Image from Wikimedia Commons; Photographer ~ Jeff Belmonte
These are some thoughts I wrote on Friday (with a few edits/additions) after hearing about the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
Even though I knew it was coming, I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision. I understand why many are happy. I understand the desire for authentic living, for love and relationship, for a sense of cultural acceptance and belonging. I understand that bigotry and bullying exist around sexual orientation, and I think that is wrong. I understand these things.
But I still feel that when all things are weighed in the balance — including the balance of rights on the table (including religious, state, speech, parental, and the historical patterns regarding what is best for children) — we could and should have found ways to allow gays the chance to have legal rights in relationships *without* redefining marriage. At the very least, given the fact that marriage entered the political realm, I think the process should have been allowed to truly play out in the public square. This is such a significant, final, irreversible decision for our nation — and for generations to come — and yet it was set in stone by five people. (Actually, by one person…that one vote that swung the Court’s decision 5-4.)
I realize we likely would have ended with gay marriage being legalized, eventually, but I think our nation would have been better served to not have judicial fiat hijack the natural process. (As one of the dissenting judges said, the public discussion about gay marriage was democracy at its best.) This decision was done TO the people, not WITH the people. I think that is government overstepping its role, to say the least.
I’m also deeply concerned about the kind of potential intolerance that could happen now toward those whose personal, professional, and/or religious perspectives and work focus on and celebrate the central role of of marriage between a man and a woman. The rights of religion and free speech will be harder to protect now, imo. I hope we as a nation can rise to the occasion.
So, not with any spirit of contention, but in the spirit of caring about the other rights still needing to stay on the table, I am writing this post. I want to claim my space and right to be able to continue to believe and declare that I think marriage between a man and woman is still best for society and for children (and is central to God’s plan) — even while I also honor the legal right of my gay friends and fellow citizens to have the option to have their relationships recognized by the government as marriage.
I believe in honoring the law. And I have covenanted to find opportunities to share and declare what I believe about God’s laws and His plan, even if the laws of men may teach something different. In the context of this recent change in the law, this is not to force those beliefs on anyone, but to own them and let them be part of the continued conversation about our nation, our children, our laws, our political process, our rights, our Constitution, and our future.
It is unfortunate that many of us with religious beliefs have been *afraid* to speak up and share our perspectives over the past years, because those perspectives have been sometimes labeled as hateful, not loving, etc. I urge us all to keep sharing our perspectives. There is no love in fear. I think it will be increasingly important now that a decision is made for us to learn to live peaceably and respectfully in our differences — because a change in the law will not make those differences disappear.
Lastly, channeling thoughts from a cousin of mine, I also hope that on both sides of this divide, we can find ways to work together — regardless of our position on gay marriage — to protect children and marriages and families from the harms of abuse, pornography, sex trafficking, addictions of all types, and other societal ills that affect us all. There is much good that can be done when people of all walks of life, even with different perspectives on big-ticket issues, can unite together around common causes for good.