Does Gay Marriage Violate Your Religious Values?

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We’re reaching a crossroads in the way our country treats its LGBT citizens. The dominos are starting to fall–Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and more now allow gay marriage.

Does this change in law violate your religion? No, and I’ll explain why that cannot be the case.

First Amendment to our Constitution opens with: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In plain words, this means that we are protected from a state religion–and religion has protection from the state.

Although the word “marriage” is significant in many religions, the word has been used by the state to define a set of privileges granted to a married couple. The rights of the people MUST be protected, and the rights of your church, synagogue, temple, mosque or other house of worship must ALSO be protected.

The state must enforce rights equally, regardless of orientation, but your house of worship will NEVER be forced to marry or recognize two same-sex people.

It’s that simple.

It is therefore anti-American to define a legal term (marriage) from the viewpoint of a religious creed and insist that definition apply to every citizen. By fact, this would define a state religion.

We’ve received more hate mail regarding gay marriage than any other subject in our 12-year publishing history–almost all of it from self-described American “Christians” who either disregard this concept or don’t understand it.


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However, gay marriage is not anti-Christian, nor does defending it from a constitutional standpoint contradict the intent of the Christian framers of our Constitution. The core of Christianity is built on the concept of liberation, as is the foundation of our country. This concept of liberation so antagonized the oppressive Roman government that the soldiers of that state crucified Christ by driving nails into his body to hang him until he died of blood loss and asphyxiation.

The history of liberators is defined by sacrifice. From the battlefields of the Revolution and the Civil War to the murder of civil-rights activists, the yoke of bondage is never lifted by the oppressor. It must be thrown off by the oppressed.

As the framers could not anticipate women’s suffrage, they could not anticipate LGBT rights. However, the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution enabled our Constitution to be a living document, subject to evolution. In doing so, they not only created the planet’s longest-lived Constitution, they created a nation that has liberated more people and thereby built more wealth than any other.

Liberators such as Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tell us with their deeds, speeches and writings with absolute certainty that our nation’s sustainability demands that we continuously and righteously expand civil and human rights for all citizens of all faiths.

It is our birthright and our obligation to continue lifting the yoke of bondage from our fellow citizens–and we will do so. This is why gay marriage will happen.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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15 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Good day sir. You stated that ‘the core of Christianity is built on the concept of liberation, as is the foundation of our country.’ This is partly correct. However I believe you left out a critical element regarding Christianity’s core. It is a faith in Jesus, dying as you’ve detailed, so that we might be liberated from sin. This is critical to the Christian faith. The question that arises is then – what is ‘sin’? I am a sinner. We are all sinners. There isn’t one man or woman that isn’t. This is another basic and critical point in the Christian faith. I have what is promised in the holy text, through my faith in Jesus Christ – liberation from sin.

  • Anonymous

    Not that it matters, but I am a married, heterosexual man. I love my wife. I enjoy women. I have never had a homosexual experience, nore have I had any desire or urge for one. I say this as a preface to my remarks to show that I have no agenda, or axe to grind. My wife and I have discussed this issue and find no threat to us, our relationship or our marriage frome same sex marriage. Religionists opposed to same sex Marriage tend to speak in generalities and abstracts. However, they never answer this question, I want to hear one specific instance… How are you damaged, dimininished, harmed or hurt? How does it hurt you that two people who love, respect and have committed to one another can have one or the other covered by their health insurance are you damaged, dimininished, harmed or hurt? How does it hurt you that two people who love, respect and have committed to one another can visit if one is critically ill in the hospital are you damaged, dimininished, harmed or hurt? How does it hurt you that two people who love, respect and have committed to one another if one can make a choice about the others healthcare if the other is incapacitated are you damaged, dimininished, harmed or hurt?. How does it hurt you that one of the two people who love, respect and have committed to one another can inherit the home they shared, the estate and the keepsakes that have been a part of their lives when the other dies are you damaged, dimininished, harmed or hurt? How does it hurt you that two people who love, respect and have committed to one another, have adopted and raised a child together, can get the custody or access, through visitation, to a child that they have raised, nurtured and cared for together throughout that childs life in the event of separation or death, are you damaged, dimininished, harmed or hurt? Knowing most religionist are sincere in their beliefs, I am certain they have convinced themselves that you are hurt in some way by homosexuals. However, they tend to talk in the abstract. They are talking out of their religious conviction. They and their church have the right, under the law and the Constitution, not to perform the marriage rites for homosexuals. However, marriage exists on two levels. To certain religions marriage is a four-way compact between god, society and each of the partners. However, under the law and socially it is a three-way contract between the two partners and society. The law lays out the rights, priviliges and responsibilities of each partner to one another and between society and the partners. In that context we are talking of civil rights. If two people are married in the context of a church service they accept certain responsibilities to their church and their deity(s) that are above and beyond the society at large. In most states the marriage ceremony ends w/ a statement such as, “… by the authority vested in me by the state of **, I now pronounce you …” That phrase is the crux(no pun intended) of this discussion. Whether the person who officiates calls on the blessing of their god(s) or not the authority for the marriage comes from the state. The permits (marriage license) are issued by the state. the rules, laws, rights, responsibilities and restrictions are established by the state. The XIV Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states,”…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; …” and”…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…” The I Amendment establishes, “…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” Denying people their “…equal protection of the laws…” Imposing arbitrary rules and laws based on religious doctrine and dogma constitutes “…law respecting an establishment of religion…” An american citizen is one of “We the people…” who has committed to “…form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”(Preamble to the Constitution of the United States,17 September 1787). If you can show me satisfactorily how any of the stated purposes of our country specifically are undermined, diminished, harmed or hurt by granting to two people who, out of love, have committed to sharing a life together the rights and priviliges enjoyed by every other couple that have made that committment. If you, as a member of a church, wish to deny homosexuals the sacrament, the fellowship and the community of your church that is your right. Under the First Amendment to the Constitution that is your right. However, to deny anyone the protection of the law is an abomination under heaven and on Earth. It must not be allowed to exist. Anyone who disagrees with that is well within their rights to leave. As I have said before, christians, who appear to have the strongest objection to same sex marriage, must decide… Are you Christians living in America OR are you Americans who practice christianity? As an after word, any rights that are denied to even the least of us in our society diminishes us all. I am sorry if you don’t understand that. In the spirit of this current discussion any one who would deny another their rights and priviliges under the law is declaring themselves an “… enemy of the Constitution of the United States of America…”The holiest, most sacred document written in all the history of mankind. Discrimination of any form has no place in it, nor in it’s laws. Not now, Not ever! I have sent letters asking this question to Rick Warren, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Pat Boone, Cary Prejean as well as a number of other people public and private who have expressed objections to same sex marriage. Needless to say none of them have ever provided and answer.

  • Anonymous

    Paul, You comment is very thoughtful and well reasoned. I am sure your motive is honorable. I will answer your question. Some Americans believe that God has a moral standard for humanity. A very large number of Americans believe that our society is harmed when we act in a way that is contrary to this standard. Many Americans believe there are consequences to moral decisions. Many Americans believe that gay marriage is a moral issue. Some, like you, wish to frame the discussion as a civil rights issue. However, the majority of Americans disagree. The victories identified in this article have almost all been been achieved through judicial activism. Judicial activism is great when its going your way. But, don’t forget, the Dred Scott decision was another example of judicial activism. I must respectfully disagree with Luke’s comment “but your house of worship will NEVER be forced to marry or recognize two same-sex people”. I predict that that in the near future it will become a hate crime to read Romans chapter (1) in a church in America.

    • grannybunny

      You are wrong in claiming that “the majority of Americans disagree” that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. However, minority rights don’t depend on majority will; legal victories frequently precede changes in public attitudes, not the other way around. For some, it is also a moral issue; however, you cannot legislate morality. You are also wrong about reading scripture in church somehow becoming a hate crime. The First Amendment protects religious practices, just as it protects the freedom from religion of those who do not share the same views.

  • Anonymous

    These Christians that have replied here are blinded by their false prophet. They pray and speak in tongues about their false prophet. Don’t they understand that “Christian Morals” is a false prophet. These “Christian morals” cause untold thousands of deaths to others that held different religious beliefs. These morals were used to justify slavery in America for generations. These morals are used as justification to throw family members out of the family to live on street corners and rely on sex to get money for food. These morals are used to keep homeless people from finding work or housing. These moral values are used to ban and ridicule followers of other religions trying to follow their own beliefs, other religions that do believe in same sex marriage and that do understand that people are not binary as far as gender and sex ual orientation are concerned.

    Just like Jesus told the merchant, that to really follow him, he had to put away his wealth, St. Paul told Christians that they needed to put away marriage if they were to really follow him on his path following Jesus. Their morals are really a brand of their failure to truely follow in Christ’s footsteps.

    Just as one guest reply made a prediction about freedom of religion, I make my own prediction. At the second coming of Christ, he will be a transgender woman, probably black, and these so-called “Christians” will put her to death, just as the Jewish people did the first time.

    WHATEVER YOU DID UNTO ONE OF THE LEAST, YOU DID UNTO ME … Matthew 25:45

    Just remember that when you deny a gay or a transgender person or a prostitute or a drug addict or an American Indian, or a Muslim or anyone else a job or a place to sleep or food in the name of your “Morals”.

  • Anonymous

    as a gay christain lol yes we do exist i find it hard to belive that theys people really belive god wants to denigh rights and protection to anyone people the god and jesus i know is love not hate peace not anger god created all men in his image did he not and all men have a destany and that all men (and i say men as a term for our whole human race) are born into sin and all sin is equall unto the lord so how can two ppl that love each other getting married and takeing a vow under god and the law evil and dont spout the leviticus line either cause a little bit after it says basicly anyone who eats shrimp or lobster is an abominaion as well but you all say that was a different time and no longer applys you cant have it both ways.

  • 1. “marriage” is a sacramental bond before God.(church)

    2. “civil union” grants all legal rights under US governement law. (state)

    3. Don’t confuse the two.

    • grannybunny

      Marriage is also a civil union that grants legal rights under state and Federal law. The two are intermixed.

  • grannybunny

    I do have a question about the so-called “Christian framers of our Constitution.” Weren’t some of our Founding Fathers Deists? If so, I do not believe they would be considered “Christian.”

  • Anonymous2

    If the general idea is that Gay marriage offers no harm and should be accepted and acknowledge as other types of marriages, then it is equally suitable to say that polygamy should be equally accepted as such after all whose business is it if a man wishes to marry three women. There was a recent case where a judge in Florida named three persons as parents on a birth certificate.

    This is a debate that goes beyond just religion. Religion is a basis and foundation for the discussion but the core of the discussion has to center on what is the most fundamental definition of what is a marriage.

    • Luke Visconti

      Extending parity for the legal contract of marriage to the millions of LGBT people in our country is in no way “equally suitable” to polygamy. It’s a disingenuous argument and, in my opinion, hateful. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

    • Harry Coverston

      “f the general idea is that Gay marriage offers no harm and should be accepted and acknowledge as other types of marriages, then it is equally suitable to say that polygamy should be equally accepted..”

      Why would that be true? This is a rather classic logical fallacy called the slippery slope argument: If X then Y must occur.

      Polygamy and same sex marriage are not terribly analogous any more than the red herring of bestiality which is generally the fall back argument when polygamy doesn’t work. Same sex marriage is analogous to different sex marriage. It involves two consenting adults who wish their marriage to be legally recognized and to enjoy the benefits and meet the obligations under that recognition. That is not true in either polygamy or bestiality.

  • Tired of the Gay Agenda

    Luke, you and DiversityInc. have gone off the deep end. At the end of the day, this issue isn’t about marriage equality. It’s about the fight against the erosion of family values. As a father, there is no way that I’m going to point at a man with another man, or a woman with another woman, rolling a baby carriage down the street and telling my young and impressionable children “hey kids, you see that? That’s NORMAL.” Because its NOT. Never has been, either. You and others should be ashamed that you espouse (no pun intended) this redefinition of the family unit. There are plenty of other legal vehicles that are either in place or that can be constructed to allow marriage-like benefits to LBGT folks without forcing the rest of us NORMAL married couples to swallow (again, no pun intended) a redefinition of our marriages.

    For LBGTs, this is about MONEY. LBGT folks want to get tax breaks, inheritance, insurance policies, etc. etc. etc…the genesis of this mess has never been some altruistic or noble cause of equality. It has been about MONEY. The Silent Majority of America can sniff the bull all too readily. You tout that the gay lifestyle is “normal”…but have you seen a Gay Pride parade, with wierdos prancing around in diapers, dressed as animals, rubbing each other with lube, fornicating with props, etc. etc.? That’s not NORMAL. And it’s not the type of lifestyle Americans are going to invite into the living room under the guise of Marriage Equality…so get real. This is not Civil Rights…it’s typical fringe group making enough noise and getting support from spineless politicians.

    • Luke Visconti

      Yes, it’s about money—the money all the charlatans collect from people like you in the name of religion. The same kind of people who used the Bible to justify slavery, women’s suffrage and civil rights. New day, new issue, same old tactics. Want to see a weirdo? Look up Marcus Bachmann or any of the other “pray the gay away” hucksters on YouTube. They look pretty weird to me. And as far as “normal” heterosexual behavior goes, look up the stats for porn and check out what goes on at “gentlemen’s clubs” across the country.

      Finally, all the religious arguments in the world don’t hold a candle to the First Amendment of our Constitution, which protects us against a state-run religion—and protects religion from the state. So we are protected from people like you, and houses of worship are protected against doing things that violate their sense of religion (such as marrying two men or two women).

      If the hate you have in your heart is from your questioning your own orientation, I suggest you see a counselor. It’s not wrong to want love in your life. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Harry Coverston

    Actually, this syllogism is faulty. Here’s a more historically accurate version:

    1. Marriage is a socially constructed practice which predates the rise of all religions. It has been constructed in a number of configurations historically and has varied by culture. It has had varying forms of social constructions, varied religious understandings and practices and varied legal recognition and corresponding rights and obligations thereunder.

    2. Religions have constructed understandings and practices of marriage within the bonds of their own commonly held culturally values. As such, all religious constructions of marriage are self-referential and often self-serving. As a sacramental Christian (I’m an Episcopal priest) I value the understanding of marriage as a sacramental rite. But I also recognize that even within Christianity, the very construct of sacrament is not universally shared. Hence, while I may speak for my own tradition when I talk about marriage as a sacrament, I never confuse that understanding with a normative understanding that is, can or should be held by everyone. To engage in that line of thought is little more than self-serving religious imperialism.

    3. In my tradition and in many others, the religious recognition of marriages occurs within the context of community. In the Book of Common Prayer’s marriage rite, we ask the assembled “Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage? ” to which the response is “We will.” There is a recognition here that the blessing of that relationship occurs within the context of a community where it will find its life, expression and support. As such, it is a community affair and it would be inappropriate for any religious community to seek to impose its values on the next or on the public generally. Indeed, for the humble religious community, it would be the height of self-serving arrogance to presume that its expression necessarily spoke for the deity.

    4. Civil Unions have roundly proven to be a failure in ensuring that the basic rights of gay couples are protected. Every court in which they have been challenged has recognized that failure. Many states do not recognize them and most businesses will not provide the same benefits to civilly united couples as legally married couples. Justice Ginsberg rightly called this “skim milk marriage.” But, given its fairly widespread failure as an alternative to first class citizenship for gay couples, it probably should be called sour milk marriage.

    5. Legal recognition of marriages has varied throughout history including within the United States. U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren once spoke of “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” in a decision that dealt with citizenship and has been used in a wide range of cases ever since. The recognition of courts, state and local governments and more recently plebiscites of the people themselves evidence an evolving standard of decency in the way our society treats its gay and lesbian fellow citizens. This is a much broader question than socially constructed practices, the understandings of a given religious tradition or the practices of a religious community.

    These things should not be confused.

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