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?