Help Me Understand: Why is Same-Sex Marriage a Threat to My Marriage?

HELP ME UNDERSTAND – This is a series of posts where I invite those who disagree with me about a great many things political, theological and social to speak their minds. My aim is not to incite comment wars, but to encourage genuine interaction between those who truly want to understand from where the other is coming. Please pass these posts onto folks who might be willing to engage and if you have a good question for the series, feel free to let me know.

In light of the recent New York State decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the first question in the series will be on same-sex marriage.   I have been clear where I stand on the question of same-sex marriage, I currently sit on the Board of CA Faith for Equality and I have blessed same-sex commitments in the past. My question has to do with one of the major arguments that is raised against legal recognition of same-sex marriage namely that, “Same sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage.” I do not assume that everyone who is against same-sex marriage uses this argument, but I think it is fair to say that this is one of the mostly widely used arguments heard in the public discourse.

So if you hold this position about same-sex marriage, and feel up to putting your words out there for interaction, please answer me this question,

How is same-sex marriage a threat to my traditional “one man and one women” 20+ year marriage or to the possible traditional marriage that any of my daughters may choose to enter into in the future?

So there you have it. I know that there is likely to be some feisty interaction about this here, but I hope I have laid down an invitation that will encourage passionate, yet gracious responses.


  • Anonymous  

    Don’t hold your breath, Natalie.  The closest thing Frank has provided to a “resource” is an essay from the Witherspoon Institute (a Christian “think tank”) and a post from NARTH.  Otherwise, he’s just making it up.

  • Sean middleton  

    As a gay male, I ask what is marriage, To me it is a heterosexual religious commitment that has been around for thousands of years. And i’m quit happy for it to stay that way. Myself would just like to know that when I die my partner can have what is rightfully his. So i really dont care what you call it as long as i am given the same opportunity the heterosexual community is given, please call it a union ceremony, leave the marriage where it belongs with the hetro community.

    • kloomis  

      Sean–I’m a lesbian and I want the word “marriage”. the San Francisco and California marriages that were performed I believe were almost 70% lesbian–there is clearly a difference between the gay and lesbian communities on the value and character of this institution. go with us on this issue–you can have the legal rights and still know that your relationship does not have the replicate any of the heterosexual marriage habita that you consider toxic.

  • Joshua Brooker  

    I’m a gay fella in the search of genuine love Nationwide.
    I have experienced challenging relationships in the past due to partners being dishonest. I have been cheated on, exposed to a life threatening disease (All good thank Feck) & hurt big time.
    My outlook on gay life is shattered at this current time.  I feel that a lot of the gay community are free for all into threesomes, open relationships, hanging around toilet blocks to get their rocks off, users & abusers with minimal to no substance at all.
    All I can say is I’m gay & don’t identify with this at all so there must be a man out there with the same ideals as myself.
    I’m an honest bloke looking for love, transparency & the ultimate man wherever he may be & I need your assistance. I’m looking Mr Right not just Mr Right now!
    I work in the Welfare field in a Crisis environment. I’m a fun loving honest bloke ready & willing to give a massive amount of love to the right bloke.
    I have started up a Facebook group titled “Help Josh find the MAN of his dreams & win a hug from the Big J!”
    I am that serious, genuine & passionate in finding the man of my dreams.
    I don’t agree with the Mardi Gras at all. Why does the Gay community need giant floats of genitalier going up & down the street? I’m gay & don’t identify at all with this. The only thing I have in common is I like blokes.
    It brings me to the next question. Does the gay community deserve the right to marry? I say NOT at this current time. There are exceptions for the few of our community. If the majority of the gay community stop being animalistic then I might just change my mind. :-0
    Here is my link for my quest for Love:

  • kloomis  

    I am not sure of this, obviously, but it is possible that some of the “single” mothers who were interviewed in those studies were actually lesbian moms, who either were not going to state the truth of their situation, or who couldn’t find the right box to check. If so, these studies are skewed. Maybe the lesbian-mom(s) headed families showed the same profile as the others, or maybe they were the “high end” families with all the successful kids.

    “Just sayin’ ” as that obnoxious expression goes…

  • Erik  

    For those that are against SSM, I have a simple question:
    When a heterosexual couple wishes to get married, where do they go to get it done?

    Answer: City Hall. (i.e. a GOVERNMENT institution; not a church!)

    All this debate boils down to is simply SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Nobody is asking Christianity (or any religion) to forcibly adopt SSM. Religious organizations are PRIVATE institutions and can do as they please when it comes to “protecting” their idea of marriage. The GOVERNMENT is not a religious organization. It never was, and never should be (and just because America was founded by the Puritans, doesn’t mean this is a “Christian Nation” either. It’s just a nation that happened to be founded by people who were Christian at the time)! 

    There is no lawful reason why same sex couples should be denied the right to marry. Period! Also, any conservatives that argue that if SSM is allowed, there will be people who want to marry animals as well, are idiots (and I’ve actually gotten this as an argument, believe it or not). Animals are not humans and cannot communicate with a human understanding; therefore animals cannot consent to being married. A homosexual HUMAN couple CAN consent to being married – and nobody, under government law should deny them that right! 

    Just as a reference, I’m a heterosexual male who has been happily married for a year. I’ll let you all know if my marriage license suddenly bursts into flames the second the first homosexual couple gets married on July 24th, here in NYC. Somehow though, I think it will be safe and sound until it fades away from time and age! 😉

  • Natalie Rose Apar  

    Frank, I agree that familial stability is extremely important to society, but why do you outright reject the idea that same-sex couples can also establish healthy, stable homes for their families? Massachusetts was the first state to legalize SSM, and they have the lowest divorce rate of all fifty states. I’d like to know your sources, if you have them readily available, because according to Reuters, the CDC reported that teen pregnancy was the lowest its been in 70 years in 2009, and awareness of homosexuality has only increased over that time period.  

  • Allforfunnplay  

    Despite the fact that the intent of your postings has added very little to the discussion (you should go back and play at the kids table until you’re able to add to the conversation: pro or against), there is an interesting question raised (though unintentionally on your part).  

    I remember when I was a single person how annoyed at the rights that married people received that single people did not (and I’m talking about married in general; hetero or homo).  Now I understand the social reasoning for creating these legal social structures, to help stabilize the community and create better family structures with certain legal rights for children.  

    But as a single person, I wondered about how new mothers (and sometimes fathers) received Maternity leave (some fathers received paternity leave).  In hospitals, I couldn’t have my friends come by and visit me during certain hours but if I were married, my spouse could.  Many companies have tried to provide somewhat equal benefits to singles in regards to the extra benefits married people get.  But it’s not fully common yet and even in some older cultured work places married employees with families can receive preferred treatment for vacations, sick days, etc…

    I guess the bigger question is, Do we need a legal structure like Marriage and Civil Unions and it’s benefits in our society?  Are unmarried people discriminated against?  

  • Anonymous  

    Replying to Rick;  Of course Frank doesn’t have the research — because it exists only inside his head.

  • Anonymous  

    A whole week has gone by, and not one response.  I guess my point is proven;  the only reason that people don’t want same-sex couples to enjoy equality under the law is religious bigotry.  How very sad.

    • kloomis  

      LOL — just to be obnoxious, Fiona, (and with many thanks for your writings and research postings here)–the argument that the attorney I knew pointed out: that given the difference in how children SOMETIMES come into gay/lesbian families (my caps), the State has an interest in making sure that children are not distressingly torn in several different directions by various parental claims in the case of divorce. This doesn’t really mean not to have G/L marriages, but it might mean deferring the legalization until we write laws that protect children in the case of divorce (hopefully, laws that would cover children in heterosexually-parented families also).

      But I suspect this carefulness is pie-in-the-sky; this was a very thoughtful attorney; most people in this state will just say, go for it, we’ll deal with that problem as it comes up.

  • Jm26Dream  

    I’m also going to redefine myself as “married” just to do it, despite not technically having a spouse.  Also i’m atheist despite believing in God, and vegetarian despite eating meat.

    • kloomis  

      Jm–it sounds like maybe you’re angry at having your control taken away. Could you talk about this honestly and rationally instead of hiding behind flippancy?

  • Jm26Dream  

    I do not see how a ban on interracial marriage can be compared to a ban on gay marriage…based on the basic concept of genders

    • Anonymous  

      Gender and sexual orientation are not equivalent.  The point here is that there were laws against mixed ethnicity marriage, the “reasons” for which are almost identical to the kind of nonsense that anti-equality types spout now about same-sex couples.

      Quote from the Congressional Record: 
      Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse
      to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and
      repugnant to the very principles of Saxon government. It is subversive
      of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately
      this slavery of white women to black beasts will bring this nation a
      conflict as fatal as ever reddened the soil of Virginia or crimsoned the
      mountain paths of Pennsylvania. … Let us uproot and exterminate now
      this debasing, ultra-demoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy

      —Congressional Record, 62d. Congr., 3d. Sess., December 11, 1912, pp. 502–503(Gosh, some of that language looks familiar …)

      • kloomis  

        Wow–horrible. Thank you for reminding us how what seemed so normal back then now appears so evil.

  • Jm26Dream  

    Please provide specific examples that equate with this issue

    • kloomis  

      The definition of marriage used to include such items as the husband’s owning his wife’s hair–no longer true. (Actually, if I remember correctly, women did not own property–it was held in their husband’s name. Please correct me if I am wrong on this) The concept of rape within a marriage used to be an oxymoron; it no longer is–it’s a crime. The shape and definiton of marriage have definitely changed over time.

  • Jm26Dream  

    Gays have the right to redefine the word “marriage”, just as i have the right to redefine the word “gay”, so i can be included in it despite the fact that I’m only attracted to the opposite sex.  Or are you against the idea of redefining words?  Anyway I’m off to see my doctor, and by doctor i mean hairdresser even though he’s in the hospital or library or one of those undefined type places.

    • Anonymous  

      Marriage has been ‘redefined’ repeatedly, across cultures and eras.  It has even been ‘redefined’ in my lifetime (Loving v. Virginia).  No one has YET shown a compelling state reason (read: legal, as opposed to religious) why my gay and lesbian friends (some of whom have been in committed relationships longer than I’ve been alive) should not enjoy *all* of the same rights that my husband and I do — up to and including the word “marriage” and all of the rights that come with it.

  • Anonymous  

    Just a little something for our friends who argue that civil unions should be enough for our GLBT fellow citizens:


    The suit outlines how William Keith Heimann’s health insurance policy
    dropped his two children and his 25-year partner, Thomas Davidson,
    after a contractor conducting an audit “questioned whether they had
    adequate documentation of their relationship.” The lawsuit says it took
    months to reinstate the policy, even though Davidson and Heimann were in
    a civil union.

    The suit also outlines Danny Weiss’s struggle
    to make health care treatment decisions for his civil union partner,
    John Grant, after Grant was struck by a car in New York City.

    their civil union, doctors and hospital staff did not recognize their
    legal relationship,” the suit says. “Discussions with doctors and other
    hospital staff about what a civil union meant, and whether it was ‘like
    marriage,’ took place as John was suffering from a brain hemorrhage.”

    But that should be good enough for gay couples, right?

    This is why civil unions are not good enough:  they lack portability (which marriage has automatically).  They can be overridden at any time (as evidenced in this case).

    But keep pretending to yourselves that our LGBT neighbors don’t deserve anything more than this, and pat yourselves on the back for pretending that “separate but equal” is good enough for people whom you find personally distasteful.

    • Frank  

      Pay attention Fiona… With expanded civil unions this will not be an issue.

      • Anonymous  

        Pay attention, Frank — you have no idea what the realities are.  You just keep patting yourself on the back for your bigotry, though, if that’s what helps you sleep at night.

      • kloomis  

        Frank, I think New Jersey’s experience is exactly what proves that a “separate but equal” policy will fail, causing more trouble for staights and GLBT (e.g., denial of privileges and subsequent lawsuits).

        • kloomis  

          I wouldn’t be surprised. I wonder how they’re going to decide the age of consent though; or maybe they’ll leave that to the individual states still. There is going to be some “states’ rights” howls in any event. Ain’t politics grand?

    • kloomis  

      A similar story that happened here in Northern California: a woman whose Domestic Partner died was not allowed to claim her body, because when the “partner” died, the Domestic Partnership automatically terminated (because they come under corporate law apparently). So the hospital contacted the parents of the deceased; those parents lived back East, were very infirm, and basically wanted their daughter-in-law to make the arrangements. It all got sorted out in the end, but the widow really did not need the added stress. Frank, I understand that the law can be further tweaked to take care of problems like this, but why go through the time and money of legislating the 1400+ (some of which are federal, some state) marriage-items that using the word “marriage” automatically enfolds? Plus, there is  always the problem of re-legislated items being subject to a whole new slew of court challenges to establish that the intent was indeed–or was not indeed– the legislatures’ intention. Cautionary phrases which we all understand: the “law of unintended consequences” and “litiginous society”.

  • Anonymous  

    If only you understood that there was more to being an oppressed minority than being a person of color …

    And, as you have been told repeatedly, sexual orientation goes far deeper than mere “preference.”

    That said, I am not even remotely surprised that you fail to see the parallels between your attitudes and what Dr. King wrote. I will continue to pray for your enlightenment.

  • Patrick Laney  

    I am a second-generation Pastor (mom is a minister) who has friends across the denomination from numerous geographical and theological positions. My mentors are nearly equally divided on their positions regarding homosexuality. This denomination has not committed suicide–to say so is an abomination to those who faithfully struggle with this and many other issues. This denomination is alive and well, not because of Moderators or special interest but because of the many faithful members and pastors who still believe in the mystery of faith and the need for conversation.

    Personally, there are few people more genuine, careful, and passionate about Jesus Christ and the church than Bruce Reyes-Chow. I do not agree with him on every issue, but as a father, pastor, and disciple; I am honored to call him friend and grateful for his service to our denomination and continued interest in creating space to move forward. When God gave us breath, we received all the mercy we will ever need. Blessing to you, Patricia, from one cradle to another.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @f72b2ea7901d4c6580d1b8d74005bdd3:disqus Sorry about all the formatting crud . . . Patheos is doing a big blog upgrade soon and should take care of some of this.  But . . . thank you for diving into all of this with some thoughtfulness.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @9c2cd76534e2d598106701dfc65dc5de:disqus Ms. Slomanski – First, let me thank you for using your name and not dropping this comment anonymously.  I have no doubt that your conviction is faithful, but obviously I do not agree with your assessment of my own beliefs, impact on the denomination or even the factors leading to the current state of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  I will say that, while you may not believe me, I take to heart every note or comment I receive that contains your sentiment, for it would be too easy to become so confident in one’s position that those positions become idols.  I also have my children read each of these comments sent with great care so they understand the importance and impact of their own actions on others. May the peace of Christ be with you. – Bruce

  • kloomis  

    Hadn’t thought about that–thanks.

  • kloomis  

    Allfor–I have chosen to accept the earlier version rather than Luke’s as the more accurate; my choice I guess. I find this passage very exhilarating and I promote the story as the “Good News” for gay/lesbians who are looking for word in the Bible. I have always accepted David and Jonathan’s story as indicating lovers also, but am backing off–thank you for your information. Frank–the Ruth and Naomi story never struck me as indicating a lesbian relationship, though their tender words are beautiful–however, I know that I do not know enough about women’s sexuality/affectionality and the habits of the (segregated) wives’ community back then. I am influenced by a book I read a long time ago: “Surpassing the Love of Men”, which made a very strong point for not being too cocksure in our rush to gay interpretation of very old texts (letters, etc.).

  • kloomis  

    which makes me think of something–re the “pederastic idealization”. my belief, actually, is that pederasty is being socially encouraged by women AND men shaving themselves to imitate pre-puberty skin. i really think we should re-consider this preactice; when you think about it, it’s downright creepy. but it’s happening heterosexually, mostly.

  • Allforfunnplay  

    Well, let’s sum what we’ve learned from this discussion.  The original question posted by Bruce was 

    “How is same-sex marriage a threat to my traditional “one man and one women” 20+ year marriage or to the possible traditional marriage that any of my daughters may choose to enter into in the future?”

    We’ve had a range of posters mostly from the liberal pro Same Sex Marriage (SSM) side.  A few more extreme conservatives and one moderate conservative.

    The “extreme” conservatives (though I’m not sure that’s the right term for them but in the range of the poster here, they would rank as highly conservative) have basically said: God says homosexuality is bad.  So therefore I can not support it.  Never mind the seperation of church and state and equal rights for everybody.  There’s not much reasoning with them.  I posted my question about why homosexuality threatens them more than any of the other numerous unchristian things in US society.  My theory is it’s just fear of the unknown and unfamilar.  

    That leads us to our moderate conservatives represented by Frank.  First let me give a shout out to Frank who has been a good sport among us crazy liberals.  He reminds me of the token conservative on “Real Time with Bill Mahr”.  He has done an admirable job in trying to post the reasoning for his stance beyond religous dogma.  However his relgious views fuel his reasoning (and from the view point of the liberals here, to the point of the irrational.).  Frank is the perfect example of the middle ground that should be studied by both sides.  It is from this group that any compromise will come (which beyond just basic personal pride in manners, is a good reason to keep things civil….we’ve all crossed or come close to crossing those lines).  

    Frank oppose SSM.  Yet he suports equal rights for all in the form of Civil Unions.  He acknowledges that orphans and children of homoesexuals will be better off in the care of homosexuals couples (as opposed to orphanages, foster homes and single parentage).  So why does Frank oppose SSM but supports equal rights?  Because to him Marriage = holy institution as part of Christianity and the Bible (what about all the other religions that engage in marriage?) .  Because his religion does not support homosexaulity, he can not sanction by allowing homosexuals to marriage.  To him Allowing SSM = Acceptance of Homosexuality which is different than Tolerance.  To the liberals this seems like silly semantics.  But he (and the moderate conservatives) takes this seriously.  So to support this sentiment of the Bible promoting the “ideal” and in order to protect his views, Frank has posted studies and data that he believes supports his statement that heterosexual marriage is the ideal and that as a society we should not be brash as to rush in and support the less than the ideal (though how such a small segment of the population would so adversaly effect society is beyond me)…..though oddly enough at the same time he has stated he supports equal rights.  This just means he wants to protect his ideal, his faith etc…  

    So do we have a compromise?  Well the liberals say that Civil Unions aren’t enough because they dont’ confer the same rights as marriage and extend from state to state. Also, having homosexuals accept Civil Unions while everyone else is married, even with equal rights may open them up to discrimination.  Seperate but equal was tried when African Americans were give seperate but equal rights during Segergation.  It wasn’t right and it didn’t work but it was a stepping stone towards integration.  Frank agreed to some extent and said that government and all legal matters should just replace all references to marriage with Civil Unions and leave “marriage” to society.  Does this get the social acceptance and better integraton that some of the LGBT community strives for?  No but it’s a step in that direction.  And besides there are always going to people that aren’t going to accept you…that’s just part of life.  

    • Frank  

      Not a bad summary although not entirely accurate. Yes my faith is at the core of my life, my decisions and my views (true for anyone who has integrity) but faith aside there is ample secular, biological, evolutionary, legal, sociological and psychological evidence, reason and logic to oppose the sanction and blessing of SSM. Unless the SSM supporters begin to recognize, further study and admit there are indeed relevant issues that need to be studied, discussed and intelligently dealt with, there will only be a stronger and stronger resistance to SSM.

      And yes you are correct that if there is any hope of working out a solution you must appeal to moderates like myself instead of trying to alienate them. Attitudes, tactics and ignorance of people like fiona only serve the other side. As do pride parades/marches, militant tactics, name calling, false representations and Lady Gaga. 

      If you want to have rights for gay couples, that is achievable. If you want to “be out and be proud” and continue to push boundaries because of some entitlement mentality, then you only draw out the process and most likely will derail it entirely.

      I think the gay community needs to decide and come together on which is it?

      Thanks allforfunnplay for your respect, level headedness, reasonable responses (mostly =]) and for your maturity in recognizing the reality of the complicated nature of the issue. Without you I think this conversation would have degraded quickly and entrenched each side further.

      People like me are not your enemy unless you make us one.

      • Anonymous  

        You know what, Frank?  Your “conditional acceptance” reminds me of something I read in Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”  You talk about how my GLBT friends should wait to have the same rights I do, and how they should only be permitted to be have in certain ways.  Allow me to show you specifically what I mean:

        Quote #1:

        You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your
        statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the
        conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none
        of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social
        analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with
        underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking
        place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s
        white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

        Quote #2:

        We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily
        given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I
        have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in
        the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of
        segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the
        ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost
        always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished
        jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

        Quote #3:

        I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish
        brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been
        gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the
        regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his
        stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner,
        but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice;
        who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a
        positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I
        agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your
        methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the
        timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of
        time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more
        convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is
        more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
        Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.


        You may rest assured, Frank, that you are in my prayers.

        • Frank  

          If only race and sexual preference were remotely the same thing!

          • kloomis  

            Frank–unlike Fiona, I think you understand Dr. King’s words very well–you are a very strong Christian, which means you understand the call to justice. But I believe you are having a hard–or impossible–time reconciling the call to justice for LGBT people with what I see as the pharasitical laws against homosexuality. “Soma” above, offered this scripture:

             Matthew 5:20For I tell you that unless your righteousnesssurpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainlynot enter the kingdom of heaven.

            With appreciation for your heart and steadfastness.

      • Natalie Rose Apar  

        Frank, out of curiosity, do you have a problem with other parades? The St. Patrick’s Day parade? Mardi Gras? Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Even the Puerto Rican Day parade? Or is it just gay pride parades that bother you? 

        My guess is that it feels like we’re flaunting our sexuality?  I guess, then, that the Annual Family Christian Parade should offend me, throwing your religion in my face… but I’m not offended.  I’m not because I understand that a parade is a celebration and that visibility is important. It’s easier for people to deny you rights and respect when they don’t recognize that you exist among them every day.  

        Many of the characteristics we are judged on by society are immediately visible to others (gender, race, age, size, etc.), but others aren’t always so clear cut (like sexuality–note: not sexual “preference”– and spirituality).  Honestly, it’s why I think there’s so much confusion about the “choice” of being gay.  You can’t control your heart or your sexuality, but you can choose whether or not to accept who you are.  
        I think it is crucial to be true to one’s self in this life, and in this way identity is important.  I’m sure your identity as a Christian is important to you.  It identifies you as part of a community that loves and accepts you, and it speaks to your values.  As a member of the LGBTQ community, I know I am among kindred spirits– others who have chosen not to hide who they are.  Of course, Christianity says more about my values, but I haven’t felt comfortable claiming that identity in a long time.  There are too many people claiming that same identity and use it to justify hating me and the way I love.  But Jesus only told us to love, and I am no less a Christian in my heart. 

        I just can’t agreed with the idea that my rights will come when I shut up and sit down.  If I have learned anything in life, it is that Audre Lorde was spot on when she said, “Your silence will not protect you.”  Should we also tell women that if they just stopped complaining about being sexually harassed and assaulted all the time, it would stop too? Because that’s simply not true.  And I will not be accepted by sitting quietly and keeping my mouth shut.  Willful ignorance and equality are hardly the same thing. 

        P.S. In addition to not being able to control my sexuality, I also can’t control Lady Gaga and I think it’s a little unfair to hold that one against the collectively LGBTQ community. 

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      @f72b2ea7901d4c6580d1b8d74005bdd3:disqus and @90857f0be4d4d2bf5ffa566156e7d4b5:disqus  for hanging during all of this. The comment pace and content have been a little overwhelming, but I think folks lurking have benefited from the passionate and – for the most part – civil discourse.

  • Frank  

    So the health of of our kids and society is not worth a “stall” in your opinion? A small percentage of the populations happiness is more important?

    I just don’t get it!

    • kloomis  

      Frank–remember, during this “stall” period, which you feel is worth it, we are losing teens to suicide and (remembering the teen who was murdered in Oxnard) hate- and/or fear-associated violence. The health of those kids is important also. 

      What would more study time gain anyone? We can study as we go (we will anyway, given the kind of society we are, LOL).

      I’m not totally sure how you’re defining “health of our kids”, but if you mean mental health of straight children–their discomfort at dealing with the gay question– that IS already changing. Some kids are behind (like the child killer in Oxnard)–some are way ahead, and think having a gay freind is “cool”. Social change: this is the way it happens.

      The joke in the gay community about the military’s stalling, you know, is that the old brass, who have been sleeping with younger guys all along and don’t want to come out now, just want to give themselves time to retire… . I cannot think of one good reason for stalling, but to be fair, I will put my mind to it.

  • Anonymous  

    You keep telling yourself that, sweetie.  I’m not the one who thinks that we live in a theocracy …

  • Petepb  

    I know by my personal experience that the third is the most damaging.  I was married to a Bi-sexual.  He totally destroyed me and my children.  To this day they have a very limited relationship with him.  We were married for 18 yrs.  He totally caused me to have a nervous breakdown.  I am so glad he is out of my life.  Everyone needs to be honest with their sexualityi so this kind of damage is never done.

    • kloomis  

      Petepb–I am so sorry you had to go through this; I hope your life s much much better today.

  • Rick  

    Frank doesn’t have the research

  • kloomis  

    And one of our points is, gay and lesbian parents so often ARE more involved because they ARE parents by choice, not by (sometimes) accident. What a great situation for the kids! (usually–yes, I know there is such a thing as over-involved parents). I will not say that G/L parents are better than straight parents–as I have talked about elsewhere, there are so many factors that go into a good family life. And I perfectly understand why the researcher uses mealy-mouthed words like “may”, etc. — this IS a new field of research; it IS possible to overlook hidden factors that might explain these results in a different way. But we can start with the Occam’s Razor principle until someone discovers a glitch:   the initial research is that these are great families! Children from these families report that they’re fine! My grandchildren seem to be doing fine! Please stop creating a climate of fear around us; pray for us, if you like–everyone can use that–but stop being mean to us and to our children.

  • kloomis  

    One of the problems with requesting longitudinal studies of lesbian/gay-parented families is that until 30-some years ago, coming out as gay/lesbian was enough to have your children taken away from you. so we are kinda left with <30 year studies, and anecdotal evidence. To say that we have to wait longer, for longer studies, is like the Military trying to defer the abolition of DADT: it's just a stall, when we have reasonable evidence that "the kids are all right". My stepson, who is a conservative Christian, and is convinced that his mother will not be with him in Heaven unless she rejects her current "lifestyle", nonetheless says quite readily that my becoming part of their family gave him some of the best parts of his life (his college education, his wife and family, his career). So far as we as a society know, 2 parents are better than one parent, unless one of those parents is abusive. That's it! Children get lots of gender-role modeling in society: on TV, in school, on billboards (unfortunately), etc. My stepsons were lucky enough to have their grandparents and an older male cousin around after their father abandoned their family (you want to improve families in the U.S.–find a way to stop males from abandoning their families). My wife put them in Boy Scouts for more male modeling. The resources are out there; it's not a problem.

  • kloomis  

    Thank you! I saw it; I think I have messed up the order of my postings here. Maybe if I pause for a while, it will get back to normal. I REALLY appreciate the knowledge you are bringing to this discussion.

  • kloomis  

    Frank–One of the problems with requesting longitudinal studies of lesbian/gay-parented families is that until 30-some years ago, coming out as gay/lesbian was enough to have your children taken away from you! End of family! so we are kinda left with <30 year studies, and anecdotal evidence. To say that we have to wait longer, for longer studies, is like the Military trying to defer the abolition of DADT: it's just a stall, when we have reasonable evidence that "the kids are all right". My stepson, who is a conservative Christian, and is convinced that his mother will not be with him in Heaven unless she rejects her current "lifestyle", nonetheless says quite readily that my becoming part of their family gave him some of the best parts of his life (his college education, his wife and family, his career). So far as we as a society know, 2 parents are better than one parent, unless one of those parents is abusive. That's it! Children get lots of gender-role modeling in society: on TV, in school, on billboards (unfortunately), etc. My stepsons were lucky enough to have their grandparents and an older male cousin around after their father abandoned their family (you want to improve families in the U.S.–find a way to stop males from abandoning their families). My wife put them in Boy Scouts for more male modeling. The resources are out there; it's not a problem.

    • Natalie Rose Apar  

      Don’t you think children sitting in orphanages and foster homes deserve a real home and family NOW rather than later?  There are many qualities that make a good parent, but heterosexuality simply isn’t one of them.  I came from an abusive home, and my parents are straight as arrows.  I just think we owe it to children to give them real homes now, and the adults can have our squabbles afterwards.  

  • tfizzle  

    – the promotion of a pederastic idealization of teen boys

    Their have been innumerable documented instances of this by catholic priests charged with providing guidance to youth.. ….would you then argue that Catholic priests should not be allowed to interact with (i.g., take confessions, educate, etc.) pre-adults?  I realize that the church doesn’t ‘promote’ such acts but they have occurred with greater frequency than in other institutions and I don’t see how legislation on how the state issues marriage licenses provides any greater degree of promotion of such criminal activity.  We are talking about Marriage after all which I assume all here would agree begins with consenting adults.

  • tfizzle  

     Truth is rooted in fact but you are referencing a document that provides no fact, rather opinion.  It’s not the argument of this document that I find threatening but its methodology.  It presents itself in one manner while deploying argumentative structures that complete contradict clinical (read, unbiased) reasoning. The article could argue that the sky is blue and I still would question it.

  • tfizzle  

     Truth is rooted in fact but you are referencing a document that provides no fact, rather opinion.  It’s not the argument of this document that I find threatening but its methodology.  It presents itself in one manner while deploying argumentative structures that complete contradict clinical (read, unbiased) reasoning. The article could argue that the sky is blue and I still would question it.

  • tfizzle  

    Why?  Why do you care where somebody else decides to pass their money/assets?  Additionally, do you feel it is the state/governments domain to govern the distribution of personal assets?  For instance, are you a proponent of the Estate Tax, for instance?

    I realize that this is venturing a bit off-topic, but I am curious why this issue is of such great import to you.  By no means am I trying to be confrontational, I’m just genuinely curious.

  • tfizzle  

    As Allforfunnplay points out above, the US previously defined marriage as a union between two people of the same race, so this would not represent the first adaptation of the definition of marriage ever.
    Additionally, is your response that SSM is a threat to your marriage (or your concept of the institution of marriage if you are not yet married) because you don’t see the need to jump on a bandwagon?  This is the question being fielded but your response seems to be more along the lines of why you reject the notion of SSM.

  • tfizzle  

    Is your response intended to answer the question “what is the meaning of marriage in the US”?

  • grace m.  

    well, if you think homosexuality is an abomination, why would you want to give homosexual couples the same rights as straight couples? for some people marriage should only be between a man and a woman. i think that’s really it in a nutshell. giving homosexuals the right to marry may imply tacit acceptance in their minds. trying to state this objectively, as i believe fervently in gay couples’ right to marry (tho my opposite-sex domestic partner disagrees with me).

  • kloomis  

    Just an aside–tell your friends to talk to a tax preparer–with the new IRS rules, they may be able to pay less in taxes!  🙂

  • Allforfunnplay  

    Supercessionism isn’t some academic assault on
    Christianity.  You would be taught about even if you were a Christian theology


    Let me give some historical background to help
    you to understand.  After Jesus died he
    left his brother James in charge.  The
    Apostles and their followers adhered to Jewish laws and followed the
    Torah.  But Jesus was also accepting of
    Gentiles and so what made them different from the Jews is that they accepted
    Gentiles as long as they abided by the 7 Noahide Laws of Righteous Gentiles.  Saul/Paul comes along and says he has better
    ideas for preaching to the Gentiles abroad so he goes off to Syria, Turkey,
    Greece etc.. before being called back to face James.  Paul is chastised but later James is betrayed
    by an enemy in the crowd (some think is Paul) and is later stoned and
    killed.  James had been consolidating
    power in Jerusalem and may have been making political alliances with Parthian
    states (a rival empire of Rome) so the Romans/Jewish priesthood had him
    killed.  Anyway these guys were all Kosher.   Paul’s
    followers throughout the Roman Empire begin to follow an early version of
    Pauline Christianity (no circumcision, no Kosher etc…).  After James dies, Peter goes along with
    Paul.  But there are still plenty of
    Judeo-Christians and they probably won’t be fully integrated until around 310AD
    when Constantine decides he wants a unified version of Christianity. After the
    Judeo-Roman war of 70AD the Christians really wanted to separate themselves
    from the Jews.  Many of the Christians
    were Roman citizens, Roman slaves or even Roman soldiers. 


    So the Christians needed to sort out their
    Jewish heritage.  So the variations they
    come up with fall under the term “Supersessionism” of which New Covenant
    theology falls under.  You can break it
    down two or three ways: as and extension/addition to the Mosaic Covenant and/or
    as a replacement of the Mosaic Covenant. 
    Some continued to follow the Torah and some didn’t.  Some considered the Jews completely removed
    from God’s plan and some considered that God would fulfill his covenant with
    them and the New Covenant (Dispensationalism is an offshoot of this…which lead
    to Christian Zionism).  

  • Matthewbny  

    the problem is that the crazy right-wing fundamentalism is becoming more and more vocal, and more and more mainstream…which i believe is the real moral threat to our society…but, I don’t want to get started on that.

  • Allforfunnplay  

    again you’re taking a BASIC protestant Sunday School understanding of the history and complexity of the development of Christianity.  

    It’s not as simple as you want to make it.  Do some research and educate yourself.  It won’t threaten your faith understand all aspects and how various human interpretations of it have evolved overtime.  The Christianity you know now did not come to you in an unchanging linear progression.  It went through many variations changes and failures to get to where it is today.  

    and Christian Temple worship died with James (look it up in Acts, Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls).  

  • Ron  

     Of course you’re right, Bruce, that gay marriage poses no real threat to traditional marriage. But, as the conversation generated by your question shows, that’s not what’s really at stake. As one of the few progressives in an uber-conservative, “confessing” presbytery, I’ve come to the conclusion that some folks have to insist that homosexuality is a sin because, were they to do otherwise, it would call their entire (literalist) hermeneutic into question. More than just a handful of anti-gay proof texts, it would raise doubts about everything else which they believe to be literally true in the Bible – including things like a literal heaven, hell, second coming, salvation, and all the rest. That’s what makes this so scary: not because gay marriage threatens their traditional marriages, but because they feel it threatens their eternal souls. And so they react with great animus, which masks their inner, unconscious fear – a fear which, sadly, causes them unnecessary pain and suffering, because they don’t understand that all that is really threatened by a non-literalist reading of scripture is the ego, not the Soul.

    • kloomis  

      A minister once said to me that he felt the whole anti-gay thing was not really about actual homosexuality, but more about the erosion of male supremacy, because of the expansion of male role models that accepting gay males would cause, and the recognition of women’s strength that accepting lesbians would cause. This was said a long time ago; don’t know if he would have the same analysis now.

  • Neil Robertson  

    Forgive me for being blunt, but my b.s. meter is pegged out.  The fear that’s being propagated here is palpable. 

    – How does ssm encourage homosexuality?  If you believe that, you must be a closet gay, how else could someone come to that conclusion?  Don’t you understand that being gay is not a conscious choice?  You do have a point though – when ssm becomes accepted, there will be less pressure on gay people to stay in the closet.   Your argument here is really upside down – trying to keep “the gays” down is soul destroying and physically damaging for the individuals affected (and those individuals are the gays, not you – your arguments help foster an environment of open hostility to fellow citizens who happen to be born gay).

    – Pushing of sexual perversion under the guise of sex ed – huh?  My take is that the only perversion is your religion denying the full breadth of human sexuality.  Are you afraid that if your world view is challenged, your children may see your religion as a choice as well?  I think you define sexual perversion to include the mention of non-traditional family arrangements, and you’d be right by that self referencing logic.  But really, what do you mean here other than fear of different?

    – What in heaven’s name does a pederastic idealization of teen boys have to do with ssm?  The pedarists in this society are mainly Priests and Relatives.  If you really want to use that argument, you should separate yourself from the Church that has tended to support pedophile priests.

    – Increased sexual aggression?  Let me get this straight – you think ssm encourages public nudity and public sex acts?  You’re really making things up here. Since a number of states and countries allow ssm, why not provide the statistics on the increase in public nudidty and sex acts because of ssm?  There are none. 

    – Absence of role models in ssm households?  Another confused argument due to ignorance.  1/ marriage is not required to have or adopt children 2/ there are more children up for adoption than people willing to take them 3/ you really believe an orphanage or a paid temporary foster situation is better than a loving same sex family?  Let’s be explicit here – you would prefer to be brought up in an orphanage or shuttled between foster parents than being part of a loving ssm household?

    – The Catholic Church’s adoption problem was not because of ssm because ssm wasn’t available when they decided to get out of that game  (why don’t you have a real argument?).  And you are flat out lying that wedding photographers have been sued because they wouldn’t cover an ssm – they were sued for breach of contract because they agreed to shoot a wedding then backed out after it was too late to hire a substitute.

    – Ray Blanchard (he supports state sponsored sex reassignment surgery, btw) – what to say here.  They tried that one at the Prop 8 trial here in CA and it was demonstrated to be nonsense.  Here’s a quote from him “my considerable body of work on the origins of sexual orientation has
    stressed that sexual orientation in males is probably determined in
    prenatal life, a theoretical viewpoint that is basically incompatible
    with the notion that “therapeutic” interventions could alter basic
    sexual orientation” – he says that gays are born gay – so if gays are born gay, what do you suggest is the equitable solution?  They should be second class citizens?  Because that’s what you are arguing for.  Here’s a link to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry that showed no difference between straights and gays regarding pedophilia:

    I really hope you can sit down in a quiet place for a few minutes and understand that the only reason ssm is a threat to the church (and therefore you) is because they have been using gays as an enemy for ever – and the real threat is that the ordinaryness of ssm demonstrates that their teachings are false on this issue and therefore false on other issues. 

    Cheers, Neil.

  • Meghanf  

    “the Bible is clear throughout, from Genesis forward, that sex is for one mutually faithful man and woman.”

    Unless of course, your name is Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, or any number of others.

  • Marie  

    Our laws reflect one man and one woman.  Neither may be married to another person at the time of the marriage.  They may not be married by force, or be unable to consent, and they may not be close relatives.

    As a heterosexual woman I don’t get to marry anybody I want.  I have to be single.  They have to be single.  They have to be willing to marry me.  And they can’t be related to me.

    • Allforfunnplay  

      just because the law is written a certain way doesn’t mean it’s set that way.  That’s why we have an organic set of laws, it’s why we have a bill of rights.  remember that at one time it was illegal to marry interacially too. 

  • Prof  

    Item one – there are way too many people in the world (incl. the U.S. of A), and the fact that ssm unions cannot have ‘natural’ children is a plus not a minus.  The fact that they might adopt otherwise unwanted children is a plus.  The fact that ssm relationships would assume many of the duties and privlidges of a family institution is a plus stabilizing society as a whole. Insemination of gay female couples is pretty ‘natural’.
    Item two – the traditional family unit is already obsolite, with 50% divorce, single mom leadership in broken families, and a large percentage of the heterosexuals that mate choosing not to marry.  One may say that the intact family is the prefered circumstance for raising children, but that goal is met by only a small minority of adults today, and most of them are two-income oriented with the children in general being somewhat neglected.
    Item three – nearly everyone speaks of the right or wrong in terms of the Christian religion, but may in our population reject the fairy tales as a basis for decision making.  Those who attempt to push such a position most vigorously seldom come even close to living the ideals – check the adoptions of children who are orphaned, and you will find very few of those who pound the Bible hardest.
    Item four – we are a nation of free will – it’s in the constitution – forcing the population to walk a particular path is non-democratic.
    Final note – I am 80 years of age, have a Ph.D.,  grown children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I was married for over 40 years, divorced, and have been in a committed relationship for over 20 years.  It is my belief that I have the ability and experience to evaluate the expectations of society and the influences on society that are not in it’s best interest. 

  • kloomis  

    A couple of other thoughts–(1) my wife and I (we are lesbian, married in CA in 2008) have tried to develop and support lesbian community in the suburban area where we live, since the 80s. We have occasionally seen married women come out, leave their husband and children and start a new relationship with a woman. From the husband’s and children’s point of view, this was real damage. I hope that as we develop inclusive marriage, we will address this problem of “Know Thyself” before people marry and start families, rather than after. If it is true that sexuality/affectionality is fluid, this may continue to be a problem anyhow, and we may have to develop new ethics of relationships, especially ones that involve child rearing (e.g., once a couple have decided to have children, no divorce till the kids have left the nest). (2) somewhat related, I met a very progressive attorney once who said she could not support same-gender-marriage till the problem of resposibility for children was taken care of. She had been involved in a lesbian separation case (this was pre-marriage) in which no fewer than five! people laid claim to the child of the separating couple. That kind of fighting, to me, is child cruelty.
    Oops–number 3 — Bruce, will you venture a theological opinion on the story of the healing of the Centurion’s “boy”, and whether you believe that this indicates Jesus accepted homosexual relationships as valid?  

  • Allforfunnplay  

    okay, so we’re stepping on some sensitive ground here.  Keep in mind we’re talking about the Jewish God YAHWEH (the one that required animal sacrifices at a specific alter) from which the Christian God is built of of (I guess in some ways YAHWEH is the Father?…I dunno).  Also keep in mind the Bible’s writers are anywhere from a few hundred years to over 500 years from the time of Judges (the collapse of the Bronze Age) and have recorded oral stories from that time.  

    To explain this, we have to go back about 3500 years ago into the Bronze Age in the area of the Levant (Israel, Syria, Palestine, etc…).    The Biblical Canaanites ruled the land (mostly as vassals of the Egyptian Kings).  The Canaanites have a pantheon of gods the grandfather creator god is called El.  The princely god who is sort of in charge of day to day things is usually Baal (a storm god kind of like Zeus).  Now as with most pantheon of gods, they are made up of gods that were assimilated by groups of people encountering other groups of people and as these cultures merge they adopt each other’s gods.  

    Where Yahweh came from is up for academic debate.  Some have thought he was the Sumerian god Enki others have thought he has an Indo-European origin and others have said he was a Kennite fire god a metallurgy.  But basically all the near east cultures mingled and their religions mingled as well, in fact many of the early books of Genesis are very similar stories to much earlier Sumerian stories (garden of eden, the flood, nimrod the hunter etc…).  

    Some academics believe the Hebrews were an underclass of Canaanites that helped to bring down the ruling class.   In fact much of the bronze age was top heavy and some think it was social revolution along with natural disasters and the “sea peoples” that helped to bring down the entire bronze age.  So it may have been a class civil war (which some archaeology of Canaanite cities support and not the Joshua invasion story).  

    So back to the god/gods and the Israelites….as I said El was the name of the head Canaanite god but it’s also the generic name for “god” in various Semitic languages including Hebrew.   El is sometimes used in the Bible as a name for Yahweh.  It appears that as time went on the Yahweh worshipers put Yahweh at the head of the pantheon.  In fact at some point Yahweh even gained El’s wife Asherah (there have been archaeological findings that show Yahweh and his beloved wife) then later dropped her when they became fully monotheistic.  You can find evidence of this (if you subscribe to certain academic interpretation) in the Bible; an example is in Psalms 82 (.6 I think?) where Yahweh (as El) basically chastises the other gods.  This is similar to the Canaanite Divine Council of El.  Also, the Bible states there are 70 Nations.  The Canaanite god El gives the nations to the 70 “sons of god” (Elohim…in this case a plural translation El which means gods…to the Hebrews Elohim can also be singular).  Yahweh got Israel.  The traditional interpretation of this was that it was the 70 sons of Israel and gave the phrase and earthly meaning…but this doesn’t really make sense (they are “born on high” and “sons of god”).  Also, the sons of god have also been traditionally thought of as just the heavenly host of Angels.  But there is evidence that the Angels were thought of as lesser level messengers under the 70 sons of El were gods.  I mean why would god chew out the Angels for not ruling better and casting judgement?  That’s not the role of the Angels…the Angels just carry out God’s orders.  Anyway BASICALLY I’M TRYING TO SAY THAT ANCIENT ISRAELITES BELIEVED OTHER GODS EXISTED and that their god ruled above them.  

    It’s not until the Exile that the Israelites begin to believe in Monotheism.  It’s hard to believe your local god is supreme to other gods when your city gets smashed by the Assyrians. It is from the Persians that they encounter a sort of monotheism in Zoroasterism which has an all powerful good God and a cosmic adversary (which where the idea of Satan being a rival of God begins to form).  So  the Hebrew God now rules and controls all nations including the Persian empire and Cyrus the Great that frees them from captivity and now they are moving from believing in a supreme ruling god to only one god.  

    (yes I know this response wasn’t well structured and is probably hard to follow).  for more reading look up the Ugaritic texts (Ugarit was a Canaanite city) and their relation to the Bible.     and yes this was completely off the original subject but I was replying to a specific comment.     

  • Margie  

    I understand the basis of the arguments you’re making, although I disagree with them.  I would like to point out that by not allowing ssm we devalue gay/lesbian relationships.  For many, this devaluing, this assumption that gay/lesbian relationships aren’t as real or committed as heterosexual relationships, creates a paradigm in which neither gays nor straights recognize those long-term, committed relationships which do exist in the gay community.  If I am constantly told that my relationships cannot be committed, or blessed, or sacred, or covenanted, I’m more likely to adopt the belief that my relationships are primarily about sex; essentially prolonged one-night stands.  In light of this, is it any wonder that gays and lesbians might be more likely to  have shorter term relationships?  (And I say this only in light of some peoples’ assumptions about promiscuity within the gay community – this is not a reflection of the reality of long-term relationships within the gay community.)  If our commitments aren’t “real”, why should we honor them?

    So why not hold gay and lesbian relationships to the same covenanted standard that we hold heterosexual relationships to?  Why not ask them to make a lifelong commitment to each other?  I should think that such a move actually elevates the institution of marriage; by encouraging such a serious, state-affirmed and (perhaps) religiously blessed covenant we hold gay and lesbian relationships to a higher standard of commitment.

  • Michael Kruse  

    Thanks for a great forum.

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