Unanswered questions on DOMA

Unanswered questions on DOMA June 27, 2013

I don’t believe in bisexuals. I figure the rest of us have to choose, so why shouldn’t they?

-Suzanne Sugarbaker/Designing Women 

A history-making day, that’s what all the news pundits and talking heads are calling it. And even those who didn’t agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), recognize the truth of that.

We will no longer be solely divided by Red and Blue states, but rather those same talking heads and pundits will divvy the country up by Gay and Straight states.

I heard rumblings of that as one person after another took to the airwaves and discussed what this means for Oregon, which, thus far, has not voted in favor of gay marriage, unlike our neighbors to the north and south of us. What is means, in all likelihood, is that it won’t be long before Oregon follows suit.

I’m perfectly fine with that. Unlike some of my evangelical friends, I have no problem with gays and lesbians marrying in civil ceremonies. I do not see the marriage of gays or lesbians as a threat to my marriage. The biggest threat to my marriage is my own selfishness.

For the record, Tim and I are doing great. We are coming up on 35-years together. It’s very unlikely we’ll make the next 35. Not because we’ll divorce, but simply because we’ll age out. To celebrate we are headed to Europe soon. I’ll wave to you from Paris. Promise.

But back to this matter of DOMA.

It all seemed rather silly to me. We do need a Defense of Marriage Act, but for everybody, not just gays or lesbians. We need something to help defend marriages. Headlines tell us that marriage, like church attendance, is in a steady decline.

One of my daughters — the only one not married — works in a Family Law office. She deals with people who are getting divorced every single day of the week. We need something to help people do a better job at staying married. Maybe we could come up with a Defense of Marriage Act that would teach us all how to do marriage better, instead of targeting people for exclusion, heh?

Honestly, some days I wonder why gays  and lesbians even want to be married considering how poorly we heterosexuals are at this.

Then I remember: Oh, yeah, legal reasons.

I understand that all too well.

One of the wrong-headed assumptions people make about us creative types is that we are all rich. Or wealthy. Or at least wealthier than anybody else they know. Yet, most of the writers in my circle, me included, are not rich. We are dependent upon others.

My marriage affords me health benefits, insurance, and a roof over my head during retirement (I hope).So, yes, I’m one of those evangelicals who supports the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Not necessarily solely for legal reasons, but those reasons weigh heavily into the equation for me.

I’m happy for my friends who are gay and lesbian that they will now have access to some of the benefits of marriage that I enjoy. I hope those who do marry are fortunate enough to marry a life-long partner. Somebody who will support them in all the many ways that legitimize us as human beings loved by a mighty God.

A God, who, some of my friends and family members maintain, hates the sin of homosexuality.

I’ll tell you right up front that all this talk makes me a bit uneasy. That’s because I have people I love and care about on both sides of this issue. I bet you do, too.

Here’s what’s worrying me: While I’m a proponent of the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, I’m concerned that people who think differently about all that will now be confronted with the same sort of exclusionary mindset that they have employed towards gays and lesbians all these years.

That, I think, would be  a crying shame.

I hope that I’m just worrying for nothing. I do that sometimes.

Surely, people, who have struggled so long and fought so tirelessly for this day, understand that for history to really change, we all have to practice grace, even in the face of great wrong-doings. Especially then.

I’m counting on my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to accept that for some the bonds of marriage belong between a male and a female, at least in the eyes of God. For them, this day is apocalyptic. A sign that our nation is going to hell on a wagon train with a team of race horses.

I’m not saying they are right or wrong about that. I’m just saying I know some people who think that.

While I support the right to civil marriages, I would hate to see gays and lesbians start doing to Believers what was done to them for so many years — condemning others for thinking differently.

Berating them.

Belittling them.

Humiliating them.

Degrading them.

Because if anyone ought to know how hurtful and isolating that can be it would be the LGBT community.

I suppose for some this historic decision will not be enough. They will insist that until the Fill-in-the-Blank Church recognizes their right to marry, they are still being treated in a discriminatory fashion.

But just because the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA and in favor of the civil rights of people who are gay or lesbian, does not mean that the Supreme Court is going to force Believers to defy their particular faith traditions on this matter of same-sex marriages, does it?

After all, to do otherwise would be to violate the separation of Church and State, right?







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