Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Friday, August 29, 2008

An Interpretation

Christians,

When I see your strenuous objections to allowing gays and lesbians to marry, I think that you hold the sanctity of marriage to lie with the document signed in front of the county clerk, and not with the vows spoken between man and wife in the presence of clergy, family, and community. After all, lesbians and gays are currently getting married in churches left and right, and I haven't heard you object to that, or take a stand that that should be made illegal. So the sacred, holy aspect of marriage lies in whether the state – the secular government – recognizes it as valid. Am I correct in this understanding?

4 comments:

David Carrel said...

To be honest, I am not sure. I haven't thought about that.

ajandmac said...

i think you've thought about this WAY more than they have... [and by "they" i mean Christians, and yes, i'm generalizing.]

most people I've encountered have never really thought much about this topic at all. they believe what they've been taught and told to believe for their whole life. nothing more. then, when they met me and they couldn't just go on thinking the same things anymore because i was a human being, and what's more, their friend, they had to start asking questions.

it's good to get the ball rolling, and the discussions started now, but most people haven't thought twice about what it ACTUALLY is about gay marriages that bothers them so much.

anne said...

Actually Seda,

There is another situation that is as charged as this one, for similar reasons: having children out of wedlock. I would like to say, in defense of Christians, that, of all the parents, my father was a Southern Baptist turned evangelical and I was SURE that he would be the one who objected most strongly to my having a bastard child. He was the best one. I only had to tell him that what was between the father of my child and me was between both of us and god and we needed no priest to be in the middle of it. He felt fine with that. It was the other members of the family, who claimed to be "enlightened" who threw fits because I would not get married.

When I told my (now grown) son that he was a bastard, he just laughed. But only a little while ago, he would have had no rights and been shunned by society. I was not shunned by society, but I came under tremendous pressure to get married. Of course no one offered to foot the bill for me to get divorced if things went wrong, but things were not supposed to go wrong, were they?

Marriage is the stickiest legal thicket. The Celts (and other confederate societies) had 100 (count them) different kinds of marriage. Much of Jewish, Roman and Greek law was devoted to this subject, because of children and legacies.

Marriage can be a private affair until someone gets sick, there are children, or someone dies. There is no way that the church should or can provide for all the legalities involved in legacies, responsibility for family members and legitimacy of offspring. It's just too complicated. It belongs in the civil courts.

There is another apples an oranges argument here, one being sexual congress, (which the church policed and still offers moral standards) and intra-family legal affairs, which the church should just stay out of. I think Seda is willing to face the music of the first, but wants the legal rights of the second. Thieves belong in the second class, prostitutes in the first. Bastards belong in the second class, homosexuals in the first. It's too hard to mix them all up together under a moral heading.

I'm lucky. For my own reasons I chose to face the music with a bastard child, but he has legal rights under our laws--these days no one cares if he was born under the covers or out, so to speak.

I don't know if this helps, but maybe we can concede the legal rights to same sex marriages, but then discuss morals on another page.

Seda said...

David,
I think maybe that's why this issue is so deeply charged in the public, political discourse. I've spoken with many people who don't make a distinction between the vows spoken between two individuals, and the laws that affect those two, their children, their neighbors, and so on when they sign a legal document agreeing to live together, raise children together, and manage their property together.

AJ,
I think I have thought more about it, and I think you have, too, because most Christians have not been affected by it.

Anne,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. The info you provide is really helpful for me. There's a lot I don't know. I don't know how the Christians feel about it, but I think you've clarified the distinction I'm trying to make far better than I have!

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz