This past election, Tennessee voted overwhelmingly to ban future legislation concerning the legalization of gay marriage. The staunch 'humph' in the air feels like many people think that they banned gay marriage (and, indirectly, they did). I could always be wrong, but that's how it feels. What they banned, however, was merely future state legislation. If there is any issue which divides people more, I would say that it was gay marriage. This is a sticky situation.
The whole thing has caused me to question my own marriage, and what my marriage (and marriage in general) constitutes. I ask myself: if the government took away hospital visitation rights between myself and my wife, would we be as an unmarried couple? If we could not indicate certain criteria on our W-2, would we be guilty of adultery? These are the two examples I can think of, but I'm sure there are more. My conclusion is that nothing that would have been legislated over was truly indicative of a marriage. My only problem (that, indeed, would certainly have come up sooner or later, and might yet) was with the ability of gay couples to adopt children. It is not for me to say if people can or cannot Love, but I cannot abide the deliberate raising of children without a father-figure or a mother-figure. There are certain things that only the same-sex parent can teach to a child; and the same is true for the opposite-sex parent.
Now, I know that the inevitable questioning will come regarding homosexuality and the Bible. To tell you the truth, I welcome it. I can say that God condemns homosexuality, but to those who jump to quickly to the bandwagon, I will say that God also condemns not Loving Him infinitely. We, in our sinfulness, are unable to do this. We were born without the ability. Only in the provision and grace of Christ can we Love God as He commands. Furthermore, my wife and I do not trust our marriage fully to sex any more than we do to paying the bills. Our identity, as individuals and as a representational God-and-Church union is found in Christ. Thank God! For we certainly fall short if we even make it to 'short'. I don't think that, on the whole, gay couples spend all their time having sex either (if you're under twelve, you should have probably stopped reading ten minutes ago). But let's explore a thought for a minute...
I recently borrowed Return of the King from some friends and laughed and cried through it again (often, the two coincide). One striking aspect was the exploration of the relationship between Frodo and Sam. As actors, Elijah and Sean are very good at being unabashed in many areas (notice Sean Astin in Click
), but the characters were close in a loving, and yet quite heterosexual way that the world almost never explores, notices, recognizes, nor understands. The unfortunate thing is that the church has fallen short in this holy brother/sister-hood as well. I will speak only for men (because.......I'm not a woman). As men, we are often uncomfortable with physicality beyond shaking hands and the 'sideways' hug. Few men are willing to fully hug one another. Fewer are willing to kiss one another. I, if you've read Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages
, am a very physically oriented person. I confessed to a friend that I am often nearly overtaken by the desire to embrace and kiss my friends, both men and women. It often prevents me from looking people in the eyes, lest I should succumb to this politically incorrect expression of Love, and be thought of as either gay, crazy, or pretentious - even though I've been spoken of as all three anyway.
Perhaps, at least in part, the gay community is reaching for an expression of love that the church has treated with general neglect. Perhaps (and again I speak for men), gay men reach for a love that is a fickle and traitorous shadow of that Love which Jesus bore for the apostles, and indeed bears for us.
In all this, I can't say that I support the legislative ban on legislation on the rights of gay couples as
couples, since most things that had the possibility of being legislated had nothing to do with marriage as a Blessed Unity. Most of them had to do with marriage as an institution (which always changes). And even the government believes in that Magic, the Magic that is Love from the Source of Love (though they don't understand it or speak of it), and realizes that certain things cannot be written down. This is quite well indicated by the recognition of a 7+year co-habitation as a Common Law Marriage. Furthermore, there are quite a few non-family persons that I would want to have full access to my hospital room were I sick or dying, legislation or no. There are many more angles to this issue, but it is late, and long have I blogged.
Those of you who want to string me up now can easily find where I live. Release the hounds, let the manhunt begin.