Sunday, May 13, 2012

Charles Parker: My Own "Evolution" on Gay Marriage

Well – the President has “evolved” on gay marriage.  Actually – to quote Fox News analyst Brit Hume – the president has “revolved.”

Evidently, President Obama was for gay marriage in the 1990s.  Then, when running for the US Senate in 2006 and as he ran for the presidency in 2008, he was against it.  Now, in 2012, as he runs for president again, he is “personally” for it, but thinks it is a state issue.  Yes – the times they are a’changin.

I frankly don’t mind this “evolution” on the part of the president.  I have evolved on this issue as well.  I was a seminarian in a place that opposes gay marriage.  I was clergy in a denomination that forbids gay marriage and openly gay clergy.  But, I have gone from being opposed to gay marriage to being for civil unions to a new belief on the issue. 

For me, it comes down to the separation of church and state.  Historically, marriage was a church function.  Marriage was/is considered a sacrament in the Catholic Church and a sacred moment in most other religious places.  The church set the rules.  Then something changed.  The state began to issue marriage licenses for the main purpose of restricting racial intermarriage.  That of course changed - but the license remained.  Now – it is simply a revenue stream.

So here’s my stance. 

There ought to be a state-issued marriage license for those who do not want to be married in a religious way.  Each state or locality could charge what they want and approve officiates as they see fit.  The state would legislatively or by popular vote decide who can marry (basically as happens now).

There also ought to be an allowance for religious institutions to marry the people they want to marry.  They currently set their own rules as to who officiates and how.  So why shouldn’t they be able to choose who gets married too.

And – for the record – influenced by the love and commitment I know of in members of my family and within my circle of friends – I would be a member of a church that performed weddings for gay couples.  In fact, I’d officiate them.

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  1. Very thoughtful and open minded. Certainly a much more sane approach to the matter than the religious zealotry who chant "God Hates F**S".
    Civil Union, Marriage, Domestic Partnership. Whatever is decided to call it, these people are just asking for the same civil liberties as anyone else who lives in, and pays taxes for, our nation. Why should a same sex partner of twenty years not be able to make the same medical decisions for an incapacitated mate as a heterosexual married couple? There are countless other such issues that make the same argument for allowing these unions of companionship.
    Religion has the authority to select the path in which they want their followers to travel. But there is no room for such restrictive discourse in politics. The Constitution did not say, "All men (except gays) are created equal..."

  2. I have been thinking along these same lines, except that I would be a member of a church that does not marry same sex couples because there is no Biblical support for it. However, I do agree that as Christians, in particular, and just decent humans in general, we can't be on the wrong side of an equal rights issue. So we probably need to start seeing marriage as we do schooling and health insurance, etc. Many Christians have opted for the "ancient paths" (schooling their own children, sharing medical costs, etc.) rather than "evolving" with society. This is just another aspect in which we are "in this world but not of this world."