Standing on the Side of Love

NELSON-JIM-85So now the Supreme Court will take the issue of marriage equality behind their closed doors, with a decision to be rendered sometime later this year.  There is more than enough speculation to go around, and I’ll leave it to pundits for that.  Several comments got my attention in the argument about Prop 8.  One was that the purpose of marriage has to do with procreation.  Obviously, that is not true.  The first marriage I did here in California was for a couple near 90; I have done weddings for people who know they do not want to have children.  That is just a phony argument.

A second was that the jury is out about whether there is harm for children in same sex parent families (funny they never suggest benefit!)  All research refutes that; nothing suggests that the gender of the parents has anything to do with good parenting; it has to do with the character, not the gender of the parents. I mean, really, this is below even mediocre reasoning.

But the kicker was Justice Alito’s comment that gay marriage is newer than the internet or cell phone.  This is just stupid – first of all it is demeaning to compare a loving and committed human relationship to a thing, but, secondly, people of the same gender have been establishing long lasting and healthy relationships since the beginning of time; it is not new at all.

It is OK for faith traditions to discriminate and believe what they want, but not to insist that their beliefs be public policy.  The case against same sex marriage is prejudice pure and simple and that has no place in our civil and social society.  Even Bill O’Reilly realized that the arguments against are mostly Bible thumping, not thinking. We can be proud of the ideals of our country – justice and liberty for everyone, the opportunity to take full part in society for everyone, whether we like one thing or not.  But to cut off and to demean something so basic as love and commitment, to judge one kind of relationship inherently better than another, this is just wrong, simply and entirely wrong.

Just let someone tell me that the relationships of some of my friends in same sex marriages are less than all heterosexual marriages.  There are good and bad marriages all over and it has nothing, nothing to do with gender.  Nothing. Just nothing at all.  I am proud and even more I was privileged to have performed a number of same sex weddings four summers ago.  They were and are worthy of everything, models of how good families can be, models of how adults can be together, models of who we can be as human beings, examples of the very best in our world.

We are lucky – I repeat lucky – to stand on the side of love.  Let’s hope the Supreme Court does too.

Rev. Jim Nelson

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5 Responses to Standing on the Side of Love

  1. Dana Wilkie says:

    Well said Jim. Thanks from all of us who are straight allies and attend NUUC.

  2. Pingback: Standing on the Side of Love - LA Progressive

  3. Suzanne Balch Delacey says:

    Thank you for this. At this time, I am silent in reflection and melancholy. I am struck hard and burn deeply with sadness over the vitriol and damnation coming from my home tribe in Mississippi. Many of them have unknowingly, anonymously revealed on social media that they despise and are disgusted by people like me; that I am an abomination, an error, lost, a bad seed, a detriment to society, and should be wholly disregarded in favor of more important matters, in Jesus’ name. They have disposed of me unwittingly. I have wept off and on today. I can never go home. I’m so, so grateful for you and for those who speak for me at this time when I cannot, when I can only sit in the floor try not to let the bad messages win.

  4. Pat Johanson says:

    Well said, Jim!

  5. Right on, Jim. Right on, U(U)S!

    Who ARE some of these people, and who do they know? I have close gay friends here and in Kansas City who are parents to kids of various ages, and these friends are the most affectionate, loving, humorous, encouraging, courageous, imperfect and adventure-spontanaeity-inspiring parents I can think of. Why are they parents like this? Well, I guess because these friends are some of the most affectionate, loving, humorous, imperfect, (etc etc, but I could go on – and you oughta meet the kids!) people I know! What a surprise.

    I’m still working hard to get OVER the parenting of my parent, and she was supposedly the prototype of normal and appropriate. And Rev Jim is right, there are good and bad marriages all over; years ago I was in one of the bad ones, and it was 98% my fault – me, a heterosexual. Shocking!

    All this delaying and procedural jacking around (except mainly for the great Justice Sotomayer) is painful for PEOPLE. The Supreme Court will be really supreme (a Love Supreme!) when they talk about people as people rather than page numbers, or things that may breathe and dream, laugh and cry and love, but have no precedents.

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