I see in the news, New Jersey’s supreme court says: “Must give same rights to same-sex couples…” Massachusetts, Connecticut and several others are already there. I wonder, can’t help but think “DUH, of course same-sex couples should have the same legal status as different-sex partners.” And yet, so many people, reasonable people in a lot of cases, seem to have the exact opposite view. The most politically liberal, fiscally profligate, will come out with statements that, if directed to race, would have them shunned forever- “Not like them, never for them, they’re freaks, sinners, monsters.”
Where does this come from, I wonder? I met someone that had been severely beaten for attempting to defend a Hmong student- specifically against a racist slur, which escalated- who, in context of homosexuality (male or female), is the least tolerant of anyone I’ve known.
I think of myself as fairly centrist, in terms of my choices for political platforms, leaning on the conservative side, but mostly due to fiscal needs;* yet, I can’t understand this intolerance. I don’t like the redefining or repurposing of the word “marriage”, but mostly because of its religious connections. Just as the state shouldn’t get into the church, so too, the church doesn’t belong in the state.
So, why not re-classify, for legal purposes, all committed, legally recognized relationships? Male/Female, Male/Male, Female/Female- let’s all be joined in a universally recognized civil union, for legal and tax and estate and guardianship purposes; and let the unions be acknowledged where appropriate for the couple, be it before a judge, a rabbi, a minister or a priest.
After all, it’s not any business of the state, if a particular congregation/denomination doesn’t acknowledge that union- much as the catholic charities are allowed to not give to gay/lesbian groups, does it really matter to the tax-man whether or not the partnership was blessed in a church, formalized by a judge, or even noted by the captain of a ship? I think not. Just as a private organization is free to exclude anyone they choose to, thinking specifically of Augusta National, or the Boy Scouts of America- just as they are under no compulsion to follow the rules of labor law, or public-employee discrimination guidelines, the churches can continue to exclude at their will. Whether or not that is appropriate, is another whole topic, at a time when churches seem to be struggling to remain relevant.
Does that mean the right-wing conservative Christian base will be silenced? Certainly not, they’re still free to preach, to try to convert, to attempt to convince anyone that wants to listen that the world view they hold is correct, and should be followed by all. It does, however, move the religious debate from the legal/political forum back into the pulpit and the hearts of the listeners, where, to my mind, it belongs.
So, why is this on my mind? Relativism, I guess. Is a sin in the 16th century still a sin? Or, can some things become more clearly defined, or recognized as inappropriate as our society matures, as our global community becomes more and more enlightened to the differences and uniqueness that makes us all special? Didn’t Jesus himself say something along the lines of “There will be slaves always”? I’ll have to check if that’s real, or a myth.
After all, there are still, in the twenty-first century, laws on the books that prohibit sodomy, and I can’t help but wonder why? Who cares what the neighbors are doing in their bedrooms, or kitchen or wherever? As long as there aren’t kids involved, why would anyone else care? Or, even want to know?
Some of the things we’ve been playing with are certainly outside of the “Right-Wing Conservative Christian We know best, what you should do and think at all times viewpoint” crowd, but I can’t help wondering, “What business is it of anyone else’s?” It works, for us, and if it helps us communicate, helps us grow that connection, that deep and wonderful joining, then celebrate the adventure, rather than fear the unknown.
Not easy, all the time, but does that mean it’s not fun? No. Scary as hell, often, and I get apprehensive, and nervous, and tense. But, at the same time, what a joyful, loving and enriching thing to do with the one person that matters. So, are we bad, awful terrible people going to go to hell in a hand basket? Or, are we two people who are rediscovering the joy of discovery?
*Yes, Lynn, I know you don’t see that, but I do split the ticket as often as not!