Faith Forays Why Christians Should Stop Opposing Gay Marriage Becca Rose

I was in a friend’s wedding last weekend. It was so beautiful and  joyous. We danced under white Christmas lights and my throat was hoarse from so much laughter. There was such happiness in my heart to see one of my best friends surrounded by family and people who love her, there to celebrate this ancient ritual of the joining together of two people for life.

When I think about the ceremony of marriage, it seems like a remnant of tribal times. We gather in a group, we cheer, we yell, we do weird things like push cake in each other’s faces and shove the honeymoon car full of balloons and write “Just Married” on the windows. But really, the best thing about weddings is the joy – the joy of knowing that these two souls have found the person they believe is more perfect for them than anyone else in the world. That kind of love is deep and unfathomable.

I think when Christians at large talk about gay marriage, they’re missing the point. The point is not that gay people want to take away other people’s right to get married. The whole struggle is really centered around the desire to be allowed in, to be able to participate in this ritualistic display of how much love the human heart can hold. It’s about the basic right to choose who you want to spend forever with, and to have that celebrated by the family and friends who love you both.

Freedom of religion is a great thing. In fact, I think it’s pretty dang awesome. But since when did our ability to choose how or what we worship translate into our ability to dictate to others that they must conform to our chosen lifestyle, that they must obey the tenets of our personal faith? It’s  alarming to me just how many laws are drifting to the top of legislation, laws that propose the outright imposition of one section of one religion’s believers on the entirety of the population. What’s even more alarming to me is how many Christians seem completely okay with this blatant show of force. Since when did we become complacent enough to allow one religion to force people who have no allegiance to said religion to follow its mandates? Oh, I know. Since it was our beliefs that others had to follow.

It is true that we are allowed to believe whatever we want to believe in. It’s also true that we are able to express those beliefs freely. But just as the human heart has the capacity to hold so much love, it seems to have the ability to brim full of just as much hate. When we disregard the claims of others to rights we fully enjoy ourselves, simply because we adopt a “normative” sexual preference? That’s when we’re no better than all the people we’ve learned about in history classes in school who denied the rights they enjoyed to those who were not in the majority with them.

See, it’s not about whether you believe in whether it’s right or wrong to be gay. It doesn’t actually matter. What matters is when you begin to be okay with forcing someone else to follow your scripture, when it is not their scripture. When you sign into law something that forces those of the minority to follow a mandate of your religion, when it is not their religion. That is wrong. If you want to claim the freedom to choose your religion, to choose your opinions, you cannot do so while denying others that same right.

Christians come out in droves to protest whenever they feel their right to be a Christian is being threatened. I believe that were the Christian community at large to have one of their basic civil rights legislated against, voted against by non-Christians, there would be a wave of outrage like this country has never seen. It simply would not be allowed. Can you imagine if someone said to them, “Because of your decision to live your life as a Christian, you may not legally get married to your partner, because we think that’s just icky/sinful/gross/wrong.”? Christians would go, in a word, bananas.

With a marriage license comes so many other benefits. Taxes, home ownership, joint bank accounts, insurance policies – all made easier. The decision to take a partner off life support. Being allowed in their hospital room after surgery. These are the kind of things that piece of paper can grant, and they’re the kinds of things we take for granted. Those of us who are allowed that piece of paper, anyways.

What I am coming to is this: you can still believe gay marriage is “wrong”. But you can believe that without forcing an entire people group to conform to your interpretation of the Bible. Because no matter what you believe in, that is indeed wrong.

For the record, I anticipate the day when I can attend a friend’s wedding, dance under twinkling lights, laugh until I am sore, and at the end of the night send off a same-sex couple in a tackily decorated car. But until then, I am calling on Christians as a whole to embrace love. And if they can’t, to at least stop forcing someone else into their religion. Because as the golden rule says, you wouldn’t like it if they did that to you.

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  1. There are Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc that condemn gay marriage, some more harshly than others (if that makes sense). I wish this was about how people should stop opposing gay marriage and stop picking out Christianity as the only religion that opposes it.

  2. Brilliant. As a Christian myself, I completely agree.

  3. Um…Becca Rose, there are a million different Christian religions. Putting Christians into such a general sense is silly. Also, if you understood the meaning of religion, you wouldn’t have felt the need to post this.

    • I disagree. There are a variety of Christian denominations, but as I’ve said in earlier comments, the public face of Christianity is what I’m addressing here. And if you think the public figures of Christianity are not vehemently anti-gay rights, you’d be mistaken. You might not think that my being raised a pastor’s kid for 20 years, or attending a religious university for 4, qualifies me to know the meaning of religion. But I sure do understand the history of religion, and how it has been warped and twisted to dominate people groups, incite wars, and restrict minority rights. And that is why I wrote this article, and that is exactly why it is needed.

  4. I am very frustrated with a lot of the comments suggesting that marriage is strictly a religious concept, and that’s why the world has to follow religious guidelines for it. I was married at a sex club. There were a lot of Star Wars references, Lord of the Rings references, and the wedding cakes were Batman and Rubber Duckies. Everyone had a great time, the photos of babies in stripper cages proves it, but people keep asking “When are you going to have a real wedding?” And some people were offended we didn’t make any promises to God. As far as I’m concerned, marriage is between two people who love each other. If I wanted to make a promise to God to love and obey, I’d be a nun. But I married a man. My man. A human, live being who holds me, and cuddles me, and encourages me to eat that fifth donut. If the reason that homosexuals can’t get married is because it’s against the laws of what “marriage is” in religious standards, well then I guess I should rip up my certificate because I’m just as undeserving. I don’t know, I am not religious, so maybe I am missing something. But, two gay people getting married and being happy does not affect you. The same way a heterosexual couple three states over doesn’t affect you. Ok, so there’s that. And, only God can judge, right? So, if it doesn’t affect you, and it’s not your place to be “disappointed” or “condemn”, what does it have to do with you? Please explain that to me. If its not hurting your personal experience with God and its his job to deal with them, why are you going on such hateful, “educational” (let me choose my next word wisely) CRUSADES, to do the work of God? Isn’t that like a sin or something? Stop worrying about everyone else’s relationships, with people and with God, and just worry about your own.

  5. I really appreciated this article. Thank you. This column has been really encouraging and I’m excited to see what else you talk about.

  6. Hats off to you, Becca! This is one of the most well-written articles on the subject that I’ve read. It’s very honest, yet still diplomatic. I was raised as a Christian and to believe that homosexuality is wrong. As I got older and eventually left the church, I realized that I was able to have my own belief system and that included the support of gay rights. Each person has the right to their religion and to express it, but those beliefs shouldn’t be used to make others feel like less of a person.

    But back to my original statement, this article is wonderful and I definitely shared it on facebook. Thank you!

  7. I agree too. I don’t know if I’ll be condemned by agreeing so. I, myself, is a catholic and when it comes to gay marriage and freedom to choose your religion, I support it. My religion may not but it’s one of those issues that I feel ok with. I believe that every person has the right to be with someone they love without the disapproval of others. I think catholics only disapprove to gay marriage because it prevents humans from multiplying(i think it’s in the bible). And i think I need to be reeducated:)
    Anyway, I think I’m one of the few catholics who approves to gay marriage and accepts the fact that there are other religions than catholicism. Besides, it’s so fun to have a gay friend, I had one or two. And it’s a matter of respecting other’s religion and individuality:)

  8. At the end of the day the real point is beyond all of us -we can’t speak for a higher power we merely exist with what we’ve learned through teaching. You feel it though , in your heart when you are just a kid and see two people who love each other and are kind to one another and kind to you. I grew up VERY Catholic. I got in a lot of trouble for my questions- “Why do unbaptized babies have to go to “Limbo”? ( FYI: the church got “rid” of Limbo a few years later.) Why , since we’re born “sinners” do we have to tell some guy in a booth that we yelled at our Mom and don’t think god cares for us because we’re so poor we have barely any food?!?! I made a decision when I was really small and very scared; I wasn’t going to believe that God was in a cloud watching me suffer even though I was good. Or that he was blessing people that stole and spread hate even though they were bad. I decided that I should do what I felt was right in my heart. Marry for love, be kind,be generous, serve others. Nothing in that mantra says who,how or why.

  9. A point I think that should also be made here about marriage being a “Christian” institution, is that Marriage dates back to way before the religion was founded and is not just for Christians. And that a Civil Union is not giving gay people the same rights as everyone else, it is making something that is different from us and unique to them, what they would really like is equality, which is something that minorities such as women and black people fought for for many years. This is an amazing article, and I appreciate where you come from, It is nice to see a person in a religion that is so against gay marriage stand up and fight for what they believe in. As someone who has her own separate beliefs it is great to see, Thank you.

  10. AGREE AGREE AGREEEEEEEEE!!!

    Plus, everyone can get married in the presence of God. He does not strike down weddings between two men or two women. God is not the problem – closed-minded, sad, insecure, scared fools are. Give these HUMANS the completely non-religious related rights they deserve. Sheesh!

    Love, a Jesus follower who wants to do more for marriage equality!

  11. DUDES! Let me just point out that NOBODY is saying we ought to force clergy to marry same-sex couples. No one in this space has said that. The fear that that would be a consequence is not only unfounded, but is a convenient blind to hide behind so you can have an excuse to oppose gay marriage that sounds self-righteous.

  12. While this was an eloquently written article, I want to point out that it could have been less pointed. Christians are not the only religious group of people who oppose gay marriage or homosexuality as a lifestyle. Many religions hold the same views. I saw what I thought was a very insightful comic the other day; it depicted two toilets next to each other-one had the Koran in it and the caption read “hate crime”-the other had the Bible in it and the caption read “art”. Christianity is so constantly attacked while other religions are still held as sacred and worth respect.It is attacked because it is one of the largest (if not the largest) religions in the world and its numbers grow everyday, and (for better or for worse) its followers are outspoken. Christians often, and perhaps in the wrong manner, lash out at the pro-gay marriage crowd because the pr0-gay marriage crowd so vehemently attacks anyone whose beliefs do not match theirs. In reality, most conservative, logical Christians would tell you that Jesus preaches that we should hate the sin and not the sinner. Christians who believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God believe that homosexuality is a sin, and if homosexuality is a sin then a same-sex couple being married with religious vows would be sinful. I believe that the debate for many Christians is not whether same-sex couples should be allowed to have a legally binding piece of paper but rather they feel that, when the same-sex marriage proponents say that Christian religious leaders should marry same-sex couples, their religious freedoms are being threatened. Regardless, my main point was that you could have attempted to be more encompassing of the many religions that oppose homosexuality and same sex marriage rather than focusing only on Christianity.

    • Annnnd to add to that – The title of this article clearly indicates what the focus was going to be on. I appreciate your feedback, but I would also like to say that I’m writing from a Christian perspective and that is what I feel most qualified to speak about. And the loudest, most noticeable, most notorious religion by FAR that is anti-gay rights in America is Christianity.

    • Hi,
      so, thank you for reading and engaging here! I’d refer you to my comment regarding the public face of Christianity being completely anti-gay rights.
      Also, the Christian’s favorite defense in this debate is to cry persecution. Perhaps we could consider that if people at large don’t like Christians, they may have a good reason not to.

  13. ^^ Just realized that I basically threw up my thoughts and totally made a gigantic comment. Sorry! Just thought I’d put my 2 (or 20) cents in.

  14. I definitely agree with a lot of the points made here and can totally see where you’re coming from. I believe that all people should have the same rights as everyone else. As a devout Christian in her 20′s and growing up in this generation, I have had difficulty with this subject because I believe that Jesus loves everyone and so should I. However, it is clear in the Bible what God’s stance on homosexuality is. So how can I reconcile these two seemingly opposing views? What I’ve found, and believe, is that many Christians don’t have a problem with homosexuals performing the ritual of marriage and allowing them to have the same freedoms and benefits of being married. The issue is that the term “marriage” is a Biblical term which is sacred. So, the solution (compromise, perhaps?) would be that homosexuals should be allowed to have all of the benefits of marriage and call it something else (civil union, etc.). To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this solution, but I’m just trying to get another perspective out there in the most civil and non-defensive way that I can. I also don’t think it’s okay for the government to force churches to perform homosexual marriages if they refuse because it is against their beliefs. ( Talk about taking away rights…)
    Another thing that I disagree with is that in voting for laws and policies that are influenced by their Christian beliefs, Christians are not imposing their religion on others. Everyone’s beliefs impact the way that they vote; this is how we form our opinions in the first place. Perhaps someone lives in a rural area and sympathizes with local farmers – they vote accordingly. Or maybe someone grew up with a sibling with a disability – they vote with that experience in mind. It is no different with Christians. We, like anyone else, cannot separate our Christianity, our main belief system, from the way that we vote. As a Christian, I know how my belief system impacts every single part of my life: the friends that I have, the person I am, how I live every day. So in voting for legislation that supports my belief system is not me actively forcing my religion on you, but simply me voting in support of my values and how I believe this country should be run. And honestly, I’m not sure I understand why it is such a big deal. Because if there are enough people in this country that disagree with the Christian view, then the legislators will create laws that reflect that. But if enough people agree with the Christian view, then the same will happen. Both sides have to deal with the fact that in this country, majority rules. And on almost every issue, the vote is split and at least half of the country will be disappointed in the end. Unless both parties agree to compromise on issues instead of trying to convince the other side that they’re wrong, we will continue down the destructive path of bipartisanism that we’re going down.
    Just a side note, I do NOT condone or support “Christians” who protest and insist that “God hates fags”. That is demeaning and completely contradictory to the life and message of Jesus Christ. These people do not reflect the actions and mentalities of true Christians and I believe that they will be judged accordingly.

    • Kelly,
      First, let me just say thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to join this discussion. I appreciate that you’re struggling with how to reconcile your beliefs with your view of love. I know how that feels, because I was there a few years ago. I used to believe very much along the same lines as you. I would spout “hate the sin love the sinner” like nobody’s business. But you know what changed me?

      When people I loved came out as gay. People I’d grown up with, people who knew my secrets and I knew theirs. No longer was it an abstract idea for me to have to dismiss with a pert line. I had to really grapple with it, and come to terms with my friends and my faith and God and the Bible and all of it. What I ended up believing is that there is no way God didn’t make them who they are, how they are, and how they feel.

      So I really can see where you’re coming from. I can. But I have a few counterarguments to what you’ve presented.

      1. Marriage isn’t a Christian institution. That’s simply untrue to say that it is – because thousands and thousands of couples who are married in this world today don’t give a flying flip for Christianity. So to exclude same-sex couples from getting married off the basis of “marriage is Christian” is hypocritical. Would you propose a law banning all non-Christians from getting married in America simply because they weren’t affiliated with your religion?

      2. You know who else voted with their values? White supremacists. I’m not saying voting according to your religious beliefs is the same as that. But what they believed was heavily tied in to their religion, and they had a lot of the same arguments we hear people use today. It’s wrong, it’s not how we’ve always done it, our religion says otherwise. It’s our belief, how can we vote otherwise?

      My answer it that sometimes, voting according to your religion is wrong. Because it actively hurts other people, people who are completely innocent of any wrong towards you. If your best friend came out as gay, would you really say to them, “I’m sorry, but I have to vote against you ever having the right to a spouse because, um, it’s my religion.”?

      3. The majority rules point you bring up is dangerous ground. Were the majority of the country to be Muslim and pass legislation according to their religion, legislation that forced you to conform to their religious practices, you’d be singing a different tune.

      4. The reason you don’t understand why it is such a big deal is because no one is telling you who you can and cannot marry.

      5. I commend you for speaking out against hate speech. But I’d ask you to consider that by flippantly disregarding the pain that the LGBT community feels when they are not allowed the basic rights of a citizen, you’re maybe a little bit in that camp.

      Like I said, thank you for reading and responding and engaging.

  15. I’m way too tired to post a well thought-out comment on why I think this is awesome, so I’ll just say this: To hear this, as a Christian, from a Christian, is very refreshing. I believe this wholeheartedly and argue this point over and over with certain people in my family. Great article. :)

  16. As a devout young christian young woman, I thought this article was very insightful. I completely agree with this statement “But until then, I am calling on Christians as a whole to embrace love.” This is what being a christian is all about. Showing love with our actions. This is one of the key components of life whether a christian or not. We need to show love to all people gay, straight, or whatever. We all deserve to live equally happy and fulfilled lives. Thank you Becca Rose!

  17. What I appreciate about your article Becca, is that you voice your opinion so respectfully, without bashing the other side! I applaud someone who can come forth, opposing what a group of people are doing, and not take one jab or low blow! How refreshing.

    More opinion pieces should be written with respect, and maybe the opposed side would be more apt to understand!

    • Wow! Kelly, thank you so much for your comment. That was exactly my intention when writing this article. I myself am a Christian, and I have a lot of friends within that community who I know disagree with my view on this, and I tried to think of how I wanted to treat them when writing this.

  18. It would be taking our religious freedom away. I personally love gay people. They always seem to be nicer than straight people, especially the men. Gay men rock. The thing is is that as much as I would love to see two people be able to express their love for each other, religions across the globe are opposed to it. Forcing ministers, rabbis, etc. to marry two people when it goes against their religion is stealing something we hold sacred. Catholic institutions already have to provide contraceptives to people, and as a Catholic, I can assure you we do not believe in preventing life, but cherishing it. I hope that one day people will see the reasoning behind why we simply can’t allow gay marriage to happen.

    • I never said it was simply a Christian thing. Other religions have marraige as well. I would agree that a Justice of the Peace marrying a gay couple would be acceptable, but I think that religious orders should not have to. And the contraception thing does fall under the religious freedom thing, thank you. It’s not as much of an issue of right and wrong as it is violiting our rights as Catholics. If we do not believe in prevention of life, we should not have to participate in it. They did not ask us to, they forced us to. Catholic institutions are forced to participate in something that is against our religion. It would be the same thing as forcing a strict Hindi to eat beef by law. I digress. As long as religious orders do not have to participate, gay marraige is fine. You are right in saying that a Justice of the Peace can do it.

      • The only possible way your claim that the birth control issue violates Catholic freedoms is if your catholic institution has all its employees sign a statement of faith saying they live according to catholic beliefs. Otherwise, if a catholic run institution is hiring employees it knows to be of other religions or none at all – to not provide birth control is imposing theor catholic values on their non-religious employees. And THAT is the same as forcing a Hindu to eat meat, although frankly I find that metaphor to be insulting to women who are on birth control for any reason, but especially for medically related issues. I use BC not as a “prevention of life” but as a way to control a life-threatening medical syndrome. If my insurer doesn’t want to cover that for me, my physical health is literally in danger. Were I to work for a catholic organization as a non-catholic, would you rather me develop painful variant cysts that would require surgical removal, at a far higher cost to the insurer I might add? In good conscience as a person who aspires to live according to high moral standards, I know I could never force someone into that horrible alternative rather than allow them to have a simple preventative measure prescribed to them.

    • I agree with a lot of what Becca is saying here and I’m a Christian. Marriage isn’t a strictly Christian thing. It’s been around in cultures far before Christianity entered them. I don’t think that legalizing same-sex marriage is the same thing as taking religious freedom away. A judge may marry an atheist couple in a union devoid of religion and Christians don’t call THAT an attack on religious freedoms. Why can’t a same-sex couple have that same right? I don’t think the argument has EVER been that if same-sex marriage were legalized religious leaders would HAVE to perform the marriage ceremony. To say that the legalization of same-sex marriage infringes in any way upon a person’s religious freedoms is to say that the state is governed by religion. Is it?

    • Whoa whoa whoa. I never stated Christians should be forced to marry same sex couples. A justice of peace can do so easily. Also, the issue of Catholics being forced to provide contraception loosely falls under my argument – which is that simply because your region believes something is right does not make it automatically right for everyone else.

  19. Proposition 8 was turned over by the California government even after its denizens had voted to not make gay marriage legal. So I think that whether or not Christians believe in or support gay marriage it will soon be legal throughout our country.

  20. It’s not a religious argument (some Christians don’t think homosexuality is wrong, some non-Christians think that it is) rather it is a moral argument. You might want to come up with a new argument. Saying that religious beliefs (I’m assuming you mean morals) should not be enforced upon others is ludicrous. That would mean that we should allow murder, child abuse, and robbery because otherwise we would be enforcing our morals onto others. And honestly, for myself I don’t care if homosexual couples are given all the same benefits of a legal marriage. However, asking people to allow gay marriage to be legalized means that we need to condone something that many (not just Christians!) see as a union between a man and a woman.

    • Murder, child abuse, and robbery are all non-consensual violations of another person. Allowing these immoral actions would be completely taking away someone’s basic rights as a human. Marriage is a commitment between two consenting adults. People may find murder, abuse, robbery, and gay marriage all to be immoral, but they can’t all be grouped into the same category of things we should or shouldn’t allow in our country.

    • First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      The First Amendment ensures that “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,” as Justice Robert Jackson wrote in the 1943 case West Virginia v. Barnette.

      If the religious are protected from religious persecution under the first amendment, shouldn’t the same rule apply to the non-believers when it comes to the persecution BY the religious?

    • Actually, no. I meant religious beliefs. Believe it or not, morals can exist and be held by those with absolutely no religious affiliation. Morals such as not murdering, not stealing, and not harming someone are universal regardless of religion. Specific religious beliefs are the basis of what I am addressing in this article. And you absolutely do not have to “condone” gay marriage. But just as it would be wrong for me to vote against your rights to get married based on nothing other than you being a straight person, it is wrong to force other persons to live theory entire lives based off your religious beliefs.

    • Clearly it’s a religious argument, as the most vehement opponents of secular same-sex marriage in this country are Christians who cite Christian beliefs as their reasoning. By defining marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, civil liberties are denied citizens who are entitled to them. It defines citizens as one of two genders, instead of seeing them as persons. If marriage was between a person and a person, gender would be irrelevant, as would the question of whether marriage was same-sex or opposite sex. And seeing as today a citizen is, in fact, defined as a person and not a person who is defined by their gender, the argument against same-sex marriage is bigoted, discriminatory, and unethical by Constitutional standards. This article, however, addresses the issue from the religious Christian perspective so I’m not really sure what your comment is aimed at in the first place.