What would happen if...?
I'm going to float a balloon here and see where it drifts, so humor me.
As you probably know, in May of 2008 the Supreme Court of California overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. On June 16, 2008, that ruling went into effect. Thousands of gay and lesbian couples are flocking to California to be legally wed. There is a proposed constitutional amendment, however, called the "California Marriage Protection Act" which would override the Court's decision by defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. This proposed amendment will appear on the California general election ballot in November.
Obviously, passions are running high on both sides of the debate. This has gotten me to thinking...
What if we did allow marriage between consenting adults, regardless of gender? What would happen? Would God pour out His wrath upon America? Would panic in the streets ensue? Would we careen down a slippery slope of moral depravity ending in a cesspool of bestiality and child-rape?
Or... Would we just end up with more married couples?
I'm very pro-marriage, having been married myself for 21 years. I'm pro-monogamy. I believe that marriage, children and family are the basis for a healthy civilization. I think most Christians would agree. That being the case, perhaps we should promote--or at least accept, rather than reject--same-sex marriage. An increase in committed monogamous fully-recognized marriages would (it seems to me) bring added stability to the gay and lesbian community and therefore, to society as a whole. As long as we're dealing with consenting adults here, where no one is being victimized or exploited, I'm having trouble seeing the downside.
Gays are often demonized by Christians for their wildly promiscuous lifestyles. There seems to be a modicum of truth to this characterization, although there have also always been gays who practice chastity and monogamy. Gay people are not inherently out-of-control sexual gluttons--at least no more so than non-Gay people. Here's the thing though: Imagine that you are a young adult living in an alternate universe where homosexuality is the norm. In our hypothetical world, heterosexuality is shunned. Sometimes violently. To be attracted to the opposite sex is to be condemned to a life of shame and furtiveness. Since the dream of being publicly married to the type of person you are attracted to--and still be socially accepted--seems out of reach, you are left with the options of living a lie, accepting a lifetime of celibacy or joining a sub-culture in which transient sexual liaisons with opposite-sex partners is the norm.
What I'm getting at here is that perhaps some of the dangerously promiscuous behavior in the gay community is a direct result of their being marginalized by a Judeo-Christian society. Gays have historically been pushed into the corners. And we know what occurs in dark corners...
I suspect that if GLBT folks were just accepted in society as people and given all of the same rights and privileges as heteros--including legal marriage--we would see less of the extreme behavior that Christians (myself included) find so disturbing. When a heterosexual teenager is engaging in highly promiscuous and risky sexual behavior, we worry about the long-term damage that may result (emotionally, physically, spiritually) and we hope that they will someday settle down into a healthy monogamous relationship. Do we extend that same hope to gay teens?
Of course, every discussion among Christians about same-sex marriage eventually winds up at the Book of Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. I've come to the conclusion, after years of study, that a great deal of trouble and misery has been inflicted upon the world because of gross misunderstandings about the nature and purpose of the stories contained in the Book of Genesis. But that is a topic best left for a separate post.
For now, my default position is to love and accept.
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:8-10)