Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog
I like many others, have been following the reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage and I have for the most part been disappointed by the reaction of the Christian moderate to conservative Church including to some degree my own pastor.
For a thoughtful view see this op-ed from CNBC by Miles Christian Daniels Gay marriage: A sad day for America?
I saw this whole issue as more a civil rights issue than a spiritual or even moral issue.
Why do we even have marriage sanctioned by the State or issue marriage licenses?
A marriage license is a contract between two people who are making a marriage commitment to each other. In order for that contract be enforceable under the law, we as a citizenry have authorized the State to recognize the commitment, through a marriage license, that establishes the legality and sets the legal terms and conditions of the relationship.
Two heterosexual people can marry and never darken the door of a church, never have clerical intervention of any type and enjoy all of the privileges of the marriage contract.
All the Court did was extend those same rights to people of the same gender.
Overlooked by many in the Christian right was this in the majority opinion with respect to religious opposition to same-sex marriage:
Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.
Mark Galli in Christianity Today, Six Things To Do after the Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage has some clarifying thoughts.
I for one do not feel threatened either legally or spiritually by the Court's decision. I don't see where this decision condones same sex marriage and in fact in its final statement the majority reaffirms the Church's right and seems to encourage the Church's position that same sex marriage should not be condoned.
The court does assure that those choosing this life style are afforded the full protection of the law.
A number of years ago I am in a hospital room sanding at the bedside and holding the hand of a man who is dying. He has just hours to live.
Out side in the hallway his life partner sits on bench with my wife crying uncontrollably. He is not allowed in the room because his partner's parents, who never really accepted their son's homosexuality, have assumed control and barred his partner from their son's presence. There is no recourse legal or otherwise. Had they been married this would not be the case.
There is no fear in the man's eyes-only loneliness and longing. I squeeze his hand gently; too weak to speak he squeezes my hand and looks toward the door then back to me. All I can do is turn away and cry.
Until you have had this or a similar experience, you may never fully understand the significance of the Court's decision.