I’m a big fan of marriage. It’s an essential building block of civic health and promotes human maturing that’s reflective of God’s enduring love and care of creation. That’s not to say single persons cannot have completely fulfilled lives. Of course they can. But overall marriage is good for people, good for the nation, and good for kids. That’s a big reason I have been supportive of same-sex marriage. I would even go so far as to say that this whole debate has been very good for marriage in general. The Supreme Court has done us all a great favor this week on this matter.
Contrary to what opponents (and especially Christian opponents) of same-sex marriage espouse, I do not think there is any evidence to suggest that committed homosexual couples have a deleterious effect on heterosexual marriage. Isn’t it startling to consider how many people long to get married that in prior years had been prevented from taking this awesome step into long-term committed relationships?
For me, marriage is marriage is marriage and any two persons who want to extend love and care to another in bonds of integrity, mutuality, responsible self-control, dignity and regard for the common good should be encouraged and celebrated. I say, the more the merrier, and the new folks joining the marriage parade can only bring greater clarity and support to everyone else who attempts this path into human maturing. They will share all the work, trials, failures and successes all the rest have experienced. In the meantime, they may actually inject a fresh and vigorous consideration of the place and power of marriage within human society.
In one of our readings this week Paul says: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23) These gifts, which seem so conducive to committed relationships, are not dependent upon one’s sexual orientation. We well know the truth that some homosexual persons can abound in these virtues while some heterosexuals can abound in their opposite. Sexual orientation is no guarantee of righteousness; in fact, in the main it has nothing to do with righteousness per se.
The core of my professional life is dedicated to help any and all embrace these good gifts which I believe emanate from a commitment rooted in faith to love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves as embodied by Jesus, who so clearly manifested this transcendent ethic in everything he said and did. Why would sincere Christians prevent anyone from honoring this abounding love in their lives? I say, let us help anyone and everyone learn how to live this love as best they can. In this way all of us learn better how to live into the integrity of our own lives.
Reverend Stephen P. Bauman