My darling Karen,
I so appreciate your words, and I'm sorry I kept you up with mine! :) You ARE and always HAVE BEEN a woman who loves all and loves well, and you are my good friend. You have proven that time and again. And there's no BUT in there. You walk out your faith with integrity and authenticity and compassion, and I am thankful that you have always had my back whenever I've chosen to make my opinion known--whether you agreed with it fully, partially, or not at all.
The effort to "protect" marriage on the part of heterosexuals would not be so laughable if the divorce rate were a little lower, perhaps. No one, including myself here, has done a stellar job of protecting the sanctity of marriage. Not that giving gay people a legal crack at it would improve the divorce rates any--I'm just pointing out the blaring inconsistency of people who want to "protect" it while they are concurrently trashing it. We truly ALL fall short...
So, your question, in our quest to right this wrong, do we compromise? Here is how I've resolved this whole thing in my mind, having been raised and taught the very same things you are bringing to light in this dialogue: What is the most compassionate thing I can do in this situation? I think there are two things, actually. #1 I can speak out against the haters (which I've done and will continue to do) and #2 I can acknowledge the inequality of this situation. I really do see this as a civil rights issue. These are tax-paying Americans, yet they are not allowed the same privileges as straight people. We can try to throw that moral wrench into that by saying that homosexuality is not right. But there is another moral wrench here in that not everyone is being treated fairly and, like you said as well, many are even being harassed, bullied, and threatened. The people who do not wish to see gay people marry haven't really acknowledged the inequality. I mean, at LEAST say, "OK, then gay people should get a HUGE tax credit since they don't enjoy all the rights and privileges that straight people do..." which is ridiculous--namely because tomorrow, there would be so many gay people in this country, we couldn't count them all! I would consider switching teams myself! Why lie? Anyway, if the peeps who want to keep marriage between a man and a woman would at least ACKNOWLEDGE this and bend just a teensy-weensy bit, then maybe folks wouldn't be SO polarized. But, since there is NO ROOM for compromise, then I can't stand with those folks. Hatred is a moral issue--one that I believe poses a much bigger threat to our country than homosexuality. I mean, if I were raising young kids today, I would shelter them from the haters before I would ever shelter them from gay people, for crying out loud! I would NEVER let my child near someone so enraged that they would make a hate sign and go protest downtown, screaming "TURN OR BURN!" to folks just trying to be happy like everybody else. THOSE people are nuts! They scare me!
I also believe that marriage would alter the gay culture--whether that's in a big way or a small way, I don't know--but it would still promote monogamy. Monogamy brings many benefits in terms of health and stability. Having been exposed to the gay lifestyle by the friends you mentioned, I think this is a good thing--just speaking pragmatically.
So, let's talk spiritually because that is really at the crux of this conversation. One might ask, how can we vote to legalize gay marriage and dismiss what the Bible says about homosexuality?
I'm not dismissing anything the Bible says. I struggle with that book. It's amazing, and I love it, and I cherish its words in my heart. I ponder it. I grapple with it. It gives me hope. I pisses me off in spots. I don't get it. I SO get it! It truly is the only book I've ever read that is ALIVE WITH ME, if that makes sense. But there are so many other questions...
What does the Bible say about the law? It says the law doesn't save us. The law CAN'T save us. Regardless of WHAT the law is, the only One that has the power to truly save us from ourselves is Christ.
What does the Bible say about sin? It says it separated me from God, but that Christ came and bridged that gap. This is nothing any of us could ever legislate.
What does the Bible say about love? It says if I say I love God and hate my brother, that I am a liar and God is not in me.
My brother wants to marry his boyfriend. Should I let him? Or should I prevent him? But if I try to prevent him, I build a wall of hurt and distrust and regret between us, and every brick in that wall belongs to me. Said wall prevents me from being able to put my arms around him and LOVE HIM, which is my command and my responsibility. Why would I erect such a thing that blocks my love and stands between me and my brother when the law is neither HERE NOR THERE in regard to his own redemption or his relationship with God?
Can't do it. I can't build that wall. And Jesus gets me. He gets it. If I'm wrong, it is just one more thing He will work out in me. I do keep Him quite busy...
I know you get me too, my friend. :)