Christians for Gay Rights

Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality

Having heard the battle cry, “Gays are against God!” my Women’s Perspective club decided to visit the Christian club on campus.

We’d visited a lot of clubs, on numerous issues, hoping to take in various points of view. So we took a turn with “The Upside Down Club,” so named because they felt that their ideas were the reverse of society’s.

This group surprised us more than any other.

When we asked how they, as Christians, felt about legislating against gay rights, they said they were against it.

Why?

We believe in the separation of church and state.

Said one student.

I am personally against gay marriage, but feel that no ones religious beliefs should be deemed the law of the land. We shouldn’t force our beliefs on everyone else.

Said another.

Others felt there were conflicts between anti-gay passages in the Bible and the command to “love thy neighbor,” which they felt was the higher law.

In my classes, some Christian students are for gay marriage because they’ve learned how it helps families. After all, without marriage children may not be able to visit a sick parent in the hospital, they can lose out on social security or inheritance if a parent dies, they aren’t guaranteed child support if parents separate, and mom and dad aren’t given job-protected time to care for a new child. So gay marriage strengthens families.

Along this vein, some of my Mormon friends belong to an organization called Mormons for Marriage, which promotes gay nuptials with the slogan, “Family! It’s About Time.” They feel that marriage will be strengthened, not weakened, when gay couples have the same civil rights as heterosexuals.

I can relate. I know several couples who divorced because one spouse was straight and the other was gay. The relationships were unstable and the breakups certainly weren’t good for families.

From time to time, Christian students in my classes apologize for the intolerance of other Christians, who get so much publicity.

Nice to see these folks truly living the Golden Rule.

This is a rerun. I’m on vacation. Now that the US Supreme Court has made marriage legal across the US I’m wondering how some of the more intolerant Christians will respond.

Related posts on BroadBlogs
Gays and Women with Boyfriends Shouldn’t Teach (It Limits Freedom!): The Gospel of Jim DeMint
Higher Suicide Rates in Conservative “Values Voters” States
Gay Marriage Helps Families

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 3, 2015, in feminism, LGBT+, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. To a person—Christian or not—who is an integral, loving part of the world, gay marriage almost makes sense. “God is the god of love,” people say. “If two people love each other, they should be allowed to show it.” It’s especially difficult when circumstantial evidence brought about by personal observation seems to contradict the Bible. In other words, we want our friends to be happy

    “Marriage equality” is the latest catchphrase to be thrown into the gay marriage / same-sex marriage debate. The term “marriage equality” is an attempt to reframe the conversation and ascribe a certain level of irrationality to those who oppose same-sex marriage. To oppose the recognition of homosexual unions as marriages is one thing. But it is much more difficult to oppose “equality” in marriage rights. What American would deny equality? However, attaching a new label to the cause does not change the core issues in the debate. If “marriage equality” means “gay marriage,” Christians should be opposed to it.

    • You may think so, but not all Christians think the way you do. (You are from Israel so you’re Jewish?) But Christians and Jews share the same scriptures in the Old Testament. To address your views I can only repeat this section of my post:

      When we asked how they, as Christians, felt about legislating against gay rights, they said they were against it.

      Why?

      We believe in the separation of church and state.

      Said one student.

      I am personally against gay marriage, but feel that no ones religious beliefs should be deemed the law of the land. We shouldn’t force our beliefs on everyone else.

      Said another.

      Others felt there were conflicts between anti-gay passages in the Bible and the command to “love thy neighbor,” which they felt was the higher law.

  2. Speaking of reruns, USA TODAY reports that their joint survey with the Newseum Institute indicates that 51% of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution established a Christian nation – virtually unchanged since a 2007 poll. In other words, a majority of Americans still believe that this country is, or should be, a theocracy….so those who “believe in the separation of church and state,” such as the group you visited, remain a minority. The good news is that 54% older respondents believed in a Christian theocracy compared with 37% of younger people, so we may have seen the last rerun of this movie.

    Enjoy your vacation!

    • That’s really interesting. Students at my College are younger, and they live in the bay area so they may be more motivated to not promote a theocracy — because otherwise they wouldn’t have any friends?

  3. There’s a refreshing tale, thinking Christians.

  4. In our country, the majority of the population has welcomed the verdict. Some of my Muslim friends, though, have expressed their unhappiness over it, saying the same, that, it is something their religion doesn’t permit.

    • And different people have different ideas about whether they should force their religious ideas onto others. The US constitution says we should not. But plenty of religious folks want to turn the place into a theocracy.

  5. This is very refreshing, and I have been quite surprised recently at the number of Christians who fully support the rights of others. Great also to hear from you that “From time to time, Christian students in my classes apologize for the intolerance of other Christians, who get so much publicity.” That is way cool.

  6. My own intolerance was revealed today when I realized a friend of mine is against same-sex marriage. She pointed out that she’s entitled to her beliefs as well and if she’s not supposed to judge mine I’m not supposed to judge hers-although I will still have to say she’s wrong on this one :). But I know lots of Christians who do support same-sex union while those do not think they are doing the right thing by following their church’s beliefs. Who knows though-there are changes coming with the Catholic church maybe- so fingers crossed.

    • Slightly off topic, but your comment made me think of this: A conservative reaction on the Supreme Court said something to the effect that now people won’t be able to voice there dislike of same-sex marriage. Does that mean that if the Supreme Court has ruled the other way that people who were forcing text mayors wouldn’t be able to voice their dislike?

      My morality is based on the standard of harm. If you are harming someone it is wrong. I can see how being against same-sex marriage and homosexuality is really harmful. I don’t see how being for those things is harmful.

      And Pope Francis is fabulous. Will be interesting to see what happens.

  7. I liked this article because it poses a refreshing alternative to the usual radical Christian responses in the media, following the SCOTUS decision. I’ve personally had many conversations with people from different religious backgrounds (including Christian faith). While I’ve had some radical anti-Gay comments from people, I’ve mostly had good, rational responses where those from Christian faith said similar things to what your school’s club said.
    “It doesn’t affect me or my family, even if I don’t personally believe in it, so why should I mind if gay marriage is legal?” was a common response. Another common response was simply “religion should not be a part of a government decision”.
    I can’t help but see no fault in their arguments. We can’t base laws off what some people think is wrong. Isn’t that a part of the first Amendment in the US Constitution? If those certain people don’t believe in something, isn’t it true that they don’t HAVE to participate in it (such as gay marriage)?
    It’s about time that religious groups such as Christians, who typically don’t personally believe in gay marriage, take into account that marriage equality should be an important factor in society. If they truly believe that God loves all his children, than it should be true that all humans, regardless of sexual orientation, are equal and loved under His eyes.

  8. With experience comes knowledge. I am a young adult and growing up in a town of tolerance and acceptance allows me to have a good perspective on the matter. All through my childhood, and still today, I was surrounded by positive influences of homosexuality. My uncles have always been a part of my life and I never saw a conflict with there sexuality. I was also raised in a catholic church and confirmed at the end of high school though my religion never interfered with my love for my uncles and respect for the LGBT community. Christian faith and the Mormon faith were also huge aspects of my town and the people within, though again I never experienced a conflict with these religions acceptance or understanding of homosexuality. Now the young adults I grew up with and saw on a regular basis at school never expressed prejudice though I cannot grantee everyone’s acceptance. I live in California, specifically Los Angles area, so the liberal mindset of this State could have influence over my experience and others. I know that not every State is the same and not every town is similar to mine, but I will say that over these last 20 years of my life I have many positive experiences when confronted with the topic of sexuality. I see a progress in our nations’ ability of acceptance and believe that many religions are evolving and changing with the modern times in a positive way.

  9. “They feel that marriage will be strengthened, not weakened, when gay couples have the same civil rights as heterosexuals.”

    I agree. Why? Because there are so many same-sex couples out in the world wanting to have a family of their own and often resort to adoptions. People say same-sex couples/marriages is an abomination, not right, unfit as a parent, and so much more. If that is the case, then why are there so many children abandoned, adopted, in foster care? I’m more than sure that the parents of those children were not in a same-sex relationship. The children who are getting adopted by same-sex couples (heterosexual couples too), WANT these children and no doubt will raise and treat them better than their biological parents who left them. A person can’t just say same-sex couples cannot raise children and have a happy family just because their partner and/or spouse share the same sex as them. It’s not logical in any way.

    Happy family = happy marriage = STRONG MARRIAGE

    It doesn’t matter if marriage is between two men or two women or a man and a women.

    Many people have used the bible to try to support why same-sex marriage is not right but then again, people have also used that very same bible to say that the bible does not actually state that it is wrong. I feel like people who are uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex marriage use the bible as an excuse to say that it is wrong.

    Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the US, I have seen many quotes that support it and also that does not support it. One quote stood out to me the most though.

    “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.”

    I think that people who use religion to say that same-sex marriage is wrong should listen to that quote. You can hate the “sin” all you want but why hate the “sinner” if you loved them before you knew?

    • Yeah, and kids who are raised by gay couples seem to be better off emotionally on average. Probably because any old straight couple can have kids, even if they are horrible abusive people. But gay couples are more likely to be screened by social services to adopt.

  10. I was brought up in the Catholic Church, but in a very liberal school that went against most of the churches conservative views. I was taught sex ed, about the death penalty, and that gay rights are just like everyone else’s rights. My high school accepted all of our gay students, brought in gay speakers, and did not judge anyone for their sexuality. However, when I went to a religious college in Colorado, I was forced to come face to face with people who were intolerant of others sexual preferences. This was probably one of the hardest adjustments of college because I was not used to people using terms like “fag” “dyke” and “that’s so gay”. When I went to my advisor and asked if we had any celebration for the gay community, she told me that it was against God’s wishes, wasn’t accepted, and that I should not push it. However, I learned to make the most of a bad situation, I have been able to prime people. Whenever they use one of the homophobic words or phrases I immediately shoot back with an alternate word or phrase that could take place of their homophobic vocabulary. This has seemed to help our community be less homophobic in the way that they speak; I cannot say that they think differently.

  11. “Christian students in my classes apologize for the intolerance of other Christians, who get so much publicity”…

    I am happy to read that and I am sure that part of their broad thoughts might be related with the values you share with them

    This is a very interesting video considering marriage from a quite Liberal Christian perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kCAvxF1mFA

    I found some points interesting…. For instance those ones related to the definition of Marriage…. [Why marriage is and why it matters…How does gay marriages would affect traditional heterosexual marriages… and how this might lead to the fact that everything about marriage would become arbitrary].

    All my best wishes dear Gerogia. Aquileana ⭐

    • Looks like a conservative religious person asks questions to a conservative political writer. Here are his concerns and my responses:

      If the US Supreme Court redefines marriage then churches will have to accept gay marriage and perform them. That’s not true. They don’t.

      Gay marriage harms marriage because it becomes a slippery slope to marriage outside of one man and one woman. I’ve address that in some blog posts before, Like these:
      Gay Marriage, Slippery Slope to Polygamy?
      https://broadblogs.com/2012/10/19/gay-marriage-slippery-slope-to-polygamy/
      If Gays Can Marry Can I Marry My Dog?
      https://broadblogs.com/2013/03/29/gays-can-marry-so-i-can-marry-my-dog/

      He adds that if gays can get married then it will be okay to divorce or have nonexclusive relationships. That’s already happened before gay marriage. And it’s often good to be able to get a divorce. And nonexclusive relationships work better for some couples.

      The purpose of marriage is to raise children? In that case, the only way my family who could stay married would be my brother. My husband and I haven’t had children. My mom and her husband haven’t had children. My dad and his wife haven’t had children.

      Children need a male and a female role model? Two of the best men I know were raised by single moms: my brother and Barack Obama. And gender doesn’t mean a whole lot. I know a lot of women who have what are considered masculine characteristics, And I know a lot of men who have what are considered feminine characteristics. There’s huge overlap between women and men and their personalities.

      What’s important is how healthy your parent is. And children of gay parents are on average healthier. Probably because any hetero couple can have kids but gay couples are more likely to adopt which means social services get involved to make sure that the home is safe.

      He goes on to say that the reason there’s so much divorce and affairs is because of liberal ideology. And yet the most liberal states in America have the lowest divorce rates. And plenty of conservative American politicians have been caught having affairs. OR have gotten divorces. So this guy’s just making stuff up.

      He says it’s horrible that we now have no-fault divorce. Before that time a woman could go to court and tell a judge that her husband was beating her up, And he might say “well only twice in one year isn’t enough to get a divorce.” So it’s better that she was forced to stay in this marriage?

      And gay marriage still has nothing to do with this, anyway. He’s just trying to distract.

  12. Samantha jervis

    This post put a smile on my face. For years my older sister and I have been debating the subject of gay marriage. We were raised nonreligiously, never attended church once. She decided all on her own that she was a catholic, which was great for her because she was finally able to find happiness. However, it frustrates me that she used to believe in equality for gays, but once she started going to church, her mind closed to the idea completely. Even my father, who became orthodox a few years ago, is open to the idea. This post gives me hope that one day she will be more accepting of gay rights. I liked the idea of “respect thy neighbor” no matter who they choose to be. And the fact that church and government are separate and people deserve the same governmental rights, regardless of other’s religious beliefs. No one should come in the way of others’ happiness, especially when it has zero effect on them.

  13. This was a really nice article to read. It’s really nice knowing that all Christians aren’t completely against gay marriage. I definitely feel like this group is more open because they are a young generation and are more open to other ideas and that other people who aren’t Christian should be able to do whatever they want with their own lives. And the club member who recognizes the separation between church and state is pretty nice to hear, especially since that club member has realized that in college while we still have Congressmen who are at least 50 years old and still haven’t realized the separation between church and state. It really is great hearing about how while they as Christians are against it in their religion they believe others should have the right. This brings hope to the future and that someday everyone will be accepted despite their sexual orientation.

  14. Over the decades, gay rights has always been an argument around the world. Nowadays, a growing number of countries start to legislate and legalize gay marriage. One of the most common objection for gay marriage, “God does not like it” is becoming less accepted. There are many counter arguments against this concept. FIrst of all, there are plenty of other things “God” does not like besides gay marriage. According to the bible, children who curse on their parents should be put to death; we should not eat shellfish while many Christians are shrimp lovers. However, at the same time, there are many Christians who are hurt because of the legalization of the gay marriage. For instance, a female priest was put in jail because she did not want to help a gay couple to read marriage vows. Gay marriage voices out the right of true love and human rights, but is also hurting a group of people in some extents.

  15. As a christian I agree with the quote “We believe in the separation of church and state.”
    There are a few people in my family who are gay/lesbian. I love them, and I wouldn’t want to take away their happiness and their future, and success because they can’t be together or simply by acting like a complete a**hole to them.
    Personally, I think, “You can hate the sin but love the sinner”.

    Additionally, I think it really sucks that ALL christians are seen as anti-gay, because not everyone has that same mindset. However, like the students, I don’t think that anyone has to apologize for others actions or even their own. Everyone should be entitled to their belief.

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