I've done a lot of thinking about gay marriage and homosexuality over the last couple of years. How could I not? It's in the news; it's in our churches; religious leaders are talking and writing about it ad nauseum.
I'm pro-gay marriage because it doesn't affect me if a gay couple wants to have the same rights and privileges that my husband and I share. As a physician, I know how difficult it can be to deal with medical and end-of-life issues with a friend of a patient, but how easy (relatively) it is with the spouse of a patient. That marriage certificate smooths many things, including being allowed into an ICU, being allowed to continue or terminate life support, etc. And I don't care if that spouse is the same sex or opposite sex of the patient I was caring for.
I will admit that my views have crystallized in the past few years because of a gay friend. She's not the first gay friend I've had, but she is almost a daughter to me and has been since she was five years old. She came out a few years ago. Now she has a partner and might one day like to get married. Last week, she and her partner came over to dinner before they went to the Fair with my daughter and we all had a wonderful time. Even if I believed that gay behavior was sinful (which I'm not sure about) and didn't support gay marriage, I would still be friends with these young women. They are lovely girls and are fun to be around. Just like lots of straight people.
I also know lots of divorced people and I hang around with them. They are great people and fun to be with. But, I know that divorce is wrong. But, that doesn't affect my relationship with them. I still love them.
I read a lot of Christian blogs. There has been a lot of virtual ink spilled about the evils of gay marriage and how it's going to destroy marriage in this country. Very little has been written about the divorce epidemic in this country, and even in the church (yes, I know that committed Christians actually have a low divorce rate, but I'm talking about overall attenders).
I think that the reason we don't talk much about divorce is two-fold. The first reason is that once people are divorced, it's over and done with and they are forgiven and can move on with their lives. Generally, I buy this, especially when people are moving on from abusive marriages.
Second is that most of the people writing this terrible blog posts about gay marriage know plenty of divorced people and not a lot of gay people. It's easy to call gay people names and act like they're going to send this country to hell in a handbasket when you don't have much relationship with any. It's harder to write mean things about people you know and like. I have a feeling life would be different if they had lunch every week with a couple of gay friends - not just acquaintances, but friends. They might still oppose gay marriage, just like they oppose divorce, but their tone would change. They would be sorrowful, instead of angry.
Loving your neighbor is hard from a distance. Maybe we all need to figure out a way to get to know these neighbors that we rail about. I have a feeling what we write in blogs and on Facebook would be a lot different.