Friday, May 29, 2009

To Have and to Hold

Did you notice the court decision in California yesterday, upholding Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage? You may be aware that marriage between couples of the same gender was permitted for a period of time, only to be overturned during the U.S. presidential election. States can add all kinds of propositions to the ballot. The 18,000 couples who had been married, legally, will still be married since the proposition was not retroactive. The photo above is from a rally in support of gay marriage in California,

This is a curious development because we Canadians tend to view California as very liberal and at times "out there" in attitudes. Meanwhile, five states, including supposedly conservative Iowa, have legalized gay marriage. The latest is Maine where one legislator voted against even though she has a lesbian daughter, while a staunchly Pentecostal legislator voted in favour. While her choice surprised some, she said she had to vote "yes" as a human rights issue, whatever her religious convictions might be.

My own experience in this country where same-gender marriage is legal in every province and in this denomination where every congregation can make its own decision to conduct gay weddings is that people aren't polarized between "yea" and "nay." I have had scores of conversation with folk who are all along the continuum, many of whom have shifted opinions and convictions over time, in both directions.
Every once in a while I meet a real bigot. For the most part people are just trying to figure out how to be fair and faithful, which is really all we can ask. This congregation went through its own soul-searching and eventually decided that gay marriages could be conducted by its ministers, providing the couples followed our guidelines. So far there have been no requests.

What do you think about what it happening in the States? Have you gone through your own decision making process? Are you at peace with your position on gay marriage, or still trying to figure it out?


Lynnof60 said...

Neil Young has a song called "When God Made Me" I was going to just give you the line that related to this topic, however, I didn't think I should pull it out of context of the song...forgive me for putting the whole song in BUT it's a song full of interesting questions.


Was he thinking about my country,
or the colour of my skin?
Was he thinking about my religion,
and the way I worshipped him?
Did he create just me in his image,
or every living thing?

When God made me.
When God made me.

Was he planning only for believers,
or for those who just had faith?
Did he envision all wars
that were fought in his name?
Did he say there was only one way
to be close to him?

When God made me.
When God made me.

Did he give me the gift of love
to say who I could choose?

When God made me.
When God made me.
When God made me.

Did he give me the gift of voice
so some could silence me?
Did he give me the gift of vision
not knowing what I might see?
Did he give me the gift of compassion
to help my fellow man?

When God made me.
When God made me.
When God made me

Nancy said...

Well said Lynn.
I am at peace with my position on same gender marriages, which is for. I have several friends who are gay and a colleague who is married to his partner. The two of them are in the process of adotpting three children (a family). A huge undertaking on their part but the children are very lucky, as they are coming from a terrible situation and will be very much loved and cared for in their new family.
I am very surprised by California's decision because yes, we do think of California as being liberal.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that people are fighting for the right to love someone, while the parents of that little girl discussed in your earlier blog are fighting for the right to hate.

Laura said...

The world is changing so quickly,and admittedly I can see why it is easy to become fearful and cling to how things have been in the past, to the "known". Whenever I feel myself questioning changes, I have found the WWJD? my compass and confidence.

roger said...

I understand some people believe in the traditional view of marriage as being between a man and a woman, but in my opinion, I see no reason why homosexuals should not be able to get married. I have always thought that it must be difficult enough being gay, especially a young person, and facing the wrath of one's friends and family for their sexual preference. I think it is time to be inclusive rather than is the 21st century after all. Just my two cents....

David Mundy said...

Good song choice, Lynn, from an aging "angry anthem" rocker who has become more reflective with time.

I appreciate all the comments, including from newcomer Johnny.

Once again I think about being at the United Church General Council in 1992. We discussed same-gender unions since marriage wasn't even on the radar screen at the time.

One man stood at a microphone and admitted that he found homosexuality offensive because of promiscuity. And that he wondered why he was also opposed to unions even though they would encourage the opposite of promiscuity.