I Do

Back in 1996, a friend issued an ultimatum when I was planning my wedding. “If you invite any of your little gay friends, don’t invite me,” she stated. “I don’t want to be around sinners.”

I met her through an adult Sunday School class, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. She, along with most of the people in that particular church, stood firm in the belief that homosexuality is wrong. Period. No questions, no discussion. In her mind, all gay people go to hell, no matter what.

Subject closed. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. Game over.

It had been a sore subject between the two of us. I considered myself a good Christian, and I still do. I have friends who are gay, and some of them are good Christians as well. Some are Pagans; some are Atheist, and one is Jewish.   But those people all have two things in common: they are my friends, and they don’t need my approval of their sexual orientation.

I am proud to say that I told my church friend I was going to invite whoever the hell I wanted to my wedding, and it was up to her whether to show up or not.

She didn’t come to my wedding.

I am not a theologian. I am not prepared to sit down and discuss the words of the Bible and debate over which sins are worse than other sins. I don’t know. Maybe that makes me ignorant; maybe it makes me a blind fool to follow a religion without studying it in any great depth.

Gossip is a sin, but let me tell you which of my neighbors are heavy drinkers or are facing foreclosure.   Gluttony is a sin, but just watch what happens when I get my hands on a Toblerone. I can go straight to hell for taking the Lord’s name in vain, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never gotten through a twenty-four hour period without uttering at least one hearty “God damn it!”

But do I believe in Heaven? More to the point, do I believe I am going there when I die?

Absolutely.

I also believe in same-sex marriage. I believe that two people who love each other should be together.

Why is that such a big deal?

I’ve heard the arguments that same-sex marriage makes a mockery of the “sanctity of marriage.” That it devalues “normal” marriage in some way.   That marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman, and that is all.  No exceptions.

But when I look around at the “normal” marriages around me, I see more divorces than long-lasting unions. The majority of my friends and relatives refer to their first marriage or first husband; I was the Big Guy’s second wife, and he has already given a ring to his future third wife.   The “sanctity of marriage” doesn’t seem to keep straight people from lying or cheating on their spouses. Maybe I’m just bitter because of the collapse of my own marriage, but it seems as though everyone around me has a tale to tell of infidelity or hurt.

Sure, same-sex marriages often deal with the same issues. I am not suggesting that one is better than the other. But as far as making a mockery of marriage? That ship sailed a long time ago, and it had nothing to do with homosexuality. Or Christianity, for that matter.

Marriage is hard work. Gay or straight, young or old, Christian or not, an average of 50% of all marriages today are going to end in divorce. Fifty percent.

When I married my husband, I didn’t expect to become a middle-aged single mother. I didn’t expect us to stop communicating; I never thought he could fall in love with someone else and leave me behind. I thought we were going to be one of the successful marriages, and I had visions of our spending our sunset years together. I loved him, and he loved me, and we were both naïve enough to think that was going to be enough.

It wasn’t.

But we tried. We really tried. And it wasn’t all bad; if I had the chance to go back in time and do it again, I would. In a heartbeat. Even knowing how much it was going to hurt when we went our separate ways in eighteen years, I would do it all again because the good parts of our marriage outnumbered the bad ones.   I am glad I had the chance to be married to him.

Which is my roundabout way of saying that I believe everyone deserves a chance to try to make it work. If two people love each other and are strong enough to take that risk, to make that bet that they are going to be in the fifty percent of marriages that succeed, then why shouldn’t they have that opportunity?

One of my high school friends is going through a rough patch right now. Life keeps bitch-slapping her with one tragedy after another, one devastating loss after another. And through it all, my friend’s wife has been there for her. My friend and her wife are both strong, beautiful women who are raising a strong and beautiful daughter, and their love for each other will help them survive anything. There is not a doubt in my mind that they belong together.

How can anyone say their love is wrong?

I believe in God, but not a God who would doom these women to Hell. I believe God is just and kind, and that He gave us the capacity to love; I believe that the people who can’t see this are the ones who are truly doomed.

Love is just . . . love. You find it or you don’t.   Gay or straight, the luckiest people in the world are the ones who find it and keep it.

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11 thoughts on “I Do

  1. I couldn’t agree more! How can love between two consenting adults ever be a sin? I bet people who condemn same-sex relationships focus too much on the Old Testament and letters by Paul (who seemed to have been quite a bitter person in general) than the actual preachings of Jesus.

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    • I love the way you put that: “How can love between two consenting adults ever be a sin?”. Took me 1,000 words to say that, and you just summed it all up in one sentence!

      I’m not well-versed in Old Testament vs. New Testament, but I think you really make a good point about where some of these people are coming from

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  2. I always thought it was just, ‘love others’ that was it. I agree with you, on all points. But then, I am an evil sinner all the way and every day. A Recovering Catholic, Deist and Pagan, who loves to debate Biblical history and content. My friends range across nearly every religion, theology, gender and sexual identification. Life would be boring without complex relationships and diversity.

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  3. i find it amazing that people see gay/lesbian people and define them by an act that takes up a minute part of their lives. In my 45 year relationship we laugh, eat, go to work, entertain friends,take care of our children, wash the dishes, go shopping, walk the dog, play with grandchildren, love, fight, disagree and spend 99.9 percent of our time in the bedroom sleeping. Physical love is an important but tiny speck of time in any relationship. It is the love and the commitment two people bring to a relationship, not the gender of the humans involved. I’m not going to announce my sexual preference here because it doesn’t matter. My friends Monica and Diane, Richard and Joe, Sheila and Dan all have the same kind relationships as I do. What we do in private needs to stay private. The kind and loving God I believe in loves all His children. If good Christians don’t like gay people they should stop making them.

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    • You really put it all into perspective, Kathy. You are absolutely right — what happens in the bedroom is just a part of the relationship, so why are people so obsessed with judging others because of it?

      Thanks so much for commenting!

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  4. I am amazed at your attitude towards the broken marriage — especially the comment about doing it all over again knowing the outcome. I would have thought that you would have preferred someone who would have more consideration for your hurts rather than for the chemical rush of falling in love with someone new. Most of my male friends who have left their wives, tell me that after a few years, the new marriage is no better than the last one, and perhaps a little worse. To me marriage should be an emotional partnership where love is one key, but the underpinnings of it, is a guardianship of the other person so that they are safe in the relationship — including the fact that their love is safe and secure from infidelity and wandering. Just my 2 cents. I know nothing because I am not married.

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    • Kenby, I am thrilled that you took the time to read and comment on my blog!

      I would do it all again because our marriage gave me three beautiful kids, and because his family is amazing. I had the world’s best mother-in-law; I wouldn’t miss out on her for anything. I’m still on good terms with most of his family, actually.

      Honestly, I don’t hate him. I believed all of thse things about marriage too; losing him to another woman is the most soul-crushing, bitterest pain ever . . . But there were good times as well, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on those.

      I just have to hold onto the hope that he wasn’t my only chance at love. THAT would suck.

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  5. While I’m not religious personally, I’ve always liked this one:

    “If any one of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”

    Life would be so much easier and kinder if we could keep that one in mind. All of us. 🙂

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  6. Hi A.J.
    Good on you. What amazes me is that no-one ever points out that allowing same sex marriage, has got to be the best anti-dote to the villainised aspect of the homosexual lifestyle i.e. promiscuity. Yep and I know that, that is also a largely unfounded stereotype. However people who are excluded from participating fully in social norms are right to take the view that if they are excluded then those rules/conventions/social mores can be ignored. Those who are disenfranchised by society have no obligation to society. Oh and feel free to proof read.
    Graeme

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