their lives?”.  And if you don’t believe that we all have the right, the freedom to choose how to live our lives, why not?  Why do some people get that choice but others don’t?  Keeping in mind that in the past it has been wrong to marry outside your socio-economic class, your race, your religion, your ethnic heritage.  Yet today we as a society, for the most part, are okay when people marry outside these areas.  So why is choosing someone of the same gender so much different?  How does who someone else decides to spend her life with have anything to do with your choice?    Or in anyway effects, changes, or demeans your relationship?

My next question then is if it is actually the use of the term “marriage” that is the problem.  Some can argue that marriage is a holy sacrament of the Church.   They would be right, it is a sacrament.  I honestly have no problem if we want to say “marriage” is what happens in the Church.  Churches have the right to set their own guidelines about who they will and will not join together.  When you join a congregation, you have to understand and accept those guidelines.  But like many things, we have taken the idea of “marriage” and it has become something more than just a religious ceremony.  It has become non-secular.  One can get married in a church, at a courthouse, or in Vegas by Elvis Presley.  Yet currently, in they eyes of the law, all these unions are seen as the same.  They all earn both parties the same legal and financial rights.  The spouses can, without reams of paper, make financial, medical, etc decisions on the others behalf.  They are able to cover one another on health benefits, retirement benefits, social security benefits, etc.  No one questions this aspect.  It is just assumed.  Yet currently, those in a same-sex relationship are not able to make those type of commitments to one another, or to receive these same benefits.  Why is it okay to tell one group of people “nope, sorry, your love is not “real” so you don’t get the same rights?”

Is it simply because we see marriage as a religious ceremony?  What if we called it something else…like Civil Unions…BUT we made sure that those who are joined in a non-religious, but legally binding union got all the same rights and responsibilities that those in a religious ceremony receive .  That all states and the federal government must view these as legally binding contracts, just like a religious marriage contract.  Why is there such opposition to this idea?

I am honestly trying to understand the other side of this argument.  I know that there is a lot of religious argument.  And that is fine…for the Church to make those decisions and for you as an individual to make choices that are reflective of your religion.  But tell me one religion that says it is okay to hate, to not accept others for who they are, to discriminate.  Unless I am very much mistaken, love, kindness, acceptance, and forgiveness is at the heart of most religions.  And except for that guy down the street trying to get you to drink the Kool-Aid, most religious texts were written many many many years ago, when life and times were very different.  If we want to say that we must follow things exactly as they were when these texts were written then men would still own women, slavery would be acceptable, cutting your hair could be a sin, and the list goes on.  But we have adapted our interpretations of these texts as times have changed, as technology has developed, as the world and its people have grown.

Wouldn’t it be the best if we could all just say that unless what someone else is doing either is hurting someone (such as abuse of some kind) or directly effects you (if you get hit on in the bar) that we just let others live their lives and we live ours?  We don’t have to agree with the choices others make, but aren’t they their choices to make?

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