A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage

Seems Christians are only ever willing to "play nice" when they've finally reconciled with inevitable defeat. A friend pointed me to this article in the NYTimes.

It's written by two guys from across the aisle, which I can appreciate:
David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values and the author of “The Future of Marriage,” and Jonathan Rauch, guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and the author of “Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights and Good for America.”

It begins:

In politics, as in marriage, moments come along when sensitive compromise can avert a major conflict down the road. The two of us believe that the issue of same sex marriage has reached such a point now...
Click Here to read the full article.

I suppose if every evangelical American was willing to go along with this, we'd manage to pull ourselves out of gay culture wars for the most part. Still, I'm struck that in this article, too many will Christians hear an excuse to "defend their space" - a last-ditch effort to legitimize a particular theology, validate their discomfort, perpetuate their homophobia, etc...

I realize that's not the core of this article, but I try to be careful how I talk within evangelical circles. I've had my own words twisted from underneath me, to affirm something I never intended. Does this article give evangelicals permission to dig in and further separate from culture-at-large? Is that the best solution at hand?

OR, maybe this is a very pragmatic first step, paving the way toward inevitable normalization of homosexuality in the broader culture (which then inevitably trickles down to the churches).



Brandon K. Baker said...


My first thought is this: separate cannot be equal. We learned in Brown v. The Board of Education that "separate but equal" institutions intrinsically cannot be equal. By keeping it separate, you've asserted that it is still untouchable. Yes, we're talking about a word; however, words carry a lot of meaning.

What these two gents are suggesting may be a plausible first step, but nothing is going to lessen or dissolve the conflict that is growing over this issue.

For a while I thought maybe the best idea would be for the government to get out of the "marriage" business all together and issue only civil unions to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Then, using a similar idea proposed in the NY Times article, individual churches can decide whom to give marriage certificates to.

Yet, I think that might fall short of equal as well. To erase the argument over the word might be worse. By removing the title from the issue, we cheapen this victory so-to-speak.

I don't know though. It seems that we're a long way from any bi-partisan actions on any issue.

Peter said...

Brandon, we need to chat about this over beer/coffee sometime soon. Thanks for weighing in.

Mike Jones said...


Good thoughts. After reading through these postings, I thought I would share my perspective.

The primary focus of our non-profit counseling office, Corduroy Stone, is to address the subjects of homosexuality and heterosexuality from a biblical perspective. Thus I have put considerable thought to the questions and concepts surrounding civil unions, marriage, and gay marriage.

I often write that if we could first separate the legal construct of marriage from the Christian concept of marriage, and then separate the function of using churches and having pastors officiate marriages when both parties are not Christians, from Christian marriages whether in church buildings or not, we would go a long way in understanding the complexities of the thrust of civil unions and the value of Christian marriage that is differentiated from gay marriages that are proposed by supportive social and pro-gay Christian components of society.

I am in support of civil unions, including those where people are heterosexual and don't want to bring in a Christian concept of marriage into their legal definition of being together in the society. I don't support gay marriage from my theological perspective on marriage, but I think people who are committed to be together, (maybe for more or less years than the typical heterosexual marriage today), should have the same social rights as people who are in a Christian marriage, where the state honors that as a legal union. It feels like we don't address the negative components of Christian marriage in our culture when we address the subject of civil unions and gay marriage.

Peter said...

Great input Mike, thanks for joining the conversation. I'm reposting your comments...

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