the grave gavel and same sex marriage

the grave gavel and same sex marriage cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
(click on image for nakedpastor’s shop or contact David if interested in original)

Several years ago I worked in the States for a while. My wife’s American but I still needed a worker’s visa. But when I lost my job, there we were stuck with a house and van that we’d bought. Lisa and the kids booted it back to Canada to recover while I stayed down in the States to sell the house and van. Officially I was now there illegally. It was a very strange feeling being alive and well but somehow invalid. Existentially I felt both human and illegitimate through no fault of my own. Paranoia pervaded my breathing space.

Put yourself in the shoes of those who love another person and want to officially and publicly promise to spend the rest of their lives in mutual trust, commitment and love as a normal human aspiration. But underneath it all is this vague or explicit claim that it is illegitimate and invalid through no fault of their own. How would you like to feel like an outlaw whose life is nullified as illicit? How would you feel for your basic impulses to be illegal?

Whether or not you agree with the legality of it, that is how people genuinely feel. I’m asking how you would feel.

The scythe, like a giant question, hangs over our heads.

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  • i feel like this is the best summation of the “issue” that i’ve ever seen– thank you, David.

    We need to remember that at the heart of “issues” are *people*. What is just a theological argument for straights is *life* for those of us in the LGBTQ community. We’re human, we have all the desires the rest of y’all have: love and commitment and intimacy. It’s not about an issue, it’s about people– we cannot forget this.

  • thanks ally. yes… it is about people.

  • Eric

    Waiaminit…?!?!?! You want people to have *empathy*?!?!?!?

    Really?!?!?! Good luck with that.

    Seriously, though: great post. Prayer God works through hardened hearts, bro.

  • Kris

    My belief in marriage equality was cemented through my job. Quite stressful but there are times when I learn something from the people I talk to. A man called in need of a transplant and his partner, another man, got on the phone. They were looking for places where he could get it. The love and concern of his partner was as strong as that of any straight couple. But in my head I am going “did they make arrangements so if the patient is unable to make medical decision for himself, his partner can do it and not be shut out towards what could be the end of his life?” People dealing with that should not have to worry about those things. Marriage should be for love but there has always been a legal component to it-a very important one. You are giving this person special access to your life and the ability to make decisions when you can’t. Live and let love!

  • Caryn LeMur

    As a Bible-based Christian, I think the Americans are finally getting the Supreme Court question right: this is about impartiality of blessings; it is not about God’s plan shown in the Garden of Eden.

    Giving equal human blessings to those we call ‘evil or good’ or those we call ‘just or unjust’ is our obligation as followers of Jesus, per His own words in Matthew Chapter 5. This is why so many American Christians that are Bible-believing are in favor of “Federal Recognition of all Legal Marriages”. Federal recognition, and then State recognition, ensures the equality of blessings taught by Jesus.

    Great cartoon, David! And I enjoyed your text, as well… I am sorry you had that experience of being a substandard American, so to speak… but glad, because it worked compassion into your heart.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Adam Julians

    Yes feelings are important and I undestand how being in the country illegally but needin to to sell the house and the van must have felt. On a lesser scale, when I have visited the US, I see myself described as a “legal alien”. Hmmm not exactly bringing out the welcom mat on that one. Ironically, once in US I have found a lot of Americans to be very hospitable.

    I hear the importance of feelings. And I would affrm that. Sometimes feelings like alienation are indeed an indication infringement on a basic human need for mutual trust, companionship love, something that most if not all humans would aspire too. At the same time, is it very common to hear nowadays people saying “I’m not quite comfortable with that”, “That offends me” or words to that effect. Being uncomfortable is normal, healthy and how horizons are broardened. I was uncomfortable at my first day at school, the first time I stepped in a car to drive, the first time I went on a date, my first holiday tripn abroard, the first time I sat behind the controls of an aircraft when I was learning to fly.

    Gay marriage is a hot topic for a lot of people and is going to bring up strong emotions in debate in contemporary culture. Homosevuality seemse to have been less of an issue at differing times in history and in differing cultures. Baptism for example at one point in history being a bone of contention to the point of people being murdered over difference of opinons on the issue. People can be stupid and arrogant sometimes.

    I beleive that when our feelings come into line with justice and what is right, then we expereince a sureness, a peace in ourselves. Then if we pratcise such justice and love there is no reason at all why we can’t live in harmony and appreciate differences where appreciation and welcoming of differences adds to the richness of life.

  • Carol

    You are asking people in an emotionally and sexually WASP Country to put *feelings* above legality? You gotta be kidding!!! Don’t you know the difference between English and Continental Law?

    Oh, wait. Ethnic minorities, especially Hispanics, are a growing segment of the population. There just be a chance for a better chance of tempering “justice” with mercy in this Nation where “Christianity” [actually churchianity] has become the de facto civil religion.

  • Carol

    Opps! I meant “emotionally and sexually repressed WASP Country” in case you haven’t already figured that out.

  • Adam Julians

    FYI Justin Welby on gay marriage and the ordination of women.

  • Chester McMackin

    In interest of research which I continue to follow, I would appreciate where ,in the Bible, SPECIFIC reference is is made to marriage and the vows that are exchanged to the couple involved. I get the impression the “vows’ smack of human composition , and with the imperfection of people, are easily ignored and/or broken. While I am not in favor of same sex marriage, it is none of my business if the involved couples choose this form of intending life long commitment. It is the commitment that counts in earthly life, not the Man Made Mutterings Marriages which are so significantly involved in non-0bservation of so many. present day unions of couples.
    I am not looking for an argument, but am open to exchange of reasoned debate. Each person is entitled to an opinion, and I am one of those defenders of such right.

  • Gary

    One person’s debate is another’s argument. Often the distinction is only in the eye of the beholder.

    I found the following article, pertaining to biblical vows, very interesting. There is no record of “vows” ever being made in regards to marriage in the bible and Dr. Martin makes a compelling case that the making of vows in general is not appropriate for NT Christians at all. (Even marital vows)

    Disclaimer: While I no longer hold everything in scripture to be binding upon believers (I believe much of scripture is the product of man and therefor fallible) it is useful to know it well when discussing topics such as these with believers who would use the bible as their trump card in all discussions.

  • Caryn LeMur

    Gary: I read the article. It was an interesting piece.

    Did you notice how the author did not address the concept of ‘divorce is prohibited’ in the New Testament, and appealed back to the Old Testament for divorce being allowed? Yet, in the same article, the author contended that the New Testament statement “there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus” was dominant over the Old Testament’s handling of a woman’s vow being dismissable? In my mind, the article therefore lacked consistency – either the NT is dominant over all the OT; or the OT is dominant over all the NT; or, the author must clearly show extraordinary rationale for such an inconsistent approach.

    Concerning ‘vows’, the author appealed to a strict interpretation (that a valid vow required a temple or sacrifices), and not to an overriding principle. I found this approach also interesting – specification is dominant over principle. I am concerned that the author did not explain why specification made NT ‘vows’ possible (or impossible) in principle.

    For example, and in my opinion, the specification of a bird’s nest upon the ground does not invalidate the principle of ‘showing mercy during a time of windfall profits’. The specification of ‘not muzzling the ox that treads the corn’ does not invalidate the principle of paying wages to workers in God’s fields.

    I tend to believe the NT is dominant over the OT. I also tend to believe that principles are dominant over specification.

    Nonetheless, it was an interesting article that showed an author marshalling arguments according to a ‘mixed’ approach (NT is dominant in one case; OT is dominant in another case), and according to a specification-approach (specifics are dominant over principles).

    Thank you for sharing the link. Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • Gary

    Hi Caryn, thanks for your comment;

    Yes I also saw the inconsistency in the author’s approach as you did though my interest was primarily in the overall use of vows in general and their absence from the marriage covenant. I think the inconsistency you identify is inevitable when one argues from the position of biblical infallibility, since scripture itself is inconsistent. I too, as a general view, hold the NT to be dominant over the OT. And in likewise fashion I hold the law of love to be dominant over the NT.

  • Ciera

    I feel this way concerning my domestic partnership. The piece of paper wouldn’t affect our relationship one bit, but it would make my life easier when it came to paperwork and such lol

    And it would ease a few family relations. But I’m not leaving him based on their technicality so they pretty much have to live with it.

  • i hear ya Ciera