Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Far Will They Take It?

One aspect of the whole Gay marriage debate, (holy war) which I have not seen is what the defining of marriage by Christians means for the rest of us who are religious but non Christian.

I was standing in the shower thinking about this. How can anyone really define marriage for anyone else? Maybe the state can say this is a marriage that is a marriage but that definition does not change the quality of one relation to their chosen one. And even if a marriage is defined as one man one woman not only can the state not tell me that I can't consider my friends as married.

I really have absolutely no clue what legally constitutes marriage; what does it get me, and my spouse. How I see it is there is a contract saying I am married and then there is the "spiritual" (I still don't know what that word means) side, or religious, marriage. The part of actual commitment. Lets face it as the Gay community has proven, at least to those of us who have been paying attention, one need not have a legal contract to be committed to someone.

This is where religion comes into the marriage. Religions are the guardians of spirituality (what does that word mean?) . I could have said that better, to me, the job of a religion is to help clarify life. Marriage is part of life, a sometimes difficult part, one that needs the help of a supernatural, supreme or enlightened being to keep going and to convince you that you should. Unless you are an atheist, then I guess it is your own convictions keeping you married or ...Love? (gasp)

Gay marriage is also a freedom of religion issue. What I have been hearing from my L.D.S. relatives is that they are afraid that without marriage being defined as between one man and one woman they will eventually be sued into allowing gays into their temples. Could this happen? maybe.
It seems that Churches should be able to marry anyone they think fit to marry according to their codes; within reason.

There are churches that already do actively marry same sex couples. There are recognized non-Christian religions that also do not have qualms about whether the couples are straight or Gay.

So, so what if the majority has decided to try to put their version of reality into law, it has not really changed reality for the rest of us. Fundamentally I will continue to view my married gay friends as married, regardless of laws. I know that this does not help legal headaches same sex couples face, at the very least they will know that their marriage has the support of all those who really matter.

Finally, Christians should keep this issue out of the public sphere and put it to the Christian theologists and accept that their version of reality is not everyone's. If someone quotes Biblical scripture to me I am likely respond with Buddhist teachings.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Equal Protection

A few weeks ago my family and I went to a wedding down in the SF bay area. We went down to see two good friends, who are raising their daughter together, get married. They have been living together for some time now and finally decided to tie the knot.

I have been to weddings like this, where two people who have been together for a while get married, the couples sometimes get ribbed that they are doing it just to throw a party.

I don't care how cynical it may seem but even those types of weddings are special. It is like they are coming out to their friends and admitting they actually do want to stay together and they are not going to just split up.
And to get the support of their friends and family they throw a party.

This couple in particular knew of the support they had. When their baby was born their whole community went to the naming ceremony. Then when the momma got cancer we all prayed for her and hoped she would get well.

Of course when we found out they had the chance to get married we dropped everything to go and be there to show our support. Plus there was not a whole lot of time. There marriage license would be denied right now because they are two women.

I can't say that I am mystified why anyone would vote to deny someone else's rights. About twenty years ago, I might have voted that way myself, not because I actively hated but because I did not understand that love is not some static thing that exists in certain situations but is fluid. I also really believed that my Church would not lead me the wrong way.

At the time of the founding of our country the idea that all people had inherent rights was pretty big, so big in fact that it was written both in the Declaration of Independence and into the Constitution. I know, back then, when they were granting rights, they gave most of them to taxpayers; men who were not slaves. Even though the other groups, women, slaves, Jews, and Catholics( in some states) did not get the same rights, I assert that the writers (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) really did believe that those groups were actually equal to the people holding all the power.

They must have known, that those other groups would eventually have the right to equal protection and voice in the government. They did not set up a democracy where the majority ruled. They set up a Republican government one where the power is not concentrated in one branch, one with courts to interpret laws etc. one that would protect minorities.

From what I have read of John Adams, I think he would be happy about the abolition of slavery and the subsequent civil rights, he would not be surprised by women getting the vote. What would he make of same sex marriage? I don't know. Judging by what was written in the Constitution I doubt he would vote to take away rights.