It seems just about every day now there is something in the news about the division of people in the United States over gay marriage. Several months ago there was the big Chick-Fil-A issue where the owner expressed his conservative Christian feelings about marriage being between a man and a woman. Then there was the sit-ins and picketing outside many of their establishments. A family values day came soon after with discounted chicken sandwiches for all those that supported marriage between a man and a woman. Soon after that, Starbucks got involved as they have been advocates of gay marriage for some time and offered a coffee special on a certain day. I read not to long after that same sex kiss-ins were occurring at Chick-Fil-A restaurants with couples showing their affection openly in the dining rooms of these establishments. Since then I have seen different businesses in the news taking sides on this issue as well. Most recently there was a wedding cake proprietor that rejected two lesbians request for their commitment ceremony because of the owner’s Christian beliefs. The biggest news of all arrived just a few days ago with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio announcing he has a gay son and that he now supports him and gay marriage.
I grew up a Methodist Christian, studied the Bible extensively, have been a Deacon, served Communion, prayed over others, been baptized several times, and I’m gay. Most of my life I have faced opposition from both within my family and outside of it. I had a best friend once who told me I was going to hell when he found out I was attracted to men. I had a mother who cried profusely when I told her I was gay. I’ve been rejected by several churches and told I couldn’t join because of my sexuality. But all along, I have felt that God created me this way and loves me just as I am.
I truly believe it’s impossible for the many conservative Christians, right wing Republicans, and any other person that opposes gay people and gay marriage to understand anything related to being gay until they have to deal with the issue close to home. Senator Portman is one of those who has had to face this head on. A man who voted in favor of the Defense Of Marriage Act at one point many years ago, Portman went through a trial of several years before coming to loving acceptance of his son. My father went through the same journey with me and eventually went to PFLAG meetings (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in support of my sexuality. Sadly, my mother passed away never having fully accepted it.
The Bible has been used again and again lately as a weapon for standing against gays and lesbians and gay marriage. A few passages in the Bible speak to the subject. A couple in the old testament and a couple in the new testament. Interestingly enough, Jesus never spoke of the subject.
More and more people everyday are coming into this world and growing up self declaring themselves as gay or lesbian. It used to be a 1 in 10 percentage for how many people were attracted to the same sex. Lately it seems like that number is no longer true and that it’s much higher. I once thought myself to be living in sin because of what other people told me, and because of what the Bible said in those couple of passages. Through my own journey of self-sacrifice, pain, and prayer, I learned God felt differently.
I hold the firm truth today that the Bible was written by man. While its writings may have been inspired by God, it is not perfect and it was also put together by man with man’s agenda. I choose to live my life by God speaking directly to me and within me. I take the Bible as an acronym now, Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. To me it is a wonderful book with great messages. But I live according to God who speaks directly to me. To say that God doesn’t change or that the Bible is perfect seems outrageous to me. The Bible talks about it being ok to have multiple wives, to not eating certain foods ever, to not wearing leather, amongst other things. Christian scholars and men of cloth will find all the reasons why those aren’t true in today’s day and age and that they were all written as a sign of the times. Why hasn’t that been just as true with homosexuality? I have found that those most outspoken on this issue don’t have a gay son or daughter, have never had any gay friends, and even in some cases, are fighting their own same sex attractions within themselves.
What I know is this. I didn’t make a choice to be this way. If I had a choice, I would not choose to be gay in a time and age where people are so divided on this issue. I would not choose to be gay when I am not given the same rights as someone who is heterosexual. I would not choose to be gay when I can’t express my feelings about someone I love safely in public without the fear of being beaten or chastised.
Right now with gay marriage, unless one is lucky enough to live in a state where it’s protected, if one partner was to die, it’s not a guarantee that any will for the other partner to receive the deceased’s estate would be upheld. One of my friends went through this many years back. His partner died and his partner’s will left him everything. The deceased partner’s family came in, used the Bible, their Christian beliefs, and the courts and nullified the will leaving my friend with nothing. Is that fair? Truthfully, is that being Christian?
Senator Portman is truly an honorable man. Being in the public eye, he took a stance that is now forcing other political people in office to face this issue. Why shouldn’t two men or two women be able to marry each other and have the same rights? The only argument today is that the Bible says so. What happened to the separation of church and state? Do you really believe that if Jesus appeared today in our society that he would sit there and say, “No, I’m sorry, even though John and Jeremy truly love each other they can’t marry each other and don’t deserve to have the same rights as Joan and Jeremy.” Personally, I believe God, Jesus, and all the angels and spiritual beings are shaking their heads and wishing we would all just express love and equality to each other.
That’s what Jesus was about. Expressing love. Unconditional love. Is it being unconditionally loving to deny two people who love each other the right to marry and the same protections that marriage brings?
Maybe several million more people need to come to this Earth and be born gay or lesbian to bring the message across a little clearer from God and His Kingdom.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson