It hurts that we can’t have an honest discussion about gay marriage, and now I fear we never will.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that gay marriage must now be the law of the land, and many people I love are celebrating. I am happy for them in this moment but I am sad for our country. I have a bad feeling that this road — legal gay marriage mandated by the Supreme Court but not approved by the people — doesn’t end in a happy place.
That’s how the debate about gay marriage has shaken out so far. It has been vile — a lot like the abortion debate. There’s no grace and no understanding that people of good conscience can come to dramatically different ideas about right and wrong.
For all the talk of tolerance, the gay marriage debate has been anything but.
I have sincere concerns about gay marriage — the least of which actually has anything to do with what people do in their own bedrooms or whom they chose to love. For the record, I don’t care.
I am a traditionalist by nature. I am change averse. I was born this way. It’s unwise to make far-reaching decisions about longstanding traditions without careful consideration based on logic and reasoning. We shouldn’t base public policy on emotion.
This debate was based on feelings. Personally, I don’t believe the state should bless marriages or relationships.
I wanted God’s blessing for my marriage, but no state document can provide that. I got a marriage certificate so I could be added to my husband’s insurance, for tax purposes and for our banking account. These could have been accomplished without the state’s input, and quite frankly, if I had my way, the state would have nothing to do with it. On principal, I oppose laws that encourage or discourage legal behavior.
State approval can’t mandate that others bless any marriage, though I think that’s the impossible end goal of gay marriage advocates. My fear is that the government will begin revoking the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to perform gay weddings.
There is no greater good in America than what can be found in her churches, and I mourn this nail in their coffin. Again, I wish our tax code didn’t reward or punish.
This decision will kill many churches. Prior to the court’s decision, some had agreed to do the ceremonies without court intervention.
Many innocent, decent people also will be damaged in the crossfire of this decision. In the name of tolerance, they already have. Think of the cake bakers and wedding photographers forced by government fiat to use their talents in ways that violate their consciences. In the truest sense of the word, I am “pro-choice.” If it isn’t physically hurting others, Americans should be allowed to follow their conscience.
My pastor refused to perform my marriage ceremony. His refusal, because of things we had done in our pasts, was devastating. I disagreed with his decision. I disagreed with his reasoning, but we didn’t threaten to sue. We didn’t call him names or suggest that others call him intolerant, judgmental or bigoted. It hurt, but my feelings don’t trump his conscience. It would have been nice to have his approval, but we didn’t need his blessing.
I come from a long line of people — OK, two — who didn’t need the approval of others for their marriage.
My dad is black and my mother is white, and they were married in 1971, a few years after a court decision that demanded all states approve of interracial marriages.
It damages me when people say their marriage is the moral equivalent of gay marriage today. It isn’t, and I am the living proof. My brother and I are the natural products of their relationship. No child, yet, is the natural byproduct of a gay relationship. Science may one day change that, but until then, creation of another human requires a man and a woman.
Government’s original interest in marriage was for the welfare of children, the natural byproducts of male-female sexual relationships. No one needs the government’s approval for sexual relationships, and no one should need the government’s approval to love whomever they want.
Now we won’t have this discussion about government’s interest in marriage. Is it necessary? Is it reasonable? I don’t know the answer.
Here is what I do know: Love is patient and love is kind.
The gay marriage debate has been anything but.
Love does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud.
A healthy debate would likely have come to the same end, but the Supreme Court ended the discussion without input from the people.
Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered.
An honest discussion, based on love, understanding and actual tolerance, will likely never happen. We should all be able to live together, tolerate and understand one another even when we disagree.
The Supreme Court decision likely stuck a knife in that, and I’m heartbroken.
Freelance columnist Danedri Herbert writes in this space once a month.