I believe that when Vice President Joe Biden came out in support of same-sex marriages last week, it wasn’t on a whim. I believe that in the vote-pandering season, a politician will say darn near anything to get attention and President Barack Obama’s handlers decided it was time to make a little ruckus. Boy, did the political rogues pick a dandy this time – the Republican Right will rise to the bait in a flash!
Vice President Biden, not a man who I greatly admire, got the issue on a fast roll when he said, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.
Before Education Secretary Arne Duncan would quickly follow suit, I thought deeply and honestly about what Biden said and, at the risk of incurring an avalanche of fire and brimstone, I agree with him in part – I am for same-sex unions but not same-sex marriages. President Obama craftily came out in favor of same-sex marriages yesterday, this a day after the State of North Carolina banned same-sex marriages, so allow me to tell you how I feel about a very controversial topic that is now in a tornado of a swirl.
Because I am heterosexual, I am the first to admit I know absolutely nothing about homosexuality. I like to think it is the same affection between two people that I have had for several women in my life – it’s a profound love – and I respect that. I also believe human beings in America are entitled to the same rights and freedoms; if a heterosexual couple is entitled to certain benefits, a homosexual couple deserves the same benefits, too.
Where I get caught is in my belief that marriage is a sacred ceremony, not a civil one. I am a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, and I believe the Bible identifies homosexuality as a sin. Hold on, this is my personal view and I know it is interpreted by others far differently. That’s why we have so many denominations in the Christian faith – everybody thinks differently and believes differently about religion. While I don’t agree with every tribe, I still respect their freedom to believe as they wish.
My stars, if you think that any one view is the answer, please be reminded this topic alone has darn near wrecked several denominations in recent years. I personally saw the same-sex issue tear apart the Episcopal Church. We all have different views and the way we each interpret what the Bible teaches us.
My feeling is that a same-sex union, a legal bonding between two persons, should entitle a couple to the same civil benefits that a religious ceremony accords a marriage. Again, a “union” is civil and a “marriage” is religious in my thinking. And I believe a heterosexual couple, if neither person is religious, should be eligible to be joined in a similar union if they opposed being married. Call it separation of church and state, whatever, but recognize both as doing the same thing.
You ask, what about a homosexual person who deeply loves Jesus Christ? I have hundreds of gay friends, both men and women, and I know in my heart that many are devout Christians. I also know that my Jesus can forgive anything and that the way you get into heaven is asking Him to come into your heart and believe He is the Risen Savior. I believe it is that simple and there are no asterisks. So do we Christians – all admitted sinners who have also come short of the Glory of God – ban a Christian homosexual from marriage? My answer to that one is that when any of us joins a church and a denomination, we agree to uphold the laws and rules of the church as decreed by the Ruling Elders of the denomination. In recent years some churches have allowed gay clergy to take leading roles in worship.
Some of those denominations, if you haven’t already noticed, allow same-sex marriages but only in states where it is legal. While such ceremonies run counter to my personal interpretation of God’s laws, I respect the views of those denominations and their members. While I have a tough time with the term “marriage,” I understand the want and need of a civil “union.”
I was impressed by President Obama’s remarks to ABC’s Robin Roberts where, in one part, he said he and the First Lady had talked about same-sex marriage. “This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do.
“In the end, the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people … We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as President and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a dad and a husband and -- hopefully -- the better I’ll be as president.”
Well, on this topic I find I think like the President does. I just believe the rite of marriage is a holy vow, while a civil union is a legal instrument. And that the United States of America should treat all couples the same.