Same-sex marriage and the conservative perspective
Understanding the different points of view that affect the acceptance of homosexual behavior
As you know, for the first time in the United States history, a President officially endorses same-sex marriage, and this has caused a pandemonium of opinions- some very glad, and some very upset.
It is expected that most of the opposition to the President's expressions come from the right movement, which is known for its conservatism of "moral values" sustained by the Christian teachings. Within such morals, there is the belief that homosexuality is a sin.
I am not going to cover again the topic of homosexuality being something biological and brought from birth since it is covered in another hub, but it is very necessary to state and enforce the difference between the idea of homosexuality being a choice and homosexuality being a natural aspect of the person that is gay. During a long time, I personally was opposed to homosexuality and as a Christian was totally against such behavior, thinking of it as something evil, immoral and sinful. To me, it made no sense, and because of that, I believed it was a choice originated in selfish, filthy desires. My views were very conservative, and I have to admit that I was somehow homophobic.
But as time passes, there are questions that come to our minds, and we have to choose either to continue into ignorance or understand that, because life is complex, and the universe is complex, there is always room for things that are strange, rare, new or not common. Homosexuality per se is not really strange or rare, since it exists from the beginning of human history. But how can we, at this moment in time, still look at it with intolerance and a rude attitude?
1. Religion and culture vs. homosexuality
Culture and religion takes for granted the idea that romantic relationships have to confine to a man and a woman. A man or woman cannot procreate by themselves, a woman cannot give birth laying an egg or doing something that would not require a form of combination with a man, and vice versa. There is no need for a sexual intercourse for procreation to happen at this time with the new technology and advance in medicine, but an egg still needs sperm in some form so this is used as a "proof" that sex must be confined to man and woman. Also, there are many passages in the Bible that state that homosexuality is a perversion. There are many arguments used by religion to object against homosexuality, but all of these "consider" homosexuality to be a choice, not a "nature" within the gays. Let us see some of the Biblical verse that "condemn" or "prohibit" homosexuality:
"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." (Leviticus 20:13).
This is a verse which refers to a man who is heterosexual. A homosexual cannot lie with a woman for a sexual act, so this verse does not apply to a born-gay person. It refers to men who have always been attracted and feel attraction to women (and vice versa).
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you." (Leviticus 18:22-24).
Notice how this verse also prohibits zoophilia, and it may look like a direct prohibition to homosexuality. Having homosexuality and zoophilia mentioned together it gives the impression that both are just as repugnant, but this again refers to people who have a heterosexual tendency. Zoophilia is considered to be a mental disease, so people who practice it simply suffer from a mental disorder that requires medical, psychological, psychiatric or medical help; homosexuality, since it has been found to be natural in people who are born that way, and are just as normal as heterosexual people, do not fall into the category of mentally insane, homosexuals are just as normal and productive as heterosexual people. Notice that outside of homosexuals that are born gay, and zoophilic mentally insane people, the practice of these two (homosexuality and/or zoophilia as choices) are abominations and therefore, sins.
"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." (Romans 1:26-27).
This is an interesting verse because if interpreted literally, this indicates that God uses homosexuality as punishment- He made some people to become homosexual and lesbians and therefore, they act against what they were used to- heterosexual.
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men,nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6, 9-10).
Again, it looks like this verse condemns homosexuality, as “men who have sex with men” are included among a group of people who can be considered legally as criminals. If interpreted literally, this creates a “common collision” to what science has found much like the Genesis’s literal verses vs. the theory of evolution and the discovery of million-years-old objects. To understand it the right way, such that it keeps harmony with what scientists have found to date, again we have to conclude that this refers to people who choose to be homosexual.
Then, all of these verses refer to people who choose to be homosexual sometime in their life, out of selfish and/or perverse motives. It is not logical to conclude that born gays and people who became gays after traumatic experiences deserve God’s punishment and are, therefore, should be excluded from these cases which the Bible condemns.
For a person who is straight, homosexuality is indeed something strange and illogical, that is a truth and people from the LBGT community have to respect that. What it cannot be done is to make that “feeling” to give space to ideas that are intolerant, disrespectful and full of bigotry towards the LBGT community. Just like gays don’t look at heterosexuality as something they would like to experience, it occurs the other way. Because of homosexuality being strange and illogical (as a behavior) to heterosexual people, then becoming homosexual, suddenly, can be considered a sin, and then all of the Biblical verses apply. Unless, of course, such “sudden homosexuality” is just a big lie- the heterosexual was really, all of his/her life, a closeted homosexual.
Gays demand and insist, consistently and frequently, that they have always felt gay. From the very first stages, they don’t remember feeling any heterosexual trait. It is logical to conclude that gays, because being born that way, are that way- they don’t choose to be so. Then, isn't it right for us to understand that they deserve the same rights?
2. Definition of marriage
A marriage exists in two forms: legal and religious. In the religious sense, it depends on God’s approval of the union between two human beings. Using the explanation in the first point stated above, there is no real reason to think why God would not approve the marriage of two people of the same gender and are born gay. It is definitive that God will not bless a gay marriage if the gays were ex-heterosexuals, that is, that they chose to become gay. But because the religious marriage requires the approval of a religion, the language used by humans to understand God (please see my other hubs), it is the prerogative of the particular religion to decide if it will allow the marriage of two people who are the same gender. In any case, since religion and God are independent concepts, gays should not feel upset if a particular church or religion denies the marriage- they still may have the approval from God, and such approval depends on what lies within their hearts and what God judges from their true intentions.
Now the second form of marriage that really matters in the physical world is the legal, which is where people like me and President Obama believe things should change. A legal marriage allows for many benefits actually denied to gay relationships and enjoyed by heterosexual marriages. And to be honest, in this case it really should not matter what the Bible says, not because the Bible does not deserve respect or consideration, but because God allows for something that is called “free will”, and as long as people don’t harm others with such will, it does not matter if they sin or not sin before God to be granted earthly rights. Let’s say that two ex-heterosexuals decide they want to marry. Because of the clear Biblical reference to homosexuality by choice to be a sin, God will not bless such marriage. But that does not mean law and government should also go along with God because that affects the free will that is respected by God Himself, as well as it violates the principle of the separation of state and religion granted by the Constitution. As long as they don’t harm others, why should they not inherit if one of the parts dies? Why should not they enjoy benefits when filing taxes, or have many benefits that law only recognize in a legal marriage?
This is why I, a heterosexual man, together with President Obama and so many millions of others, endorse and approve gay marriage. Because of humans' free will, I endorse and approve legal gay marriages for all forms of gays, but I can only respect and approve religious marriage to those who are born gay, not those who choose to be gay.
3. God’s perfection vs. born gays
A bunch of people from the right movement, regardless of all that has been found that certifies the biological differences between straight and gay people, still insist that gays are not born that way because it contradicts God’s perfection. This is, personally, a very ignorant and vague approach to what God’s perfection means. There are many people who are born with defects, but that does not make God imperfect. To say that because God is perfect so gays cannot be born that way is nothing but bigotry and fear to admit that sometimes things are complex in this life. There are animals who display homosexual tendencies. It has been widely known that heterosexual people who are highly sexual may turn temporarily or forcedly “homosexual” as they don’t see people from the opposite sex around for a long time and they can't control they sexual instincts. It has happened in prisons, the military and male or female-only places. Does this mean God is imperfect because people can change because of emotional problems? There are people who are born hermaphrodite. There are people who are born asexual. Are these people going to hell by default? Religious must take a time and think deep inside, what do they really follow? What is the engine that drives them to seek God… desire of the truth, desire for personal gain and satisfaction or fear?