While I haven’t reached any final conclusions myself, I have been thinking about this gay marriage business a good bit lately. Now, we really need to define some terms and set up some parameters so that we are all on the same page.
First, I am a Russian Orthodox Christian, so I will look at marriage there first. In the Orthodox Church, marriage is a sacrament. The priest marries you. In this country, for convenience, clergy are licensed by the state. In other countries, this is not so. Some places the couple goes to the local state bureaucrat who performs the state business, and then immediately to the Church, where the priest marries them. You can readily see that there are two functions – the Church marriage, and the state civil union (we will use that term for convenience).
The view of marriage is somewhat different in the west. I’m sure you have all heard the business that the clergyman usually gives in his talk about the couple marrying themselves, that he and all the guests are only witnesses. There is a further blurring of lines here. In the view of the west you have the church contract (marriage) and the civil contract (civil union), and the clergyman, being licensed by the state, can witness for both church and state.
Now I know that some of the more rabidly liberal churches are just chomping at the bit to do same sex marriages. That is none of my business, I don’t belong to their church. They should likewise have no say in the beliefs and sacraments of my Church. And the Orthodox Church will never have same sex marriage.
Now, to the secular laws of the country. I do have a say. I am a citizen. So are the radical liberal protestants. So does the reactionary “religious right”. So are the gays. Now people, I know that you fundamentalists and gays hate each other. That’s your business. But – chill. We need to have civil discourse here. Fundamentalists – quit putting words in God’s mouth. Especially hateful words. He is a loving God. Check the same Scripture you like to bop on people’s heads. Gays – get your obnoxious public behavior out of our faces. You are not the arbiters of morality and taste. Behave like civilized human beings in public (for a change).
Now then that we are all calm and rational (I hope), let’s look at few things. There is no separation of church and state in the Constitution. Sorry libs, it ain’t there. That was a flawed ruling by the 1947 Supreme Court. What the Constitution does say is that the state shall not set up a state religion. Period. This means that you shouldn’t be crapping on people who do believe in God. Well, actually, most of you don’t mind if it’s not a Christian. It’s mostly Christians that you hate. Get over it. Now righties – before you Hosanna too much. They have a bit of a point here. You should not try to make your church law the law of the land. Believe me – you would not like living under Orthodox Church rules, fasting for half the year, just for starters. There is no value to God in forced obedience to His law – it must be voluntary. I do not want to live under your interpretation of the Scriptures. Many, many of you have shoved your flawed understanding of the scriptures into peoples faces whether it was appropriate or not. Your behavior in this manner is just as rude as the more obnoxious gays who “get in your face” with their inappropriate public shenanigans. “Witness” does not supercede consideration for others and good manners.
I have to come to the preliminary conclusion that “marriage” of same sex couples must be left up to the regulations of the particular church at hand. On the other hand, the practice of a given church may have no legal standing. As long as no one is harmed, the state may not dictate dogma and practice to any church. This may or may not have long term ramifications. Polygamists, for instance – oops, there’s already a church that advocates that.
Now, the “civil unions”. Uncomfortable, that. Look here, the state allows all other forms of contracts between two individuals with no reference to gender. Civil union is just another contract, as far as the philosophy of civil law can take us. Now, the logic of the situation says that the state must either allow civil union (contract) between any two (or more?) people with no regard to gender. Or it must terminate special privilege to couples simply because they are “normal”. It is not up to the state to determine what is normal and what is not. The state must not favor one group over another. The state may not regulate belief or morals. It may (and should) regulate public behavior and private protection.
There needs to be a good deal more civilized discussion of this issue. Not two groups of loud assholes disturbing the peace and waving placards at each other. Dammed nuisances. We do not seem to have properly and impartially investigated the long term implications of what making or not making this change would be. Or maybe we should look at the whole civil union bit and see just what the position of the state should be. There are other forms of households than the standard – one of each and baby makes three model.
Obviously, one of the ramifications that we will have to figure out is what the correct social response will be when these couples inevitably want to adopt. Leaving out the partisan rhetoric – what are the long term effects on the children raised in such a situation? Do we really know? Any society that places political ideology above the welfare of its children is doomed. (And should be). And so on.
Of course, we could chuck the whole thing and say that the state does not recognize marriage, that it is up to the churches and has no legal meaning. Bad juju. There are other considerations. Children. Property. The kiddies and the property must be protected. If there’s a dissolution of the civil union contract, there must be established ways of protecting these. So – we’ve got to have something to define the contract. And we’re back to civil unions.
Fundamentalists – I hate to say it – but – the queers may be right here. And do ask yourself this: which causes more pain and suffering, two guys kissing or adultery? I submit that the pain and anguish caused by adultery is far worse. But see here – Our Lord forgave the woman taken in adultery. His words showed that He did not condemn her, nor did He condone. And nowhere did He say that she would burn in Hell, while He has that power – you don’t. And yes, I do know what the Scriptures and the Fathers had to say about homosexuality – probably better than you do. However, most of these people are not Christian and the Church has no relevance to them – other than something to hate. Partly because of the abominable way some of you have treated some of them. We do indeed hate the sin – not the sinner. But if the sinner does not acknowledge his activity as a sin then we can only point to Christ – we cannot drive him to Christ.
And you gays – do try to behave like ladies and gentlemen in public – for a change. There is no reason to force your lifestyle choice in the faces of people who find it offensive. Exercise your individual lives with some dignity, please.