[Update 6pm CST] I spent today calling and texting my LGBT married friends around the country, congratulating them in this momentous ruling. I understand from doing life with them how important this decision is to their lives, their spouses and especially their children. The impact of today can never be overstated, as our nation’s legal arc towards an equal understanding of humanity can continue to be lived in to, now with LGBTs and marriage. Also, you can find The Marin Foundation’s official statement on our Facebook page and our Associate Director’s great post about today’s rulings and the Law of Love here.
There are new cultural starting points for the LGBT conversation. Our country has officially and dramatically shifted in less than a week. Well, kind of. Let me explain…
Exodus International closed last week.
See my thoughts about the new religious starting point here and here.
This morning the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, now giving Federal protections to same-sex married couples in the States where gay marriage is legalized.
SCOTUS also ruled Prop 8 of no standing, thus, effectively making California the 13th State to allow gay marriage.
This means there is also a new political starting point.
Although there are currently 37 States that have legislation favoring traditional marriage, there is not much potentially stopping those remaining States to keep such policies–especially with the change in Federal legislation that no longer backs heterosexual marriages only. Although the previous sentence is still quite a leap, to suggest in the near-ish future gay marriage will be legalized throughout America, we must also understand the very real existence of about half of US citizens still do not favor legalizing gay marriage (although that number is dramatically decreasing).
As my social media feeds are blowing up with caution-to-the-wind excitement from LGBTs and progressives, and utter distain from most conservatives, this disconnect is far from over. I might even suggest that our new reality reshapes the entire culture war, thus rendering it a new beginning.
Therefore, the new political question is no longer
Should LGBT people be allowed to get married?
Will my State give LGBT couples the legal recognition and benefits of their marriage?
I have previously written about my understanding of engaging the gay marriage conversation here, here and here. All of which I still stand by.
So in light of today’s rulings, I feel the new genesis for Christians, then, and anyone of faith, really, must begin and end not on gay marriage but on the religious freedom and protections the US Constitution gives those communities of faith and places of worship to practice in their Holy text’s theology. Which, in a number of individual situations, will go against today’s ruling.
One very encouraging note on the religious freedom and protection front came this morning from President Obama. He clearly reiterated the need to
…maintain our nation’s commitment to religious freedom [as vital]… and how religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions.
We must hold him, our nation’s policies moving forward, and each future President to those same commitments. You can read President Obama’s full statement here.
As a body of faith, whether people agree or disagree with the rulings, we must start functioning in the reality of this new world instead of continuing to function in one’s ideal, best case scenario, that does not exist. #MuchLove
I am curious to hear your thoughts on how we all must engage with each other from this point forward?
One thing that excites me about this ruling, is I see a chance for bridge building conversation without the “but at the end of the day we aren’t equal” conversations (I’m a Cali girl). In some senses it takes the conversation out of a man made system & brings it to a level of individual life choices to be grappled with, vs a government.
While choices are much more subjective, there is more self accountability, which I personally appreciate.
I believe when you reference “choices” you are talking about theological frameworks and not sexual orientation. If so, I couldn’t agree more. Those are great insights, and hopes that I have too!
You are correct. Yes I am! 🙂
Thanks for the work that you and the Marin Foundation are doing. Keep it up! I’m encouraged to see progress being made in the decision that came forth today from the Supreme Court. I also understand what you are saying about the importance of protecting religious freedom. That is going to be where the rub comes in more and more as time goes on I suppose. Christians – especially the more conservative evangelical flavor – will undoubtedly feel tremendous tension here due to their strong commitment to the Bible as the Word of God (and their understanding of how to interpret that Word when it comes to issues of human sexuality). People usually do not change deep-seated beliefs overnight – even though that would sure spare us a lot of arguing in the days and months ahead…
Perhaps as time goes on the cultural shift that is taking place will indeed cause more and more Christians to take a hard look at how they read and understand the Bible. And maybe many more will see that accepting LGBT people just as they are does not mean that you are compromising your faith. In fact, as you have pointed out, showing that kind of love and acceptance may in fact be the truest expression of faithfulness to following the way of Christ…
As an evangelical Christian, I love people regardless of their sexual orientation. However, I still maintain that the practice of homosexuality is sin, and therefore I cannot and will not support or celebrate any legislation that promotes it. Do I focus on a person’s sexual practices as a litmus test for their faith? Absolutely not. No more than I would focus on any other sin…we are all sinners in one way or another. Is my position a position of hate? Absolutely not. To disagree with the current politically correct position is not hate, The word hate is used far too loosely today in order to gain effect.
My only problem with this is that I feel like as Christians we don’t do this on any other issues. If this is the standard why are we not protesting that murderers have rights that have to be upheld after they are convicted. Why are we not protesting that people who have sex outside of marriage have rights which are upheld. The list could go on forever. No one seems to mind all the other “sinful lifestyles” that are protected by the law, except for homosexuality. Supporting homosexual marriage rights and supporting a homosexual lifestyle are not the same thing in my mind. I have trouble reading through Scripture and coming to the conclusion that because I have a heterosexual marriage I am in some way “more human” and DESERVE to be treated above others. Should we be judging people who don’t follow Christ by a Christian standard? Not according to 1 Corinthians 5. I also just don’t see why the fact that I am choosing to live a life in reckless abandon to Christ and someone else is not has anything to do with whether that person should be able to provide insurance for a spouse and child, or to leave an inheritance behind without having it majorly taxed. I think the statement from Christians to homosexuals that “you don’t deserve to be treated like people the same way we do” will continue to push them further away from receiving the Gospel.
I agree with you that Christians have been dispropotionately fixated on homosexual issues, and not on other types of sexual or other sin. I think its far too easy to cast stones at others than to look at ones’ own life. And, personally, I won’t argue with those who support DOMA, as its a legal matter not a spiritual matter. What I do have issue with, however, is if I say that I don’t support a homosexual lifestyle for religious reasons, just as I don’t support sex outside of marriage, that I’m pegged as being a “hater”. Bottom line, Josh, I think that you and I are in agreement. We need to focus on loving and serving.
Gee BanFrack, I’ve been called sodomite, faggot, sinner, child molester, etc. Wanna compare slights?
I’m not looking to pick a fight at all. There’s plenty of hurt in the world to go round. God loves you Jon.
But how is this comment “loving people regardless”? isn’t it shutting down real hurt by patronizing life experience? “Now, now gays – everyone hurts.” That’s not love or understanding for Jon, it’s condescending. Is throwing “God loves you,” on the end of condescension nullifying? We can do much better than that, or else we’re not living in the tension, as The Marin Foundation supports, we’re just trying to fit people around our own opinions.
Everyone does hurt…I think it was patronizing to ask if I want to compare slights. My point is that we are all slighted, feel loss to a great degree in life and it serves not benefit to try to see who’s hurt is deeper. My point in reminding Jon that God loves him is to say that we are all in this hurting world together, and that God is there. No patronization intended.
I’m sorry if you thought I was patronizing you. It has come to the point in history where one of the biggest arguments used against same-sex marriage is that people are afraid they will be called bigots or haters. Like my family should be legally disenfranchised because Person X (who has nothing to lose or gain by marriage equality) might get name-called some day.
My grandfather refused to attend my oldest cousin’s wedding because he married a Catholic girl. He loved my cousin’s bride until he learned about her faith. They he couldn’t have anything to do with her. He diagreed and some have called him a bigot for his beliefs. Does that mean that my cousin and his wife should never have married?
Basically, I’ve been hearing the whole “I’ll be called a ‘hater’ or a ‘bigot’ if I disagree with same-sex marriage” for a while now. It gets old. Live with your convictions and don’t worry about what others think, y’know?
I should clarify that first sentence: “I’m sorry *that* you thought I was patronizing you,” BanFrack.
Do you also oppose legislation that promotes Hinduism?
What’s your point?
I am trying to work out exactly how hypocritical certain people are. If they oppose making gay marriage legal because it is a sin, then surely they should be against making Hinduism legal as that is a sin as well.
Giving people equal rights is not promoting homosexuality. It’s simply treating it as EQUAL; giving them rights that everyone is entitled to under the law.
Some of the more vocal anti-gay groups consider even the slightest mention of someone not being straight as forceful promotion of homosexuality. It is not. Just because someone happens to be gay has no bearing on anything. Some of these people even advocate firing someone for being gay; they think they don’t deserve ANY job because they’re dirty, diseased individuals and the bigots don’t want to touch them for fear of “catching” something. Seriously, that’s what they think. I read it on some conservative site’s comment thread, about someone opposed to a “flaming homosexual” working behind the counter at Chick-Fil-A and not wanting to ever eat food served by him again.
I still question why others care so much about my marriage to my husband. The big thing that happened yesterday is that the federal government that I’ve paid taxes towards and voted in over the past two decades now recognizes my legal marriage.
No straight families were hurt through this decision.
But my family was hurt by Section 3 of DOMA. And my family will continue being harmed by other aspects of DOMA that still exist in law.
Who’s going to defend my marriage (and others like it) from DOMA?