Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Gay Marriage (Marriage Equality) Means to Me

I have been spending a lot of time in retrospection trying to understand what God is doing in my life and what he wants me to do. It seems that a lot of history has been made this week. A bill that would make abortions very difficult to get in Texas was struck down by an epic filibuster and the Supreme Court struck down some of the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act. Both of these things make me happy.

Now, before I begin, I will tell you why I think DOMA should have been deemed unconstitutional from the beginning. It has nothing to do with religion or God. Our constitution includes the Full Faith and Credit Clause. In practice, this clause means that legal records and judgments made in one state shall be recognized in another. Put another way, if I am convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in Nevada but flee to California, I will still be arrested and put in prison. This extends to legal records as well. For all of us that have moved to a different state than our birth state, we know that you don't have to get a new certificate of birth in your new state. Marriage licenses and certificates are legal records. That record is recognized in other states. The Full Faith and Credit Clause makes DOMA unconstitutional in that it allows states and the government to ignore these legal records that were obtained legally in other states.

But that is apparently beside the point.

Full disclaimer: I mostly identify as being straight but I do have some feelings toward other women occasionally. I identify as being straight because the amount of men I find to be physically attractive far outweighs the women and that I've never really wanted to start a relationship with another woman.

With that out of the way, I believe God makes us all they way we are for a reason. I am tall and slightly manish. I have a mind for engineering and I suffer from depression I also enjoy singing. I believe all of these were given to me by God to put me on the path that he wants me to be on. I don't always understand the reasons but I try to use what I have to follow the path set out of for me. Being scientifically minded as well, I have seen the studies and research that shows that sexual orientation and identity is linked to specific activity in the brain. One study, done in 2008, showed that people who like men have similar brains. I believe that God has made certain people gay just like he made me with greenish blue eyes. I don't understand the reason but I believe this is part of God's plan for that person.

When Jesus began his ministry, one of the things he was known for was breaking the rules. He would "work" on the Sabbath, associate himself with lowlifes and he spoke out against the Pharisees. The word pharisee means set apart and the Pharisees of the New Testament believed themselves to be righteously set apart by God and that this gave them the right to go to heaven. They followed the rules strictly and looked down on those who couldn't. Jesus came in and told them they were all the same. Jesus spoke out against this inequality that the Pharisees has made in the Jewish society. He made ALL equal in sin and ALL equal in their chance to achieve salvation. This extended to the prostitutes of the New Testament. Does this not also extend to gay people. Just because my life and my sin does not look like theirs does not mean I get to marginalize them as being unholy, unrighteous, sinful, and without rights.

With the past three paragraphs, I validated the existence of gay people in God's plan. Now I will tell you why they should be allowed to get married or, rather, why people who are of legal age should be allowed to marry whomever they wish.

I believe that God wants us to be happy and content. I do not believe that he made us to suffer constantly. He gave us voices that can sing and bodies that can dance so that we can express joy. If God has made some people gay then gay people are meant to be be happy too. God does not guarantee that we will always find a reason to dance all the time but we are meant to find happiness and contentment in our lives.

Marriage is indeed defined in the Bible. However, we have also made in our society a definition of marriage that does not have a  religious root. This societal marriage is purely legal. I am married and I know that, while I said vows, the only part the state cared about was the signing of the contract. In that, I believe there are effectively two forms of marriage. One is the faith based marriage where you form a covenant before God with the person you marry. The other is government based where you sign a contract with another person and this allows you certain rights. Both are present in my marriage but one can exist without the other. I believe that this is the honest solution to the "problem" we have in our current society. Our own constitution calls for use to have a separation of Church and State. Let us separate it here as well. Anyone who is of legal age can go and sign a marriage licence at a courthouse and become legally married and have the rights that gives them. This should be the only way to get those legal rights. If those two people also want to form a covenant before God, then they can find a church that approves of their marriage and they can become spiritually married as well. This gives people the right to marry whomever they wish but also allows churches only perform marriages they support. This allows a true separation of Church and State in this situation without taking rights from anyone.

In conclusion, I believe God makes us the way we are, even gay people. I believe God wants us to be happy. I believe marriages have two parts, spiritual and legal, that can exist independently of each other. But most of all, I believe that Jesus preached equality in all aspects of our lives and that we need to support equality.

I know I mentioned being happy about an abortion bill being killed in a filibuster but I don't have time to talk about it just now. Maybe another time?