Register Sunday | September 23 | 2018

Do The Right Thing

"Of course, people can pick from the Bible whatever they want. "

I just got the following e-mail from a friend of mine:

“On Monday, May 24 at 12:00 NOON, Michael and I were married in a private ceremony by a Justice of the Peace in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Stone, Michael's sister was our witness. Having been together for the past 10 years, we decided to apply for a marriage license on the first day full marriage rights were available in the U.S. on Monday, May 17 in Massachusetts. We did so in-person at Cambridge City Hall, and allowing for blood tests results and the three day waiting period, we returned to Cambridge a week later, yesterday for the ceremony. Although the outcome of any legislative challenges to the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that allows full marriage to same sex couples is uncertain, the soonest these rights might be revoked is 2006. Needless to say we will enjoy wedded bliss until then.

We have not yet decided whether or not to have a party in celebration of our marriage, we'll keep you posted.”

The strangest thing: Armageddon never came. I, personally, still want to get married some day, even though the institution is forever sullied by my friend.

This debate confuses me. A lot of it probably has to do with where you live. If you live in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, etc. then you probably know a gay person. Or even gay people. It's harder to look a friend in the face and tell them, “Well, I understand you want to be happy, but, see, you’re people are inherently amoral and marriage needs to be protected from you. Can you go away now?” This issue is an easy one for me; there are two sides: The right side and a bigoted side. Those who feel that preventing someone from marrying because they are “protecting the sanctity of marriage” miss the point. If your only back up is a misinterpreted Bible passage (of which, probably on 10% of those who quote it could actually point to, and even more probably don't know that homophobia wasn't an official Catholic doctrine until about 600 years ago) to defend your view, you’ve sadly missed the point of the Bible as well. (Disclaimer: Though I studied religion extensively in college, and have pursued religious, faith-based questions most of my life, I am not a religious person. It makes it easy, coupled with my studies, to make the sort of assessment I just did. It makes me terribly sad when people use the Bible as a prodding poll or weapon.)

At a rally month’s ago I saw a woman against gay marriage holding a banner that said “God is not a bigot,” meaning that gay marriage was wrong in principle, Biblically. But if God is against gay marriage then S/He is a bigot. The Bible is not a book to be interpreted at it’s letter, at least it never was in my studies. It seems at its most reasonable to be a guide of how to live your life with most of the rules were set out to show you a path to Heaven, a path to enlightenment. There’s a section in Matthew and Mark (don’t remember which chapters, in the 12s and 13s I think) where the Pharisees ask Jesus what, of all these rules and parables, are the most important. Jesus explains that everything stems from the the following two principles. One was to honor God the Father. The other was to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It could be said that this is the central message of the Bible, the founding rules of Christianity (and Western Religious Theological Philosophy), and thusly of the United States. And if it does stem from this idea—you know, loving your neighbor as you love yourself—then Jesus just might be pro gay marriage?

Of course, people can pick from the Bible whatever they want. They can argue this issue with as much finesse as they need. Pick a side, but I don’t think this is an issue anyone wants to be wrong on. One is right, and the other is hatefully bigoted. And I know we all consider ourselves go be good people at heart, and therefor not capable of bigotry, but that can't technically be true if this issue is up for debate, can it?

The other answer is time, because this is also a generational conflict. My generation, on the whole, probaly sees this as something of a non-issue. Gay Marriage? Yes. So let the old people fade away who really feel that the blocking off from happiness and isolating a set of people into obscurity are necessary to preserve some perverted nostalgic notion of a long dead time that only exists in their memories is something they find worth fighting about. My father’s generation was more open minded than my grandmother’s, her’s than my great-grandmother’s. So fight this fight if you feel it worth while. My generation will fight back, and when your gone, or no longer in a position to have any say-so, we’ll do the right thing in your place.