My last post — So You’re Gay — So What? — generated a decent amount of discussion off-blog. I was concerned that the subject matter would be too broad for a single post, and I would like to add a followup now for the sake of clarity. I think a portion of the confusion surrounding this topic comes from trying to discuss a moral issue (homosexuality) and a legal issue (same-sex marriage) as though they were the same thing. They aren’t. I want my personal stance to be clear on several fronts, not because I wish to use this site as a political platform, but because I wish to refrain from hiding behind vague generalizations.
Because this is a legal issue at the moment, let’s start there. From a legal perspective, I support same-sex marriage because I do not think that morality is the domain of the State. I’ll leave it for others to decide what constitutes marriage within the Church. Right now, this isn’t about the Church. This is about government which, in an ideal world, would be an impartial judge among all people.
From a personal or heart perspective, I support gay marriage because I cannot find it in my spirit to condemn anyone else’s romantic attachment as less valid than my own. It doesn’t seem fair.
The moral perspective is, of course, the tricky one. And on that front, the best I can do is this: From a moral perspective, I don’t know. Taking the law of love (which is a different kind of love) out of the equation, I do not find biblical support for homosexuality. But let God be the judge of that. It is not my place, my heart does not understand it, and I refuse in good faith, with biblical backing, to judge what I do not understand: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1 NKJV).
The point that I wished to make before and will reiterate now is this: The morality of homosexuality is irrelevant — both to my legal stance on the issue and to my personal response to people who are homosexual. As a Christian, I answer to the same commandment in either case.
It occurs to me even as I’m writing this that perhaps the greatest point of contention on this topic has less to do with morality than with differing views towards the role of government in our society. Regardless of my personal or religious beliefs, I think that all people should be treated equally under the law, and even if I were to be wholeheartedly convinced that homosexuality is wrong, I would stand by the fact that ultimately the law exists to protect a nation’s citizens from physical harm, not moral failing. Morality is a personal and spiritual choice. (I realize it’s more complicated than that, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll leave it.) When we allow the government to dictate morality, we fuse Church and State, disregarding the principles on which this country was founded.
In the end, my concern is that we — as a Church, as a nation, as people — have blown the gay rights discussion all out of proportion. Too many of us have made this personal when it was never personal. Legally, there is no good reason to deny equal rights to people of all sexual persuasions. Morally, we are responsible for no one’s actions but our own, and those of us who follow Jesus bear the responsibility of acting in love towards all people, whether we agree with their actions or not. Can I, acting in love, justify the denial of equal rights to anyone before the law?
I understand that sexuality sparks a complex debate, and I do not mean to oversimplify it. But let us remember that we were never asked to judge the morality of others. When people play at being God, no one wins. Let God be God. Let the government govern. And as for the rest of us, let us be courteous and compassionate and kind – and pray that heaven has mercy on the lot of us.