Faith Forays

Why Christians Should Stop Opposing Gay Marriage

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.

  • Joanne Elise

    I totally agree with you! and I hope that some day we can just let people be, you don’t have to agree with everyone’s life choice, just leave them be.

  • Samantha Nichole Vincenza DeTillio

    Not all Christians think that gay marriage is wrong. You should not assume something on such a large scale. While you are being passionate about your feelings, which is fine, you are coming off as naive in the same way that you are portraying all Christians. Lots of non-Christians probably think gay marriage is wrong. It’s not a purely religious battle, although I am aware of why you are portraying it as one, on the whole the Christian church does not favor gay marriage, but don’t condemn all those who participate in the religion please.

    • Ramou Sarr

      I didn’t read this as though Becca Rose was condemning Christianity or saying that all Christians oppose gay marriage, but that those who use the Bible as their justification for opposing gay marriage are generally Christians. Perhaps I’m interpreting this incorrectly, but I read it as a – Hey, Christians who do not oppose gay marriage, come get your folks! That those Christians who do support gay marriage should be more vocal about it, you know?

    • Alicia Nicole

      It might not be a ‘purely’ religious battle, but most of those that oppose same-sex marriage do so based on religious beliefs. It’s also the claims based on religious beliefs, mainly Christian principles, that are being used as a political platform to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

    • Becca Rose

      I don’t think I’m being naive at all. Are you familiar with the face of Christian culture? The public figures and huge organizations of Christianity are loudly and staunch anti gay rights and throw heaps of money into it. The celebrities of Christianity are largely the same. You may not be anti gay marriage, your church might not be, but the Christian culture at large certainly is.

  • Ciara Elaine Crumbaker

    I love this! As a Christian myself, I can completely agree with this article. I’ve never claimed to be a history buff, but as I understand it, America was founded on the beliefs that its dwellers could practice religious freedoms; and that was the reason behind most people coming to live here! It may seem a bit drastic, but I personally don’t think marriage should be a matter of laws. Its about love, and a spiritual connection, whether the person you feel that connection with be a man or a woman.

  • Des Jensen

    On the one hand, you are exactly right. The people who are religiously opposed to same-sex marriage are forgetting on major fact: that marriage and marriage ceremonies vastly predate many western religions and that in pagan Rome and Greece, same-sex marriages were not only accepted but celebrated the same as heterosexual marriages. You are also right about how scary it is that we are blindly allowing so much religiously founded legislation to reach such high levels. We have forgotten what the freedom of religion really was about, in its original form. On the other hand, in critique of your piece here, it’s not just Christians whose religion opposes these unions and not all practitioners of any of these religions believe this same way. It is, however, Christian sects making the most noise in Washington. I’ve never once heard a politician or lobbyist claim “the Koran states…” as their supporting evidence for why they oppose a law or policy. That’s not saying no one ever has but it’s not publicized in the same way as when one of them uses “The Bible states…” and thinks that is a valid political argument.

  • Sandra Rodriguez

    Great article. As a Christian I am for gay marriage and I don’t think we should stop two people who love each other from having the same rights as other’s. I am a big believe of seperation of church and state. Same sex couples just want the same rights as everyone else and they want to share their joy just like everyone else. Really like your posts!

    • Becca Rose

      Thank you!! And thanks for reading.

  • Megz Stroback

    Well written thanks. I wish that couples had the same rights all over the world that couples in Iowa have. We Iowans are lucky to have same sex marriage

  • Jennifer Still

    AHHH BECCA ROSE, MY HERO. Love this, love your writing and your eloquence in having these really important conversations. :)

    • Becca Rose

      Thank you Jenn!!

  • Lily Lopez

    “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.”
    I commend your heart for the love others. However, I want to clarify that the above quote is not accurate. The whole struggle is not this. The whole struggle is the world stripping away the true meaning of marriage, that is, the illustration it carries as the covenant relationship between God and His people. With covenants there is an agreement between two or more parties and both are held accountable to this agreement by refraining from certain acts. For example, when two enter a marriage both agree that they will refrain from sexual relations with others. In a covenant, the greater of the parties regulates what is acceptable and what is not. In this case, that would be God. Therefore, since God has decreed that marriage is to be between a man and a woman His people cannot break this, lest they break the whole covenant. You see, this is all greater than ourselves. Now, there are many details that people would get caught up on such as the belief among some Christians that homosexuality in there opinion is okay. I disagree, according to the word of God. But I would say that I would not politically force this decision on anyone because God does not force us to adhere to this covenant with Him. He won’t force His love on us. He gives us the choice. However, we must keep in mind that He is equally a God of love and judgement, these two things cannot be divorced. Therefore, we can expect consequences from our breaking of His covenant. Side note: this covenant arrangement only includes Christians, that is, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and believe that He died for our sins and rose to life on the 3rd day, giving us life as well.

    • Becca Rose

      Actually, I stand by my statement as being totally accurate. Ask any member of the LGBT community why they want to get married and I absolutely guarantee none of them will answer “to strip away the meaning of the covenant between God and his people.” What they’d tell you is a lot closer to what I wrote. Also, if you believe you are in a covenant with God, that’s great. Here is some more great news: you don’t have to break it. Because no one is forcing you to get married in a same-sex relationship. Nobody’s going to force you to be gay. Isn’t that wonderful? But you’d rather force people to be straight in order to have them conform to what you believe about God? That seems a little bit off to me. Also, I am willing to bet money that you have attended or been invited to a wedding at some point in your life where the straight couple were not Christians. Did the idea of someone marrying outside of God’s covenant bother you so much then? Probably not.

      • Lily Lopez

        I have a quick question. Becca, what do you think of the spiritual realm? (i.e. angels, demons, visions, etc.)

        • Becca Rose

          Well, I was raised in a charismatic Pentecostal church. So I grew up believing them to be totally normal. Let me say real quick that the idea some charismatics use – that homosexuality is a demonic influence – is entirely offensive and completely, for lack of a better word, stupid. My current thoughts on the spiritual realm are doubtful, but I do believe it has some precedent and probably exists in some capacity.

    • Anastasia Alaniz

      While I know this to be true, I’d like to point out that a vast amount of Christians – not all, but a lot in my experience – pick and choose what to abide by. It also says that drinking enough to become foolish (being drunk) is a sin. Yet most people don’t care about that. Looking/thinking about a person who is not your spouse with lust in your heart is also a sin, not just having sex with them out of wedlock. Yet I’m sure many Christians don’t abide that. Adultery is also a sin, but again, there are Christian’s don’t abide by that. So in truth, that shouldn’t be used to validate their anti-gay sentiments. If they don’t avoid all the sins, who are they to preach against those who wish to get married to the same gender? I’m sorry, I refuse to believe that any amount of love can be viewed as a sin. That’s just ridiculous. As far as I know, God said it is only His right to judge and yet a lot of Christian’s parade around condemning gays to hell, which is a sin in and of itself. God also said to hate the sin, not the sinner. To love thy neighbor. It’s really funny how a lot of Christian’s choose to avoid those facts, however, and not just in relation to gays.

  • Lily Lopez

    Woah! wrote a lot. lol

  • Rachel Pody Allen

    As a Christian, I do not feel attacked by this article. I agree that in the arena of government, Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. In the same light I do not think the government has the right or authority to punish or force churches and individual pastors to preform homosexual ceremonies if it goes against the tenets of their faith. I think that when the law is passed approving same sex marriage, it should include a clause that religious groups cannot be forced to accept or order the marriage ceremonies for that is an infringement on the religious freedom. I thank you for voicing your opinion with eloquence and I think it should be understood there are a lot of religious people in America that are struggling with how to balance this idea. I am one of those who thinks there is a middle of the road answer where people can be loved and values can stay intact.

  • Georgie Girdwood

    this article managed to eloquently express my exact thoughts on the entire issue – in fact, on many issues around today. the need for secular government is just as important as that for democratic government, in my eyes.

  • Ashley Wilson

    This is brilliant. I think our personal beliefs go so much further and mean so much more when we allow others to have personal beliefs as well. Personally, I think the relationship between government and morality is so sticky. Shouldn’t it be up to me as to whether or not I want to use birth control, have an abortion, or marry a woman?

  • Allie Zootman

    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.

    • Julia Gazdag

      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.

    • Becca Rose

      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.

    • Alicia Nicole

      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?

    • Emily Reed

      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.

  • Sarah Moore

    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.

  • Camille Eisenhauer

    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.

    • Becca Rose

      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.

    • Sarah-Lambert Bender

      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?

      • Becca Rose


    • Camille Eisenhauer

      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.

      • Becca Rose

        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.

  • Kelly Lawler

    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!

    • Becca Rose

      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.

  • Arri Stigen

    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!

    • Becca Rose

      Hi! Wow, thank YOU.

  • Emily Ciara Riffle

    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. :)

    • Becca Rose

      Ah, thank you :)

  • Kelly Erin

    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.

    • Becca Rose

      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.

  • Kelly Erin

    ^^ 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.

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