So in my current contemplative and unemployed state, realising I have not really said much about marriage equality, I figured perhaps now is the time. Up front, hence the title of my blog post, I will be voting yes! For my friends within the LGBTIQ community please forgive me if my wording is not quite right. I am not an expert, I am a human being on the journey of life with an opinion I guess.
I have watched social media and seen the hurtful comments that have been made predominantly by the nay sayers but I’ve also watched as the nay sayers claim vilification. I have watched as ‘Christians’ have used the scriptures to ‘back up’ their decision to vote no. Honestly it’s painful to watch, so many people in the LGBTIQ community having their lives, but more than that, their very identities as human beings judged, condemned and slandered – that is what is so painful.
I am a heterosexual woman, I have been married for almost 28 years (more than half of my life) and I am an ordained minister, so yes a Christian. I will not quote scripture here this is not a biblical reflection; however, I do believe it’s a theological reflection. I am sharing from my understanding of the nature of God, my understanding of the nature of humanity and my understanding of the relationship between God and creation (probably specifically humanity, but we’re all part of the bigger picture, we’re all part of the whole of creation and the cosmos beyond our understanding and knowledge.)
I think the key word to focus on at this time, as the surveys begin to arrive in our mailboxes, is equality. I am seeing the comments about gay marriage, same sex marriage, but for me this is about marriage and equality, it is about affording our neighbour equality, the right to marry the person they’re in love with, who have already made a commitment to each other and would like to celebrate their commitment in the act of marriage. And lets not forget the rights that are afforded to us married hetero’s that our neighbours are denied.
Marriage in the ancient world was not about the celebration of love, it was something quite different, and as a heterosexual woman something that I would never enter into if we were talking ancient worldview. I believe that God is beyond gender, God is Spirit but it seems rather than accepting that each of us are created in the image of God, exactly as we are, we spend so much time trying to create God in the image of us, or more specifically in the image of a man. Our sexuality is part of our identity, part of who God created (if that’s what we believe) and as part of the whole that’s exactly who we are created to be. The next thing for me is that I believe God is a God of love, not hate and anger. For those reading this that profess a Christian faith I trust that in the gospel’s you encountered a Christ that worked for justice, for equality, people who the elite felt where undesirable Jesus stood with, not because he saw they where undesirable and felt sorry for them, but because they were human beings, flesh and bone, actually just like him. I am not saying we dismiss peoples sexuality, because to do so is to deny that part of their identity, I would say the same thing about colour, we can’t deny because when we do we deny identity – BUT ultimately we all hold a common bond, we are all creatures of creation, human beings on the journey of life, we all desire a place to belong and the majority of people desire to find a partner where there is mutual connection, mutual respect and mutual love and when this is found why would we not want to celebrate.
Heterosexual friends, married and unmarried for that matter, it seems that we are the majority, the elite’s, and I say that not in any way proud, because so often it is this group that causes harm, that strives to remain in that status feeling powerful, Why? Well I think it’s about superiority, it’s fear of loosing our place. Well to me that’s just plain wrong, because if we have any desire to use that status it ought to be a desire to see justice and equality for all. As for the fear, I’ve noticed a few comments about it demeaning the understanding of marriage (sorry can’t remember the exact word, but that’s close enough), really? If you’re happy in your marriage and you share the joys of anniversaries and celebrations, the joy of love that has been joined together in marriage, isn’t that something that you feel all who would choose to marry ought to have the experience of sharing? Or is it perhaps that your experience has not been good and this is a perfect arena for projection? I am trying hard to understand the true underlying reasoning for voting no, I am trying to understand how abuse and demeaning of a neighbour can even begin to be justified, because honestly I can’t see it as right or as Christian. I would like to see people who aim to vote no provide a response that is not quoted from the bible or purely from an elite heterosexual position, a response that has been thought through, contemplated and reflected on, that is respectful of neighbour, but even as I write that I struggle to know what that response might be, because I can’t see one – I owned my position at the beginning before you get cross with me!
There are so many injustices in our world, all injustices begin with us, humanity, all resolutions begin with us. This injustice of marriage inequality is one that ought never have been open up to public opinion (that would’ve required good strong leadership, need I say more?) Our LGBTIQ neighbour during the next few months will be exposed to abuse, condemnation, their lives laid vulnerable, open to the vultures of creation that want to peck them apart (sorry for the use of them) it’s just plain wrong. No-one had a say in who I married, no-one was able to stop it happening, what right does anyone have to prevent two consenting adults who are in love saying ‘I do’ sharing their vows and celebrating their love?
I stand firm in supporting marriage equality, to the point where until there is marriage equality I won’t preside at another wedding. I can’t with any integrity participate in an act that currently discriminates. As Christians we are called to stand against injustice, to be the prophetic voice in the face of injustice and this is a great injustice. For those that don’t profess a Christian faith to put it in another term this is a denial of rights, human rights. Over the next while my prayers are with all neighbours who are part of the LGBTI community, that you will be surrounded by people who care for you, love you and will support you through this exercise born of poor leadership. Vote YES and put an end to one injustice that ought never to have been opened up to public opinion.