So 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