Should This Be Illegal?

I encourage you to take 15 minutes out of your day and watch this video.  It’s the wedding video of a gay couple who were “married” this summer in Minneapolis.* (If you need proof that these are Minnesotans of Scandinavian ancestry, hang till the dancing at the end. That’ll prove it to you.)  If you suffer from the “Ick Factor” when same-gendered persons kiss, this will push some buttons for you.

I’m NOT asking you to consider if this is biblical or unbiblical.  I’m asking you to consider whether it is good public policy to outlaw this:

From the videographer:

Marriage equality is something that I’m passionate about and so I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Patrick and Scott asked me to film their wedding day. When thinking about what to write here, maybe a political statement, a witty argument, and so on, I quickly realized that nothing I could say comes close to what is communicated through watching Patrick and Scott get married while surrounded by the love and support of their friends and family. Their day was absolutely stunning and every detail was packed with signifigance and meaning, right down to the wedding cake wrapped in vintage postage stamps in honor of Patricks Grandfather who was an avid collector. The Loring Pasta Bar and The Varsity couldn’t have been more beautiful and ran more smoothly thanks to the amazing Todd and his wonderful team. It was truly a day I’ll never forget and I was so honored to have captured it. Elizabeth couldn’t have put it more eloquently during the ceremony, “When our law lags behind, people continue to live their truth and create their own version of a family, and this is what Patrick and Scott are deciding to do today.” In lieu of wedding gifts they asked guests to contact their members of congress in support of repealing the defense of marriage act – and if you could do the same that would be amazing.

UPDATE: When Scott and Patrick saw their film for the first time they said they wanted the whole world to see it – so it was sent out to friends, tweeted, and posted on Facebook. It then got picked up by some prominent blogs and sites and within the first week it was over 8K views in 97 countries. The response has been overwhelming and positive. Often times gay marriage and homosexuality in general can become just an issue, talking point or simple debate, but Patrick and Scott give it a face and it beautifully becomes so much more. Please continue to share this video with friends and family and celebrate the love and commitment of this amazing couple!

To purchase the songs used in this video:
Love who you love – Rascal Flatts
Lights – Ellie Goulding
Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga live on Howard Stern
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

HT: Riley O’Brien Powell

*I put words like “married” and “marriage” in quotes, not because I’m being ironic or pissy.  These are not rhetorical quote marks.  They are to indicate that we in Minnesota are actually debating the very definition of those words.  Thus, the sentence: Here in Minnesota, we are defining the word “marriage.”  That’s why I enclose that word in quote marks…for now.

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  • Charles

    It’s ignorant (kindest word I could think of) to outlaw love. Great video!

  • Tony, thank you so much for sharing this video. I hadn’t seen it or heard of it before, and watching it moved me to tears. That was beautiful. And thank you for your unwavering support; through the eyes of a young gay Christian guy like me, you are giving a voice to the marginalized and outcast, the ones that society and unfortunately even some members of the Church try to paint as perversions of humanity. God bless you for that. God bless you for standing up to restore dignity and humanity to people like me. True, I don’t have a Patrick or Scott in my life yet, but one day I hope to. And when that day is here, I know that even though many may come against me, there will be voices that speak with power and authority from the Kingdom – voices like yours. Thank you.

  • No.

  • CJ

    Not to mention that only Scandinavians have to promise to not be “too stoic.” This is beautiful.

    The promises we make to each other in marriage are about love and fidelity and respect and those have no gender.

  • Thank you Tony for continuing to be a vocal ally!

  • Frank

    There are a myriad of reasons why it’s in humanities best interests to maintain reproductive relationships within the confines of marriage.

    That being said I do not think that any two people should be prevented from spending their lives together from a legal prospective but it’s something other than marriage.

    • C. Ehrlich

      “…it’s in humanities best interests to maintain reproductive relationships within the confines of marriage.”

      Notice that this doesn’t imply that it would be in humanity’s interest to restrict marriage to reproductive relationships.

      • Frank

        That’s true. There are many marriages that do not produce children due to medical reasons or choice. However the biology of an opposite sex couple is the only biology that can produce offspring thus that union is unique and special and does not allow room for any other expression by its very nature.

        Civil unions with appropriate legal rights is the future.

        • Basil

          That may have been true once, but it is no longer true. The gay couple we bought our house from were moving out because they were having their first baby and needed a bigger place. I assume it was either a surrogacy or an adoption, but it doesn’t matter. The only difference between gay parents and straight parents is that gay parents can’t have an “accidental” baby. They actually have to plan to have a family. That is a good thing, everyone should plan before they have kids.

          • Frank

            Gay parents cannot have a genetically combined, biological baby. No way to dance around that.

            So what I said is still true.

          • Basil

            So I guess you are opposed to adoption as well. That’s very Christian of you, and not the least bit malicious, inconsistent, or hypocritical. Oh wait, it is all three of those.

          • Frank

            Basil what are you talking about?

            This is why no one takes your position seriously. You cannot form a cogent scriptural argument so you deflect.

            For the record I am all for adoption. Unwanted babies need both a loving father and mother.

  • Gerard Van der Mark

    Law has generally been always been in place for the protection, the benefit, and promotion of society, including the propagation of humankind. Not all forms of love fill that standard.

    • C. Ehrlich

      We also look to law to protect the interests of minority groups within a society. (So, e.g., whether or not the enslavement or disenfranchisement of a few will benefit and promote society as a whole, just laws will prevent it.)

      (You’re not seriously worried that gay marriage threatens “the propagation of humankind”, are you?)

      • Frank

        Normalizing any sin threatens the fabric of our society.

        • Frank,

          The fabric of our society is not threatened by my loving relationship to my wife with whom I’m making a life, raising kids, cooking meals, attending church, rescuing dogs from abuse, tending a beleaguered garden, being involved parents at an inner city charter school of which I am a founding parent, and passionately debating the tenets and tactics of the Occupy movement while most months barely scraping by despite the fact that we are both hard-working, tax paying, praying, giving and loving people. The fabric of our society is threatened by unchecked greed, narcissism, illiteracy, violence and a lack of regard for the actual lives that inhabit and shoulder this society.

          Your lesbian sister in Christ,

          • Frank

            Kimberly, she cannot be your wife because you cannot be a husband. That aside you can call her whatever you want but it does not make it so.

            While I agree that there are many threats to the fabric of our society, that fact does not negate that sin destroys, even if you think that something is not a sin. Sin is sin and not up for our “re-interpretation.”

          • Frank

            Kimberly not me, the bible and most of society says marriage is man. woman, husband/wife. Can’t have one without the other.

            So I’ll say again you can call her whatever you want but it does not make it so.

          • BonnyAnne

            She is, of course, your wife, in every sense of the word. (But you knew that.) Nothing that can be said will take that away. You love each other, and you are actively working for a better world. I can’t think of many things more Christian than that.

            Love God, and love thy neighbor, and everything else seems to fade into insignificance. Those two are hard enough.

            God bless you and your family!

        • C. Ehrlich

          We could try to use laws to make abnormal everything which Frank believes is sinful. Would this not also threaten the fabric of our society?

          • Frank

            Not me, the bible, Gods word, which I have yet to see referenced for any support of God condoning and/or blessing homosexuality.

            That being said I am of the personal belief that morality cannot be legislated.

          • Frank, just because YOU say she is not my wife does not make it so. I am her wife and she is mine. Your words do not negate my reality.

  • Larry

    What you blithely refer to as the “ick factor” isn’t merely dismissive but betrays the manipulative nature of your entire post. “Appeal to emotion” is considered a logical fallacy for good reason … it suggests an unwillingness to engage in an honest debate.

    Is it just the “ick factor” that finds me repulsed by the descriptions of Penn State’s Sandusky engaging in anal sex with young boys in the shower as well? Unnatural and immoral behavior quite naturally evokes immediate and appropriate visceral responses … responses you glibly frame as “icky”.

    You may not agree with the position taken by those who believe the embrace of homosexual marriage is ultimately crippling to society and an abrogation of biblical norms and morality … but you also betray the absence of a compelling counter argument.

    Amazingly, there are some whose commitment to truth is so vague and ephemeral that an emotionally charged video is all that is required to sway them. Sad … Joseph Goebbels relied on such tendencies to persuade unthinking people of his arguments too.

    Offer a compelling counter argument … or be honest enough to say you just don’t give a damn what the bible says.

    • Frank

      I have been waiting for ANY scriptural support for the belief that God condones and blesses homosexual relationships. I have been waiting a very long time!

    • Larry, to say that Goebbels used the same tactics as Tony is to commit the very crime you’re accusing him of. You want “emotionally charged”? Bring the Nazis into it.

      • Larry

        Zachary … really? You’re reminding me now of Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella. Take a deep breath, reread my post, employ sound reason (don’t forget to exhale) and then realize how absurd your post sounded.

  • Scot Miller

    Frank — Let me suggest you read “What the Bible Says–And Doesn’t Say–About Homosexuality” at ( According to their website, “Soulforce is committed to relentless nonviolent resistance to bring freedom to lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, and queer people from religious & political oppression.” You may disagree with their position, but they offer a persuasive case that the condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible is not as clear as some would suggest, and that one can be a Bible-believing Christian and affirm the rights of all sexual orientations.

    In addition, I would point out that there is no moral equivalence between homosexuality and pedophilia. Pedophilia is fundamentally immoral not only because it is harmful to the child (i.e., a consequentialist objection), but primarily because it uses force/coercion against someone who is incapable of offering their consent because he or she is a child (i.e., a Kantian objection). It is immoral to use a person as a sexual object and ignore their personhood. That’s why rape, incest, bestiality, etc. are immoral.

    Homosexuality is different than pedophilia because it involves two autonomous people who agree to the relationship. Children can’t consent to having sex, but adults can. I find strong moral objections to any relationship that violates the moral autonomy of another person, and it doesn’t matter if the violation is between people of the same sex or of different sexes. In the same way, I can’t find a plausible moral objection to any relationship of mutual respect and love.

    • Frank

      I have read all the supposed arguments from biblical “scholars” as they try and suggest that God condones homosexuality. Not a single one of them is compelling or has any scriptural support including the one you posted.

      Surely someone must be able to simply post a biblical verse supporting their position if it exists. Instead all we get is a dance around the clarity of the scripture that does exist.

      • Hey, Frank, way to ignore the thrust of Scot’s comment.

        • Frank

          Tony I have ignored nothing.

          The thrust of his post seemed to me to be that there is biblical evidence to support “one can be a Bible-believing Christian and affirm the rights of all sexual orientations.”

          I see no evidence for that.

          Please tell me what I have ignored and I will be happy to respond.

          • Basil

            Frank, you have never offered a solid, scripture-grounded reason for rejecting homosexuality. On the face of it, your beliefs contradict Mark 12:29 (Love your neighbor as yourself), since it was hateful of you to condemn and reduce Kimberly to being “sin”, and tell her that her wife was not her wife. That is malicious behavior on your part.

            That being said, as long as Kimberly can have her marriage recognized in law, I don’t think your opinion matters. She never invited you to her wedding. Civil law should not be used as a vehicle by a majority gets to express its hatred of a minority. This is a well established precedent in our legal tradition, and the grounds by which the courts struck down segregation and racial discrimination.

          • Frank

            Basil love is truth. It is mistaken to believe that love is tolerance and complete acceptance, that’s not love, that’s indifference.

            If you really love someone you will want the best for them and homosexuality is not it.

        • Larry

          Tony, surely you can rise to the challenge … offer the clear and unambiguous scriptural evidence. You know, the sort that doesn’t demand an embrace of your perspective before your nuanced interpretation becomes meaningful. The sort which only requires a clear statement supported obviously by scripture.

          • Larry, search the archives of this blog. I’ve spilled millions of pixels on the question you ask.

          • Frank

            So Tony it should be really simple for you to provide at least one sold scriptural support right now instead of deflecting, right?

        • Basil

          Frank always ignores scriptural arguments that don’t confirm his own prejudices, then he complains that there are no scriptural arguments in support of gay rights. Convenient isn’t it? No point in arguing with a closed circle.

          That being said, people are free to hold whatever prejudices they want. If he wants to be kind of vicious and tell Kimberly her wife is not her wife, that’s fine. We can tell him that his marriage isn’t valid either (assuming he is married), and that the woman he lives with must therefore be his concubine.

          All that really matters is that religious prejudice (mine or his) is not imposed upon others by means of civil law. The couple in the video should have their marriage recognized by law, because that is what matters. Who cares if Frank or any other so-called “Christian” recognizes their marriage? It’s not like they were invited to the wedding.

          • Frank

            Basil please show me one scriptural support that I ignored. Just one! If you can, otherwise everyone might think that you are simply resting on your opinion.

      • Frank,

        Here’s a list of more resources

        Plus a great book I have found to be immensely helpful is Jesus, The Bible and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers. I do hope you will actually take the time to read this book and process his journey before off handedly dismissing it. It’s a fantastic resource that comes with a study guide.

        Regardless of your religious convictions, there is this tiny matter separation of church and state that, as a citizen who deeply loves her troubled country, I would very much like to see upheld once and for all.

        • Frank

          Kimberly instead of finding more like-minded opinions how about you simply show us where in the bible God condones and/or blesses homosexuality. Certainly there is no need to write a whole book on if its simply there, right?

          • Tell ya what, you keep your version of Christianity and I will stick to mine.

          • Frank

            Deflecting as usual. So you have no scriptural support for your belief?

            Then you can keep your religion whatever it might be.

      • Scot Miller

        Frank, I really didn’t think you accept the rather lengthy argument at the Soulforce, since it’s clear that your mind is made up. But you can’t assert that nobody can give you a biblical argument, when I just showed you a rather lengthy one. If you disagree with the argument, then you need to say where it went wrong.

        You still haven’t convinced me that you are reading scripture correctly, especially since the Bible unequivocally supports infanticide when God commands the Israelites to “kill men, women, and children” who are God’s enemies. Do you believe that God is in favor of killing the babies of his enemies? I don’t. The Bible also clearly supports the practice of slavery, and Christian slaveholders used the Bible to defend their practices. They were wrong because they misread scripture. The so-called objections to homosexuality which appeal to God are really no different than the slave-holding Southern Baptists who appealed to God to defend slavery.

        • Frank

          Scot you have given me no scriptural support just someones opinion on how he rejects the clarity of Gods word on this issue.

          This is how he concludes each of the biblical support against homosexuality (all opinion and conjecture but no theological or scriptural support):

          -So I believe the creation story says a lot about God’s power and presence in the universe — but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

          – The sexual act that occurs in the story of Sodom is a gang rape — and homosexuals oppose gang rape as much as anyone. That’s why I believe the story of Sodom says a lot about God’s will for each of us, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

          – The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk “wasting” even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

    • Larry

      Frank, by that reckoning sex with pubescent teens (either same sex or otherwise) should in many cases be perfectly acceptable. After all, many who suggest that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle are also ken to instruct society on the need to abandon it’s puritanical obsession with chastity.

      We are lectured on wonderful benefits of teen sexual experimentation … that teens are often mature enough and sufficiently self-possessed to navigate these complicated passages as long as we’ve instructed them in the tenets of “safe sex”. Ergo, an adult could quite conceivably engage in sexual activity with teens who demonstrate sufficient awareness.

      Additionally, “open marriages” and even adultery are healthy expression of “love” … adultery, if conducted discretely, is a beautiful expression of love between two people because, as you’ve so aptly stated, “I can’t find a plausible moral objection to any relationship of mutual respect and love”.

      The bible establishes its moral code in the absence of consensus. We may guess that sin is that act that which ultimately results in death but, in the end, God simply identifies what is sin … not why.

      If you are willing to engage in the most tortured exegesis you can deny that scripture says anything absolutely and virtually anything in particular. This is hardly new or novel behavior … Jesus explained it thusly “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel”.

      It is a grave error indeed to read into scripture what our agenda or lifestyle demands … it is a far worse thing to persuade others of our error.

    • Scot Miller

      Larry, I don’t think your objections really address my position. I would argue that what makes a particular sexual act immoral is whether it involves using a person exclusively as a means to one’s sexual gratification. Outside a committed relationship, it is more likely that one will end up using a person as a means to an end (or being used by someone). So pubescent teens are not really capable of the kind of commitment that is necessary not to use someone or be used by someone. I would also argue that it would be very difficult for an “open marriage” to maintain respect for all of the parties invovled. Moroever, my position also explains why not all sex acts within marriage would be permissible (i.e., a man could still rape his wife). Adultery is also forbidden (in my view) because it involves deception, breaking promises, and using people.

      On the other hand, I do affirm the possibility that mutually loving and respectful relationships are possible outside of marriage. All marriage does is provide a public and legal commitment that makes it easier to have morally permissible sex. But adults having sex with children or adolescents would be impermissible in my view because the imbalance in power between an adult and a child would be too great.

      • Larry

        Scott, I think they do address your points. Namely that you describe morality by consensus … not a morality which emerges from scripture. You offer a remarkably malleable sort of morality … one which relies on deconstruction and subjective evaluation rather than fixed and immutable moral code.

        In short, the basis of your argument is your personal perspective … which makes it meaningful only to you and those who, at the moment, agree with you. Nothing is to stop a competing moral code from usurping the high ground IF its offered in a more compelling fashion than your own.

        It is the inherent attractiveness or the force with which its communicated that provides your sort of morality any credibility. When you are willing to abandon the plain speech of scripture with the rhetorical slight-of-hand that deconstruction provides, you abandoned meaningful and protecting morality … you’ve just become a solution in search of an argument.

        • Scot Miller

          Larry, you do realize that you’re not offering me God’s perspective, but your interpretation of what you think God is saying. At least my argument is open to rational scrutiny and disagreement. I’m confident that you don’t speak for God any more than I do. But your position can’t really even be discussed rationally, since it requires me to believe that your way of reading scripture is the only right way. At least my position is debatable, and I would argue provides a better way of reading scripture.

          But I want to see if you really believe what you say about the “plain speech of scripture.” The Bible clearly teaches that infanticide is not only morally permissible, but commanded by God (Deut. 3:3-6, 1 Sam 15:1-3), or, my favorite, Psalm 137:9: “Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” This is clear and unequivocal. Do you agree that killing babies is morally permissible, per the Word of God?

          And what about the “plain speech of scripture” about the relationship between the sun and the earth? The “plain speech of scripture” does not teach that the earth revovles around the sun, but the sun circles the earth (Josh. 10:12-13, Ps. 93:1, Ps 104:5, Eccl. 1:5, Ps. 19:4-6). Do you agree with the “plain speech of scripture” that the earth is the center of the universe?

          And what about slavery? The “plain speech of scripture” (to which the Southern Baptists appealed in 1864) teaches that slavery is a morally permissible practice, and that some people are “naturally” born to be slaves of others (Gen. 9:18-27), and even the New Testament describes the duties of slaves and masters ( 1 Cor. 7:20-24; Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-25). Where does the Bible condemn slavery, or say that it should be abolished?

          If you agree with the “plain speech of scripture” that (1) infanticide is permissible, (2) the earth is at the center of the universe, and (3) slavery is permissible, then you’re stuck with these positions. Of course, these are absurd positions, and I suspect you don’t believe any of them. But if you don’t agree with these biblical positions, then you are moving beyond the “plain speech of scripture.”And if that’s the case, then we can begin to ask whether your biblical hermeneutic is better or worse than mine. And once we become open to the truth (instead of dogmatically asserting our interpretations as prima facie true), we could begin to get our beliefs to more closely approximate the truth to which we both strive to obtain.

          • Scot Miller

            Larry — looks like I should stop feeding the toll….

            • Scot Miller

              … er, troll….

              • Larry

                Hmmm … so much for meaningful dialogue. This appears to be an echo chamber and Tony has sounded the retreat.

                • Frank

                  They have no credible scripturally supported position so of course they have to retreat.

  • Frank

    Larry, are you talking to me? I am a little confused.

    • Larry

      No, sorry … I incorrectly replied to you rather than Scott.

  • Larry, the bible has established many codes in regards to marriage….

    The bible, as written and redacted and interpreted and edited some more by human (mostly male) hands has established many codes that we no longer regard as valid or applicable.

    With all this fascination about sexuality and marriage Christians, about only a tiny fraction of what we have of cannon is dedicated are doing a very good job of ignoring real work that needs to be done in the world to alleviate actual suffering on which a great deal more of the scripture, and the words of Jesus are actually focused.

    • Frank

      Kimberly I would not call it a fascination. The difference between sexuality and works of compassion is that no one disagrees that we are to engage in acts of compassion but there are some who errantly assert that homosexuality is not a sin.

      • But let’s stop wasting so much time with people of faith asserting that the law of the land should be based on one expression of lived out Christianity. The Gospel of love for this Christian outweighs the religion of law. I read the bible through the lens of Jesus NOT through the lens of Paul and the Pharisees.

        How about redirecting all that energy to something actually helpful to this society whose fabric you are so concerned about?

        Try watching that video – or reading any of the resources folks are offering.

        • Frank

          Kimberly I have and will continue to do so. Aside from appealing to emotionalism which can never be used in a logical discussion, I am still waiting for clear scriptural support of your position.

          The issue would be resolved once and for all if you could only produce that.

          And as an aside, we do not get to determine individual expression of our faith. God has clearly showed us what it means to be a Christian in scripture. Faith, love, grace and obedience. You all seem to want to disregard the obedience part because it makes our lives more convenient and simpler.

    • Larry

      That’s not an intellectually honest or sound response Kimberly. This sort of response will only resonate among those who have worked backwards from their conclusions and formed posits which comport with conclusion your agenda demands.

      Among those for whom reasoned argument has any meaning, for whom disciplined thinking, critical thinking is central to accuracy in conclusions would find this both silly and dishonest.

      Are you frightened of where the truth might carry you?

      • I am no longer living in fear for the truth has carried me to love. I am sorry that so many people are intent on reasoning away love. Silly, dishonest – now you are crossing into personal rather than reason yourself. I am though sorry I have the impression that a conversation was actually possible here.

        • Frank

          Love of who and what Kimberly?

        • Larry

          Kimberly, this is what Jesus had to say about truth.

          “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32)

          Truth is found in His word … no where else. It is not arrived at subjectively, it requires no corroboration from our experience, emotions or desires to be validated.

          When are we His disciples? When we continue in and receive His word. Later He said simply, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).

          When we attempt to make truth self validating we fall into error and the trap of satan. St. Paul explained it in simple terms … “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.

          In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2Ti 2:23-26)

          And again he underscores this thought in his letter to the Church at Ephesus … “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

          Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

          But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

          And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
          (Eph 4:17-24)

  • Ted Johnson

    Should there be a legal way for this type of relationship to be recognized, perhaps so. Should as a mattter of public policy and law should that legal staus be marriage, no. And a farm fuzzy video about these two people does not make make it otherwise. IMHO

    • CJ

      Why not?

  • Ted Johnson

    *****warm fuzzy video*****

  • Daniel

    Romans 8:39-39

  • Andrew W.

    The question should be phrased alternately: I’m asking you to consider whether it is good public policy to promote/sanction/grant this; not merely to outlaw it. The law is not a mechanism of neutrality nor a tool of aggregate sentimentality.

  • Sam Halverson

    I’m always amazed that the government gets into “marriage” anyway. Marriage should be a union before God and the congregation of those close to the couple. The government should be limited to civil unions – licenses that recognize a contract between two people until that contract is made null and void by those two people. Why do so many who wish that government would stay out of private lives insist that government regulate something that is a religious ceremony?

    • C. Ehrlich

      Many people presumably don’t accept that marriage necessarily is a religious ceremony. Regardless of what happens legally, individuals will presumably still have a lot of freedom to ascribe to marriage whatever religious aspects the prefer (so, if a fundamentalist wishes to believe that a divorced person isn’t really–in God’s view–divorced, he is free to so believe). The ceremonies themselves, moreover, need not be overly regulated (you can get married underwater, or while skydiving, if that’s your thing).

  • Kimberly

    An immense and tangible love of God, neighbor, community, family and self that surpasses any flimsy love I though I felt before I came out.

    • Frank

      That sounds great Kimberly but the bible defines love of God:

      1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

    • BonnyAnne

      oh lord, I’m replying to you twice in 10 minutes. This is shameful excess. Nevertheless…

      It never ceases to amaze me how small and limited some people think God is. Nobody ever picks on me for who I married, and I can only pray that some day that will be your experience as well (or if not yours, your children’s … sometimes all we can do is wait). I know you don’t need any standing up for. I would nevertheless feel wrong if I kept silent.

      • Frank

        I know imagine that people actually believe that the power of God cannot transform someone’s sexuality. What a small limiting view of God that is.

    • Basil

      Frank, Kimberely is not deflecting, you are.

      As for scriptural sanction of same sex relationships, try the Book of Ruth, where it is written “Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve” . Kimberly shares a similar love with her wife. You are the one denying Scripture, not her.

      Kimberly – it is pointless arguing with those who just plugs their ears and goes “la-la-la” every time sometime has any opposing point of view. There is an element of extreme hubris to think you have the only authoritative intrepretation of the Bible, and use it as a weapon to condemn people you think are icky. You’re not icky, they are, for being hateful.

      As for me, I find self-proclaimed scriptural literalists completely and utterly preposterous, but that reflects my beliefs as a Quaker. I have yet to meet a single “literalist” who is fluent in ancient Greek and Hebrew, and is well versed in the ancient cultures and societies of the Middle East and Mediterranean. It’s just willful ignorance, which leads to inverted, and morally corrupt, theology.

      Final point – Tony is right, about not feeding trolls: This is not a debate about theology. Everyone is entitled to hold whatever religious beliefs they want, (and you and I are entitled to throw their sinfulness and immorality back in their faces, because that is what homophobia is at its core – sinful and immoral). None of this matters in the great scheme of things. What really matters is that you and wife are entitled to equal treatment under the law, that is what our Constitution says (the 14th amendment), and equality is overriding legal and moral imperative.

      • Frank

        Oh Basil you do not seriously believe that Ruth and Naomi or David and Jonathan were same sex couples do you? Really? This has been dis-proven ad nauseum. No wonder you are confused!

        In Ruth 1:14 with Orpah leaving Naomi but Ruth clinging to her (“dabaq”). It is quite right to say that this is the same Hebrew used in Gen 2:24 to talk of a man “holding fast” to his wife, but it is used in plenty of non-erotic contexts as well (Ezek 3:26, Deut 28:21, Jer 13:11, Psalm 22:15, Deut 11:22, Deut 30:20, 2 Kings 5:27 to begin with). It is exactly the same word used in Ruth 2:8 and 2:21 when Boaz tells Ruth to stick closely to the young men who are harvesting and in Ruth 2:23 when Ruth sticks closely to the young women – hardly an invitation to form a covenant union with either the men or the women.

        It seems to me that the most likely usage of “dabaq” here is to indicate that Ruth is clinging onto Naomi in maintenance of the mother / daughter relationship that was established when she married her son. At that point, she became part of Naomi’s (and Elimelech’s) family and took on their identity. Though Orpah agrees to sever that bond and return to her birth family in Moab, Ruth is saying at this point, “Though my husband has died I remain your daughter”. And this makes sense of her covenant in verses 16 and 17:

        For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.

        What Ruth is essentially saying is this – I am your daughter and I remain your daughter. I am now part of your people, your God is my God, I will live in your home as your daughter. I will be buried where you are buried, because we are family. Naomi relents and accepts that Ruth will stay with her, and they return together to Judah.

        And of course, this understanding makes perfect sense of the rest of the book. Originally Naomi instructed Ruth to return to her birth mother and let her find her a new husband. Now that Ruth has emphatically insisted that Naomi is her mother, Naomi looks to fulfil her obligations as a mother to her daughter. The two of them set to work to match up Ruth to Boaz, and three chapters later the job is done!!! Throughout the courtship the references are made again and again to the family (Ruth 2:1, Ruth 2:2 – “daughter”, Ruth 2:11 – “mother-in-law”) and of course Boaz takes his role eventually as the kinsman redeemer (Ruth 4:8-10), a role he can only take because of family ties.

        We see then very clearly that the covenant Ruth makes with Naomi is of daughter to mother and not partner to partner.

  • Traci Smith

    Wonderful video. Who is the woman in the purple dress officiating? I was blessed by her words and presence. Also, I LOVED the idea of the time capsule with the letters sealed up in the box. I so wish that I had seen that before my wedding. I would have stolen the idea.

    I’m so, so weary of this debate in the church. I hope that I live to see the day where it is a non issue, and we look back in shame at this time in our history. (Much like how we now look back with shame at our biblical defense of slavery.)

    • Larry

      Traci, a biblical defense of slavery? You are aware, I trust, of the overwhelming number of Christians who labored tirelessly to end slavery here and in Great Britain. Yes? That’s a fairly selective (and convenient) rendering of history. I find convenience, whether in critical thought or historical renderings to be consistently applied here. Interesting.

      • Traci Smith

        I am VERY aware of the overwhelming number of Christians who labored tirelessly to end slavery in the US and Great Britain. They are among the many heroes of my faith. That is my point exactly. I believe that, in the future, Christians will view LGBTQ advocates with the same sense of pride and gratitude as we do abolitionists.

        • Larry

          Kimberly, you wrote … “That is my point exactly. I believe that, in the future, Christians will view LGBTQ advocates with the same sense of pride and gratitude as we do abolitionists” yet you previously posted this … “Much like how we now look back with shame at our biblical defense of slavery”. That’s a fairly significant contradiction.

          • I did not write what you credit me with saying. If you continue to troll please cite your quotes appropriately.

          • Traci Smith

            Missing the contradiction, Larry.

            I meant both of those things. In the future we will be ashamed that the Bible was used to oppress LGBTQ people, just like we are now ashamed at those who used the Bible to defend slavery.

            LGBTQ advocates are the abolitionists of our time.

            And yes, I am Traci, not Kimberly. Kimberly is the one you said isn’t allowed to call her wife her wife. I’m the one you think is contradictory for saying the same thing in two different ways.

    • Frank

      I agree one day we will look back and wonder how anyone could believe that homosexuality was not a sin.

      • Let me remind you all: Don’t feed the trolls.

        This post is about public policy, not biblical principles.

        • Frank

          Still waiting for one verse from your millions of pixels. Just one!

        • Traci Smith

          Good reminder, Tony. I shall heed the wise advice. 🙂

        • Larry

          Tony, are you suggesting we divorce the two? After all, you’ve offered this post on a blog entitled Theoblogy? Also, do you always refer to those who have the temerity to take umbrage with your positions and those of your followers as trolls?

  • I’m quite happy that in Canada our public policy would not make such an amazing show of love illegal.

    My experience, though limited, of gay marriage ceremonies is that there is often a lot of reflection that goes into every aspect so they end up packed with meaning. I find this true of many second marriages as well.

    Thanks for sharing this video Tony.

  • Larry

    Kimberly, I copied and pasted what you wrote … its exact.

    • Scot Miller

      I think you pasted what Traci Smith said.

      • Larry

        I did

  • James

    I think that the government should stay out of gay and straight marriages. I think that it is an overstep and you should be with whoever you want to be with without approval from the government.

  • Larry

    Scot, your falling back on broken down and tired false arguments. Such a perspective simply cannot endure reasoned scrutiny. Your unwillingness to allow scripture to simply speak for itself reveals a profound disregard for truth and reason.

    You are employing the sort of sophistry Paul warned against … “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:14).

    On-their-face, silly arguments such as you’ve sought refuge in here is evidence of an unwillingness to engage in honest and open debate, Its as if you fear the possibilities such an exchange might conclude in.

    Allow me to ask you this. If it becomes obvious that scripture forbids and condemns such practices would you acknowledge and announce that. Would you adhere to it? Would it require of you any substantive change in lifestyle and perspective?

    Remember, hermeneutics properly applied, reveals truth … it doesn’t obscure it. Probabilistic reasoning and weak inductive reasoning have no place in sound exegesis. You’ve offered those along with a heaping dose of equivocation and then ended by arguing from assertion.

    What you have not done (cannot do?) is offer a sound and irrefutable biblical argument. I have yet to see anything other than these tactics in discussions among those who dogmatically insist that homosexuality enjoys God’s imprimatur and blessing. Why? Why so assiduously resist any suggestion that what scripture appears to say is what is actually said? Why?

  • Larry

    Scot, avoidance is a poor substitute for sound and honest reasoning. Tony has signaled retreat though … good day.

    • Scot Miller

      Larry — it’s hard to engage in rational discourse with someone who has their minds made up and is not honestly engaging the issues. I asked you very specific questions about your hermeneutic. Do you believe the Bible when it says it’s OK to kill babies? Do you believe the Bible when it says the earth is at the center of the universe? Do you believe that the Bible tolerates slavery? It’s fascinating to me that you avoid answering these very straightforward questions. If you were honest, you would say “yes” or “no” to these questions (they aren’t loaded questions), but you can’t without facing the fact that your hermeneutic of believing the “plain sense” of scripture breaks down.

      I am more than willing to debate, and I have rational arguments. You, on the other hand, are not willing to debate, but want to stir up trouble. In other words, there’s no use debating with a troll…

      • Larry

        Scot … how can you be so easily satisfied by such a facile and dishonest post. If you genuinely believe that scripture advances such ideas the you are incapable of honest and reasoned dialogue. If you wish to have an adult discussion I’m game … but if Romper room tactics is your best offer … well, there’s clearly nothing left to you other than name calling. That is really appalling Scott …

  • Larry Barber

    Don’t have anything to add, really, just want to point out the above “Larry” is not me. And wondering where Larry’s and Frank’s Biblical justification for their positions is.

    • Frank

      Hey Larry what specifically would you like to see? The verses about the creation of an and woman and the words of Jesus defining marriage?

      Or all the verses condemning homosexuality?

      Or every verse that talks about spouses as husband and wife?

      What are you looking for because I am more than happy to post scriptural support for every one if my positions.

      The question is: can you do the same? We all will be waiting.

      • Larry Barber

        Verses about creation, marriage and the like are, at best, arguments from silence, and so not very compelling (not to even get into the cultural factors involved).

        There are no verses condemning homosexuality as that is a 19th century concept with no parallel in the ancient world.

        Can I do the same? Sure:

        Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

        Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

        Love one another.

        First pull the plank out of your own eye (seems appropriate given the hash that heterosexuals have made of marriage).

        • Frank

          Larry while you may dismiss some scripture most of us do not. Creation is very clear. Male and female, be fruitful and multiply. Jesus is very clear affirming this.

          As far as homosexuality in the bible the word that is used is ARSENOKOITAI. You can see what it means here:

          So yes there are many verses condemning homosexuality as we understand it today. To say that there was no parallel in the ancient world is naive at best, deceptive and lie at worst. So there we no homosexual couples back then?

          Love your neighbor as yourself/Do unto Others – Yes. Love is truth, Love does not accept sin, love is wanting the best for someone and homosexuality is not it. I would never want a sin of mine to slide and the people who love me will tell me.

          Planks? – I have many and so do you. That does not negate the fact that a sin is a sin.

          So where are those verses supporting homosexuality again?

          • Larry Barber

            Arsenakoitai definition is nowhere near as clear as you seem to think. Just comparing its use in different translation demonstrates that. Even if you could equate “arsenakoitai” and “homosexuals” you would still have to consider the cultural aspects (incidentally, Sarah Ruden’s book “Paul among the People” is an excellent resource for this). When you consider this is it far more likely that Paul had pederasty in mind rather than relations between two consenting adults of more or less equal social status.

            Why do you keep asking for verses supporting homosexuality? The Bible is pretty much silent on the subject, the very few verses that you, and others, keep throwing out notwithstanding. It says little about male homosexuality and nothing at all about lesbianism. I can’t find any Biblical support for posting messages on a blog, but that doesn’t seem to bother you. Nor for things like driving a car; eating tomatoes, potatoes or corn; using antibiotics or any one of hundreds of other things. You cannot live by only doing things which scripture explicitly approves.

          • Frank

            Thanks for the cop out Larry! The bible is not silent on homosexuality as you admit. It’s very clear that homosexuality is a sin and not blessed by God and no one can theologically dispute that.

  • Matt

    I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and, hopefully, for life. This is in the church. Why would I even remotely care if two gay people want to get married outside of the church? Go for it. It’s your life. How about we agree there are two sides that will never come together and then decide to get along? Seriously, no one is asking me to change my beliefs on marriage and forcing me to marry any couple that I do not feel comfortable marrying. Therefore, I should not force someone to take on my beliefs of marriage who has no intention of getting married in the church I pastor. Where is the problem? After all, one of is wrong and it could be me. Or you!

    • Matt,

      Can you tell me why so few pastors share your position? It seems quite reasonable to me.

      • Kevin Gasser

        I am a pastor and I would say something similar to Matt. As I have said here before, I do not understand why Christians feel that it is their job to change/enforce laws to support their biblical interpretations for people outside of the church. Christians ethics are for Christians. Greg Boyd has said a lot about this issue and other attempts by Christians to legislate “morality”. He often says something along the lines of “Our job as Christians is to agree with Jesus that people are worth dying for, not judging them.”
        I tend to interpret the texts referring to same-sex relationships in a more conservative manner–and hope one day to find that I am wrong. Yet in spite of my conservative interpretation I advocate for same-sex civil unions. I understand this as an issue of justice, so as a follower of Jesus, I stand up for equal marriage rights and all of the benefits that come with them. Perhaps I will be called a hypocrite, but I am simply trying to focus the ministry of the church on being the church, not being the government.