Congratulations Gabi and Helen!
This weekend, the last of the Fibbs kids was married off.
On Saturday, my sister Gabrielle and her girlfriend Helen took advantage of California’s recent Supreme Court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and together with thousands of other couples, joined their lives together.
How do I feel about it? I suppose, given the environment in which I was raised, that I should be horrified and saddened. And yet I’m thrilled for them both.
I’d be lying if I said I’ve come to terms with my religion and its judgments on my sister’s sexual orientation. I certainly take issue with how the church responds to my sister and other homosexuals, though my brief thoughts here are far more utilitarian than theological. I am coming at this less as a Christian who happens to be my sister’s brother and more as my sister’s brother who happens to be a Christian.
Believe me, there is no need to bombard my inbox or the comments section of this post with chapter and verse from Leviticus or the dictates of St. Paul illuminating Gabi and I to the error of our ways. We know well what the Bible says, as well as the feelings of many of our friends and family.
Frankly, I am tired of Christians decrying gay marriage as a blight on the sanctity of marriage when, according to numerous reputable studies, more than half of heterosexual Christian marriages end in divorce. Perhaps I’d feel differently about the integrity of the institution if those who called themselves believers in holy matrimony weren’t as bedeviled by relational implosions as “the world” they rail against. Perhaps I’d feel differently if being a Christian seemed to make the least bit of difference in marital longevity. I find it ironic that so many Christians are loath to accept two homosexuals who decide to pledge their lives to one another in monogamous exclusivity, the very thing modeled by Christ and His church.
I feel comfortable ignoring the bureaucratic and economic reasons why extending marriage to same sex couples is problematic if for no other reason than such issues are nowhere near the heart of why Christians cannot accept gay marriage. For Christians, it is a moral issue. And while they are free to take that stance, I have yet to meet one Christian who can give me even one example of how Gabi and Helen’s union affects the sanctity of his or her marriage.
Destroy the sanctity of marriage? What does that even mean? The government could null and void my marriage and while it might create an avalanche of red tape, it would not…could not…possibly touch the mysterious, symbolic, spiritual, sacred core of what my wife and I share. If marriage is nothing more than a binding contract in the eyes of the State, that is one thing. But if a Christian union is an act done before God, then nothing, apart from internal cancers, can ever hope to touch it.
Is my marriage somehow tainted by the heterosexual couple who recently married after living together “in sin” for years? Is it soiled by the heterosexual couple marrying because of a pregnancy, or against a family member’s wishes, etc? Of course not. So why is this any different? Besides, it’s not as if homosexual marriage somehow changes or magnifies the alleged sin. If God doesn’t approve of homosexuality, an empty, Godless ceremony won’t alter the gravity of their sin. Nothing has changed except for the symbol.
Homosexual marriage doesn’t harm my marriage or yours, no matter how theologically into the weeds you want to go.
I am still amazed that Christians feel the need to police the lives of others instead of being satisfied with working out their own personal holiness with fear and trembling. Why the constant need to tell others how they must live? Christians are to be the salt and light of the world by their behavior and good works, not the world’s spiritual policemen.
In a few short days I will finally meet Helen for the very first time. Heretofore a voice over the phone or a pixilated image on Skype, a trip to Portland for the 4th of July holiday will finally allow us to meet in person. I am not concerned that I won’t love her. If my sister is smitten, I have no doubt I will be too. I am, however, worried about the enormous elephant in the room these recent events (and my now public reaction to them) will create.
Someone has to be happy for Gabi and Helen, has to celebrate with them, has to stand up for them. And I am happy to be that person.