Just last week I became a proponent of marriage equality. A very tiny proponent. What the hell happened?
First gay siting: The comically stupid gay bar scene in Police Academy. Homos. Gross. Creepy. To-be-avoided.
My pastor said we should take our money out of Seafirst Bank because they were giving money to gay causes. There wasn’t much theological or moral discussion on the matter in 1986, obviously anal sex is perverted, despicable (Yes, just gay men found scorn. I don’t remember being afraid of lesbians–Penthouse magazine made them out to be quite awesome actually and transsexuals might as well have been unicorns in my 10 year old world).
My Mom told me about the first time she saw two guys kissing and how it made her feel sick; she doesn’t have a hard time calling it an abomination.
My Episcopal priest uncle came out gay to the dismay of his wife and kids. Fortunately he lived in Guam so we could mostly ignore him and the issue. Wouldn’t you know, a few years later he got straight again or something.
In 2002 I met Vanessa, a Christian doing mission work in the same city and organization as myself. She is a lesbian. I had a lot of questions for her and she was patient and kind. I prayed for her a lot, especially when she would text an account of her depression and loneliness. I prayed that God would cure her of her sexuality and she would find a good man. (Yes I was on the list of possible good men). I don’t pray that any more.
George snatched up Al’s Florida votes and I had my own kind running the show; not so coincidentally the term “Christ Follower” emerged within Christian circles. Oh you’re evangelical like “W”, no I’m a Christ Follower like no one ever. I barely pulled the lever for the halfwit in 2004, the chief reason being Kerry’s aggressive exit strategy in Iraq—if I knew one thing, Bush was highly motivated to see his crusade end and those 150,000 dead Arabs to make good on getting killed. In that sense I was a one-issue voter.
Of course I would worship Barack Obama: intelligent, generous, articulate, a man of plain, informed, unspectacular faith. How is it that the competition for the most important job in America barely gets one good applicant every four years. I’ll admit he was under-qualified but after all the qualified people in the Bush Administration were indicted, resigned, recused, redacted, it was easy to forgive someone’s qualifications as long as they had a sense of care for those on the margins. To Bush’s credit, he did spend more on African relief than any previous POTUS. He is a complicated decider.
I began to accept that not all laws and lawmakers had to align with my own spiritual-morality; that public policy had to submit to universal codes of justice and not biblical (those should be the same). The Christian Nation is a bumbling myth and I don’t need the Senate to open with prayer to show whatever it is mostly insincere people praying shows. When people prop up anything from the Old Testament theocracy or Founding Father claptrap as justification for law X, I assume they have arrived at this point: I know there is no real reason for us to require a courthouse to post the Ten Commandments on a plaque in the hallway but it seems important to a bunch of nervous people in my district. Henceforth notwithstanding apropos, I often quip: “All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.” Yes, that’s in the good book.
So, is anal sex beneficial. It doesn’t make babies, but it can induce pleasure and intimacy. Those are important things in a relationship. Oral sex doesn’t make babies either. And soon you’re dicing up sex matters with the Vatican and condom use, masturbation, and natural law. (Catholic leadership and sex are an impossible subject, I’ll leave it to Sinéad.) It may be that in our present society two men are not the ideal to raise children, but that doesn’t make it wrong or immoral, it just means it is difficult. (And as Tina Fey put it, gay couples watch their kids play hockey just as well as straight couples. A finely un-nuanced assessment of the matter). It is also difficult for people of different ethnic, economic, or generational backgrounds to partner, but that is no argument for outlawing them. For that matter I think loveless married heterosexuals should not have children—that is plain misery.
On the matter of intersex (which WordPress is underlining with a red squiggle): 1 in 1,666 births are neither XX nor XY. What are we to do if someone has both or neither functioning reproductive parts or is biologically not male or female? You will have to wear a dress and grow your hair long and marry someone who wears pants and keeps their hair short, otherwise people are uncomfortable. Sometimes, loving your neighbor involves discomfort. It is probably more than sometimes. Chances are you know someone who is neither man nor woman.
And all this arguing about the historical institution of marriage—that Western society would crumble once heterosexual marriage is extended to homosexuals. Is our society really that fragile? For all the progress as a civilization: democracy, the end of slavery, child labor laws, workers’ rights, valuing people with disabilities, education for everyone, the right to a fair trial, caring for the environment, wearing seat belts and crash helmets, and the moment two women are legally given the right to see each other in the hospital or retain property after death, everything comes crashing down. I can’t recall why I ever thought that, but it was somehow justification against the large, faceless, threatening, scary, gross, perversion of gayness. It sounds like the same crap we were slinging at the American Civil Rights Movement. And never mind that Solomon had 1,000 women at his disposal, Mary was 13 when God impregnated her, and a dozen other patriarchs practiced polygamy with mostly no comment from anyone writing Bible verses.
Last week, President Obama is interviewed and confesses support for marriage equality as an extension of his Christian faith.
The final straw (of course it is my ego): A poll about non-Christian’s conceptions of Christianity, the results were telling and disgusting—”anti-homosexual” was the top response. The unbearable shame. Ok, that is enough. I am not against non-straight people. They’ve been hated almost forever and now most vocally by those who share my faith. Time for something else. Time to get off the sidelines. Time to help non-straight people enjoy a full life with someone they love.
That’s not mostly what happened.