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March 18, 2011

Poll: Growing Public Approval of Gay Marriage

The House of Representatives picks up defense of DOMA.

A new ABC-Washington Post poll finds that, for the first time, a majority of Americans now believe that same-sex marriages should be legal. The poll finds 53 percent think “it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married.” About 45 percent said it should be illegal.

0318samesexmarriagepoll.jpg

The survey also finds that most Americans hold strong views on the issue. Just over a third—36 percent—feel strongly that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 35 percent strongly think that it should be illegal. As late as 2006, a majority strongly opposed it.

The survey's results reflect findings by other surveys that find increasing support for allowing gay marriage. Last year's surveys by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (Pew) found, that for the first time, less than 50 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage. Only 48 percent oppose “allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.” However, only 42 percent favor gay marriage in the Pew polls.

Pew also finds a majority of evangelicals remain opposed to same-sex marriage, with 72 percent of white evangelicals stating that it should be illegal. 62 percent of black Protestants also oppose gay marriage. Mainline Protestants support gay marriage. In 2008-2009, 40 percent of mainline Protestants approved of gay marriage. In 2010, 48 percent think gay marriage should be legal.

National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) president Leith Anderson is one of several evangelical leaders who are lobbying Congress to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. In February, the Obama administration informed Congress that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in some federal lawsuits.

Anderson said that the NAE disagreed with Obama's decision. “We hope that Congress will hire its own lawyers to vigorously defend DOMA in federal courts,” said Anderson. “Marriage is foundational to a healthy society in which children enjoy the care and nurture of both their mother and father. Radically redefining marriage will have a far-reaching impact on the health of our nation.”

Last week, the leaders in the House of Representatives decided to defend DOMA in court. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts—not by the president unilaterally—and this action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins commended the Speaker's position while also accusing the president of violating his constitutional oath.

"We thank Speaker Boehner for working to protect the rule of law and the institution of marriage,” said Perkins. “The Speaker is sending a bold message that Congress will not stand idly while the President picks and chooses which laws will be nullified by Executive Branch surrender to antagonistic litigants.”

In general, the administration defends U.S. law even when it goes against White House policy positions. However, presidents are not bound to defend laws that it determines are violations of the U.S. Constitution. Though extremely rare, previous presidents have also chosen to not defend a law.

Indeed, conservatives have noted that federal law includes a specific list of procedures that must be followed in such cases. In these rare cases where the president believes the law violates the constitution, the administration must notify the congress. Either chamber may choose to defend the law. In the Senate, this would require a resolution. The House does not vote on the decision. It is left to the Speaker, who acts in consultation with leaders from both political parties.

At issue, then, is whether the president's decision on DOMA is based on sincere constitutional objections or mere policy disagreements.

The Heritage Foundation's Hans A. von Spakovsky believes it is the latter.

“The president’s decision seems driven by politics and violates his law enforcement duty, calling into question the integrity of our justice system,” said Von Spakovsky. “It contravenes long-standing Justice Department policy to defend Acts of Congress unless no reasonable argument can be made in their defense or they infringe on core presidential constitutional authority, neither of which is the case with DOMA.”

The administration’s justification for its decision is complex. The decision applies only to cases of couples married under state law who are bringing suits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over federal district courts in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. In other circuit courts, there is precedent for reviewing DOMA under the “rational basis” test. This is a relatively low bar that gives deference to the Congress. The administration agrees that DOMA is constitutional under the rational basis test.

The president does not believe that the rational basis test, absent precedent, is constitutional. He believes that not recognizing state marriages demands “heightened scrutiny” and under this higher bar DOMA's definition of marriage would be unconstitutional. As a result, the administration will no longer defend the constitutionality of two cases in the Second Circuit. If the Second Circuit later decides that the rational basis rule applies, then the administration will comply and argue in favor of DOMA.

 


Comments

MARRIAGE is a promise of a man and a woman to be faithful to each other, love, honor and until death do they part. There is no such thing as marriage between two people of the same sex. It is simply NOT A MARRIAGE.

I think in reality people have long thought of marriage as a union of two people characterized by things like abiding love, affection, mutual support, united purpose, and deep emotional and spiritual bonds. I also think they have viewed healthy marriages as an ideal setting for the raising of children. The thought that this all could be true for two people of the same gender, though, was just unthinkable.

But as a strong scientific consensus has developed that all these traits CAN apply to unions of same-gender couples, and as more people have gotten to know same-gender couples and their families, I know many people have come to see that this description of marriage applies to them perfectly well. And I think this is true of many Christians as well. And many have come to view those few scriptures commonly used to condemn homosexuality as having been written in regards to same-sex behaviors of such a different nature that they just don't apply to the kind of relationships being discussed here.

I know that line of thinking doesn't go over well in this forum. But do please keep in mind that this is not about people turning their back on God or ignoring scripture or just going along with the culture. It is about sincere differences in understanding of how same-gender couples function and how context should impact interpretation of scripture.

I get so tired of the constant pushing of the homosexual agenda and the lies. There is one thing that is true, and that is God's word. God condemns homosexuality. All of you Christians can go with what you think is politically correct, but I will follow God's word. I feel very sorry for those who don't believe God's word and call themselves Christians. Here are some statistics that you may not be aware of. It's not popular to tell the truth regarding homosexuals. If you think they are just like every other Christian couple, you are wrong. In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that "the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500." In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.

Have YOU had 1000 partners??

A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than one hundred sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than one thousand sexual partners.
What often isn't said is that most homosexual marriages are not mongamous, they usually are "open".

Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of "committed" or "monogamous" typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage.

A Canadian study of homosexual men who had been in committed relationships lasting longer than one year found that only 25 percent of those interviewed reported being monogamous." According to study author Barry Adam, "Gay culture allows men to explore different...forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals."

In The Male Couple, authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison reported that, in a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years:
Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.

The longevity of their relationships is also different.
The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a "current relationship," only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years.[4] While this "snapshot in time" is not an absolute predictor of the length of homosexual relationships, it does indicate that few homosexual relationships achieve the longevity common in marriages.
The Handbook of Family Diversity reported a study in which "many self-described 'monogamous' couples reported an average of three to five partners in the past year. Blasband and Peplau (1985) observed a similar pattern."

This information is from The Family Research Council, which I know is a hated organization by the left. But the homosexuals will just respond with their false statistics from leftist journals.
1Cor 3:19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God."

I'm not going to go through all of the "data" that the previous poster listed. I will just touch on one aspect of the first ... a relatively old 1997 survey. The following excerpt describes how survey participants were recruited. "Recruitment sources included sections of the organised gay community (radio, venues, gyms, businesses, publications); places of sexual contact within, outside, and marginal to organised gay communities (gay brothels, sex shops, beats, saunas); health centres frequented by gay men; and pornography outlets." Hardly a random sampling; heterosexual studies that sought out participants from brothels, sex shops, and porn outlets would give a pretty distorted view of reality as well. The FRC does have a habit of cherry-picking data from questionable sources; please don't take anything they say at face value without digging into their sources. I tend to go with current consensus views of major mental-health organizations like the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association.

"The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Here's what the Bible says about society: Isaiah 40:6ff ...voice says, "Call out."
Then he answered, "What shall I call out?"
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,But the word of our God stands forever.
2 points in the passage: 1)people are transient, temporal as are their mores apart from God's word; and 2) God's word is eternal.

Here's what Jesus said about marriage: Matt. 19:4 "And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? 6"So they are no longer two, but one flesh." Marriage was the first institution on earth and began with Adam (male) and Eve (female) - not Adam and Steve.

My point: society's mores are only as good as how well they reflect a Biblical worldview. And all this poll shows is how far and how fast our society is falling away from its Biblical morings. Ps. 33:12 - Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD...


Health, happiness will bring!

It is good when civil laws protect civil rights. Yesterday a 28 year-old Philadelphia-area man admitted he stoned to death a brain-damaged 70 year-old man because the Bible says to stone homosexuals. John Joe Thomas reportedly killed Murray Joseph Seidman, whom Thomas claimed was gay, and told police, “I stoned Murray with a rock in a sock,” because he had read in the Bible that gays should be stoned
This young man followed the Bible, as he understood it literally, and following the Bible literally always leads to death, as Jesus said, "The letter brings death but the Spirit brings life."
The Spirit of the Gospel is violated when someone does violence physically, emotionally or verbally to another person, especially when doing so in the name of God.
We Christians abhor the violence done to those of our faith, yet far too many speak loudly in praise of oppressive measures when misunderstood minorities like gays are involved.

@writerJerome (or should I say "News Hound" ;-)
And Mark Twain said, "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." The call to take the Bible literally didn't lead to that tragedy; the deranged individual is the cause. Paul says in II Tim. 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who CORRECTLY HANDLES the word of truth." And in II Tim. 3:16,17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Let me ask you this: would you blame our legal system if some unauthorized person carried out a punishment allowed by our legal system? For eg., if you jay walked and an ordinary citizen then gave you a ticket for jay walking, would you blame the law? I seriously doubt it. My point: don't blame the Bible for people's deranged behavior. Blame the deranged individual.

A poll: "Do you think it should be illegal or legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?"
A ballot measure: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in this state."

Very different questions. Very different circumstances (telephone poll, voting booth)
Very different measures that have little to do with each other.

Maybe the question should be:
Do you have a right to tell your family, neighbors, friends and strangers, who they should marry?
Would get very different results.

The ultimate question heading to court:
Must a couple (straight or gay) wanting to marry in any state, ask permission of everyone else in that state and the entire country before they can get married?
Answer is obvious. It's gonna' happen, whether you like it or no

"The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice." If it is true it is because and only because God is the Sovereign Lord of the universe. And so the questions are these: Whose idea of justice are you referring to? And what does justice include? And how do you know if your idea of justice is correlative to God's idea of justice? Inquiring minds want to know; So consult God's word.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Get to know God through His word and you will learn what justice is. Otherwise, you will be left with mere popular opinion and the latest social fads since last Wednesday. Not a good source on which to build a truly just society.

Inflammatory For those folks who can't manage to write a post without some inserting some threatening Biblical quote in it, this newsflash is for you: your holy book is irrelevant to the laws of civilized nations. American law is based on our Constitution which gurantees equal treatment under the law. Unless you can show why American principles should take a back seat to faith-based bigotry, your day is over. Marriage equality has already won. The courts know it, the people know it, and the legistlatures are gradually catching up. The church, however, will likely stay decades behind the culture, which is an excellent milestone on the road to eventual and complete irrelevancy.

Hmmmm, I wonder where the framers of our Constitution got their principles of equality and justice? You think maybe they just sat around one day and started brainstorming? I wonder....

Thomas Jefferson: Hey, I've got a great idea. For kicks,let's add a little something unique to this Constitution to see if anyone really reads it. I say, let's give gays the right to get married. It's in the Bible, you know - my version of the Bible, that is. (snicker, snicker)
John Adams: Oh, come on, TJ. You're not really serious, are you? Where did you get that crazy idea from? The French?
Thomas Jefferson: Naw. Just kidding, but dude I am so bored right now. Let's go get a beer and finish this later.
Thomas Paine: C'mon you guys. Stop horsing around. We've got to get this thing finished. We're on a deadline, you know. And the British aren't going to wait around for ever. So no beer until we get done. Now, settle down and get back to work.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson whispering to each other: (Dude, TP is a real killjoy. Yeah, who invited him to help draft the Constitution, anyway? Probably Jim Madison. Dude, that guy is such a loser. Hey, I hear his wife Dolly wears the breeches in that family. No doubt, bro. No doubt. Haw, Haw!)
Thomas Paine: What are you guys laughing at now?
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in unison: "Nothing."
Thomas Paine: Hey, what do you think? Should we give the Mormans the right to polygamy?
TJ and JA look at each other and laughing hysterically they say: Sure, why not?

"...folks who can't manage to write a post without some inserting some threatening Biblical quote..."

I do it to irritate you.

The important question that every priest and minister must ask about gay and lesbian people is, "How should we minister to these people?"

Asking that question has two important parts. First, the church must recognize that these people are people. And second, the church has a responsibility to minister to them.

For just about a thousand years, the (collective) church has demonized gay people. The tradition of condemning gay people started during the dark ages. While many people believe that that condemnation is based in original scripture, an honest study of history shows plainly that it is not.

So, please, everyone, do two things. First, recognize that God makes some people gay. We don't know why, but He does, and they are still people. Second, ask yourself, "How should we minister to these people?"

@Steve: "The tradition of condemning gay people started during the dark ages." Interesting thesis. Care to provide evidence for it?

The actual historical proof is overwhelming, filling many volumes.

Probably the clearest accessible presentation is, (John Boswell, 1980, "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century", The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-06711-4).

John Boswell was a professor of history at Yale. His 1980 volume has enormous amounts of footnote, and hundreds of cites to the original sources and materials, with images of many of them. There really is no doubt that Christian condemnation of homosexuals did not start until less than 1000 years ago.

@Steve: Thank you. I appreciate it. And I will try find that volume.

Laurel and Hardy, two great social theorists of the early 20th century, wade in on the issue of gay marriage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-grBY87rrE0

That Boswell volume is available at Amazon.

While you are ordering it, you might also want to pick up a second volume, also by Boswell.
(John Boswell, 1994, "Same-sex unions in premodern Europe", Vintage Books, ISBN 0-679-75164-5)

In this volume, Boswell presents historical findings concerning religious ceremonies celebrating same-sex marriages. The original documents are cited with extensive footnotes. Appendices present English translations of a number of such ceremonies.

@Steve: Again, thanks.

At this very late date, people opposed to full citizen equality are simply bigots, and they know it...thus their disgusting addiction to the racist-like, very familiar "Massive Resistance" tactics of my youth, right down to the known to be dubious chapter and verse attempts to legitimize making "the other" legally invisible and exploitable again.

Organizations like the FRC are the white citizens councils of the the 21st Century. Their listing on the SPLC's "Hate Group List" was overdue, amply documented and quite justifiable. Don't believe me? Go read the Citizen's Council newsletters of the Fifties, as I have. Only the name of the name of "the other" has changed.

Sure "homosexuality" and "race" are different...different social constructs. But if the religious right is treating the former like it had once treated the latter...just who is hijacking the Civil Rights Movement?

By the way, the non-violent Civil Rights movement often depended upon the teachings, organizational and tactical skills of an "out" Gay Quaker friend of Dr. King, Bayard Rustin. Rustin would have been 99 last Thursday.

You swim like a duck, quack like a duck...it doesn't matter if you call yourself an Evangelical...you know what you really are.

Steve, thanks for recommending those volumes to read. @Dave, thanks for a thoughtful explanation of the differences of understanding that are out there on this topic, and that also exist on this message board. @Barbara, I just wanted to make one addition to your post, when you said "all of you Christians can go with what you think is politically correct, I will follow God's word." I think you meant to add, "...except for the part about not being judgmental. That part I will not follow." Can you see how troubling it is for a Christian like me who may disagree with you on an issue or two to read your words, where you are basically implying that I am not a true follower of God? Or is that not what you are implying.

@Josh,
Please do not blame @Barbara and others for being misinformed. They were taught by their preachers and parents, who were taught by their own preachers and parents. Their belief that gay people are inherently evil, and that the Bible condemns gay people, is sincere. Mistaken, but sincere.

The basis for their erroneous belief is the same as the belief by most white people in Alabama fifty years ago, that all black people were both evil and inferior. Whatever you are taught by your parents when you are a child, becomes very strong belief, even if it is plainly wrong. The teachings that black people were evil and inferior, were created to justify slavery, and were also based on a few poorly-translated Bible texts. The children who were taught that belief, had no reason to doubt it.

I think it is important to close with a restatement of my original point:
The important question that every priest and minister must ask about gay and lesbian people is, "How should we minister to these people?"

"Their belief that gay people are inherently evil, and that the Bible condemns gay people, is sincere. Mistaken, but sincere."
Oh brother, here we go again, bash the Christian, call the Christian names, question the Christian's love and compassion - whatever happened to the Golden Rule some of you like to use when it comes to your beliefs? Whats the matter, you can't discuss ideas without making it personal? Not once did Barbara call you names or cast aspersion on your character - she talked about ideas. And you want to accuse her of judging? You point your finger at her and you've got three fingers pointing back at yourselves.
The Bible says and the Christian believes we are all inherently evil - not just gays:
Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Rom. 3:23 ...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...
And that we will all be judged by God for our sin.
Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.
But God loves us even though we are sinful:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Christ paid the penalty for our sins:
Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
But we must receive His forgiveness:
John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

And if you really think the so-called fight for gay rights is anything like the Civil Rights Movement you diminish the suffering of all African Americans who actually put their lives on the line some of whom actually died. Shame on you. You know I haven't heard of one Southern Baptist going to a gay church and protesting (altho I have heard of gays going to a SB church and protesting them!) or bombing it, or any Assembly of God mob go out and lynch a gay person. The gay rights movement is a bunch of whiney little name-calling girls stomping their feet b/c they can't marry each other - please. And fyi,the Bible never did support the discrimination of any race - Gal. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [notice the text does not say "gay or straight"] But there is dang good reason to believe from the Bible that homosexual practice is sinful - just like heterosexual sex outside of marriage is sinful. Jesus said this: Matt. 19:4-6 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” God didn't create Adam and Steve - He created Adam and Eve. And He had plenty of opportunities to clarify Himself. But God didn't.
The only other option for those who do not marry is celibacy. (vs. 11-12) God never made allowance for gay marriage - that will be society's decision through legislation. Just be patient - if a society can find it constitutional to condemn 50+ million babies to death for any reason at all, then that society has no reason to deny you your whim.

I am fairly familiar with all the Bible texts used to argue that God disapproves of loving same-sex unions. But not one of them really says what some Christians seem to claim it says.
Yes, God created male and female, as Jesus affirms. And this is clearly the family norm throughout most societies. But it is not normative. It does not invalidate other variations. Jesus never condemned the other marriage arrangemnets practised then and since, and being advocated now.
Are multiple partners condemned in Scripture? No, except for elders of the church. Are single parent families - through death of a spouse, divorce, or choice - condemned by God because they are not one man and one woman?
Does gender of my spouse matter? Well, not really, after the New Covenant announced that there is neither male nor female - in other words, gender distinctions are no longer valid for moral judgments.
God seems very happy with a wide variety of colours, races, languages, expressions of faith. And He seems happy with a wide variety of living arrangements too.
But if there is a passage which condemns same sex unions, I am open to further discussion.

"But if there is a passage which condemns same sex unions, I am open to further discussion."
Are the 10 commandments no longer an expression of God's moral nature? Let me ask you this: Are the "family" arrangements listed in Leviticus 18:6-20 okay for today's enlightened society? I'm thinking - not. Would you be fine with those arrangements? Probably not - but, hey, I'm just guessing here. Any normal person after reading Lev. 18:6-20 would say those are some pretty disgusting deviants who do that kind of stuff. Welcome to the disgusting cultures of the ancient civilizations. (So do you think maybe God knew what He was doing when He inspired Moses to write Lev. 18?) Do people do those things today? Uhh - yeah. Probably. Do we ask society to legitimize, legalize, or normalize or even bless them? Of course not - up until vs. 18. [Then it all changes. Why?] And if you live next door to people like those described in Lev. 18:6-20, do you want your kids to play with their kids or be around the adults who act like that? No.In fact you probably will call Family Services if you know they are practicing some of those perversions. So why is Lev. 18:22 suddenly okay? Okay, let's assume God has changed His mind about Lev. 18:22, then maybe He has changed His mind about Lev. 18:6-20, 23? You may say as some do Lev. 18:22 is not talking about homosexual behavior, but friend it's real specific and clear - “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." You can't get much more clearer than that. And Moses didn't qualify it with, "Unless you are in a loving, consensual relationship." Or you can say it doesn't apply anymore,that we're not under the Law, but then you are forced by logic and reason to apply that standard to the rest of Lev. 18 (and to the rest of the Bible too: eg. the 10 commandments in Ex. 20 become what? The 10 suggestions?)And we know how God feels about those perversions in Lev. 18: "3.You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices." So I ask you again, has God changed His mind about those other behaviors listed there? I don't think so - but, hey, that's just me. You may think differently. But if you do, please don't share any details - it's TMI.

"Jesus never condemned the other marriage arrangemnets practised then and since, and being advocated now." Really! You're going to argue from silence? What kind of logic is that? Jesus didn't talk about beastiality either. Do you think he approves of that? Jesus didn't talk about alot of things. Are you going to assume that just b/c Jesus didn't talk specifically about a particular behavior you can engage in it?

"Does gender of my spouse matter? Well, not really, after the New Covenant announced that there is neither male nor female - in other words, gender distinctions are no longer valid for moral judgments."

Galatians 3:26-28 "...you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Notice Paul didn't include "neither gay nor straight")
And the point of the passage relates to being a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ - not marriage. Otherwise, you could marry your collie and God would be happy with that. (A guy in Australia actually did marry his dog.)

Thank you, Dan. I appreciate your response and the time you have taken.
Yes, I have read Leviticus and the other early books of law pretty thoroughly. But I cannot see how we can possibly form our moral code from these passages.
Deuteronomy 25:5-6 clearly instructs that if a young husband dies before he has had any children, then his widow must immediately have sex with one or more of her brothers-in-law. Do we teach this today?
Leviticus also teaches that a couple who have sex during the woman’s period must be excommunicated (20:18). There are many more commandments about sex we simply do not, cannot and should not apply today.
This doesn’t mean we cannot draw moral guidance from Scripture. It does not mean anything goes. But it does mean we cannot quote passages in the Old Testament as binding today. Fortunately there is much more guidance in the New Testament which gives us everything we need for our sexual moral guidance.
I agree overwhelmingly, totally and unreservedly with your attack on ‘pretty disgusting deviants who do that kind of stuff’. But can you see how these behaviours are the complete opposite of faithful, loving, life-long, committed relationships?
Scripture most certainly condemns abusive, destructive same-sex relationships, but not all same-sex unions. Just as Scripture condemns abusive heterosexual activity without outlawing all hetero unions.
Yes, I agree that Paul in Galatians was not directly addressing marriage. But would you accept that Jesus in Matthew was answering questions about divorce, not same-sex unions?
If there is any passage that condemns all same-sex unions, I am still open to reading it, and obeying it.
You may find this piece of interest, Dan. It is clearly satirical, but also contains quite a lot of Biblical wisdom: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11717

@Stacy: The Deut. passage is talking about social customs - the Leviticus passage is talking about perverted sexual behavior of which vs 22 is very specific and without qualification. And if vs. 22 isn't referring to gay sex, what then is it referring to? Pagan religious rituals? Then logically you would have to include vv. 6-20 as religious in nature - and that clearly isn't true.
The Matt. passage is addressing divorce but Jesus grounds His teaching of marriage in the truth of His word - He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female,5And said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united firmly (joined inseparably) to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?" Nothing here about loving consensual same sex relationships.

"...there is much more guidance in the New Testament which gives us everything we need for our sexual moral guidance." But where do you think the moral guidance comes from? Jesus didn't come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.

Matt 15: 18But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him].

19For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech.

20These are what make a man unclean and defile [him]; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean or defile [him].

Here Jesus gives us a principle regarding the Law. He puts the dietary law in its proper perspective, but He supports and elevates the moral law - note He does not say anywhere the moral law of God has changed. He didn't say, "Oh, by the way, I've checked with God and He now says same sex relationships are fine with Him." Nowhere in scripture do we find God allowing gay marriage from a scriptural perspective. How could He? He made man and woman to be married - not man and man or woman and woman. Now, what our culture allows is a different issue altogether. And if our courts strike down marriage as only btw a man and a woman, you will have the right to "marry" but it will not be a Biblical marriage as a Biblical marriage can only be btw a man and woman.

And the satirical piece. It's riddled with shoddy and irrational thinking, and I've already answered most of those points above. I wonder if the guy who wrote it is a trained translator? Somehow I think the biblical translators have come to different conclusions.
(Also, I prefer Three Stooges humor, myself.)

Just a couple of thoughts after reading the last few posts. First, I think those Christians who are supportive of same-gender relationships tend to place much more emphasis on context and, in doing so, find the scriptures usually quoted in opposition to homosexuality as just not being very relevant to the kinds of relationships being discussed here. The Lot story is in the context of attempted gang rape of strangers. The Levitical passages are in the context of Caananite ritualistic practices that included same-gender sex and child sacrifice. Pauline passages are generally in the context of Greek/Roman practices that included things like same-sex prostitution, pagan temple rites, and sexual relations between older men and their young male slaves. In Matthew 19, Christ is responding to a question about a man divorcing his wife, and so responds in that context. It's not clear that loving, committed, monogamous same-gender relationships were at all what the writers were referring to. Those that don't think the context matters will tend to generalize the above passages and so think that they apply to same-gender relationships in all forms. But again, many of us just don't find those passages very relevant to what we're talking about here, precisely because of the context ... either the context explicitly laid out in the text or the historical context behind the text.

Another way of looking at this is to start with Christ’s definitional statements about sin in Matthew 22. Jesus said that sin is the failure to love God, and the failure to love others with a selfless, self-sacrificing love. Greed, hate, murder, adultery, lust, pedophilia, bestiality, theft, etc. are all sin because they are all destructive attitudes/behaviors grounded in an unhealthy desire for self-gratification. But that is just not the case for the kinds of same-gender relationships we are talking about here. The relationships of the same-gender couples I know reflect Christ’s call to love God and selflessly love others as well as, if not better than, those of most straight couples I know. That doesn’t resolve all of issues related to sin, as there will still be debate about what is healthy, what is loving, what practices build people up emotionally and spiritually and what practices tear people down. But it is a general way to relate Christ’s teachings about sin to situations that didn’t even exist until recently, without starting with assumptions about context and relevancy and interpretation. And maybe it lessens the tendency for people to attack each other’s intelligence, honesty, and faithfulness to God and Scripture.

@Dan - just a couple quick observations about your comments on the Leviticus passage. First, the fact that the text is "without qualification" isn't really all that telling. Writings always contain a great deal of context that goes unspoken. That's something people particularly have to keep in mind when reading texts from a very different culture. Second, while the passage clearly is referring to gay sex, the key question has to do with how gay sex was practiced. And yes, my understanding is that gay sex was widely practiced as part of pagan rituals of the day. The fact that "gay sex" might have been understood as "that kind of gay sex conducted in pagan rituals" does not at all imply that the other prohibitions in the passage have anything to do with ritualistic practices. Logic doesn't require that connection at all.

@Dave: Hmmm. I wonder if your logic would work with, say the local policeman:
Officer: Mr. Dan, do you know why I pulled you over?
Mr. Dan: No, sir, I don't. Why did you?
Officer: Mr. Dan, you just ran through a red light. Did you know that?
Mr. D: Well, yes, I did see that red light. And I know that red lights generally mean stop. And I normally do stop at red lights, but I thought it would be okay to drive through the red light this time because there were no cars coming from any direction and no pedestrians were even close. You know it was safe to drive through, so there was no need to stop. And as you are aware, officer, stop lights are for controlling traffic. And since there was no traffic to control, there was no need for me to stop. It makes perfect sense. Don't you think?Officer: Uhhhh, come again.
Mr. D: Not only that, people are much safer drivers now than they were when the light was first put up oh so many years ago. And cars are much safer too. So that light is way out of date. It was put there, you know, when things were so much worse.
Officer: So you're saying you don't need to obey the stop light? Is that right, sir?
Mr. D: Well, I do obey the stop light - the original purpose of the stop light - the essense of the stop light - you know - the spirit of the stop light. So yes I do obey stop lights.
Officer (raising his voice): But you drove through the red light, sir!
Mr. D: But I understand the original purpose of the red light, and I know it was designed to control drivers who needed a law to control them. I don't need a law to tell me when it is safe to go through an intersection. If I can clearly see the intersection, I can judge if it is safe or not. I don't need the red light to tell me.
Officer: Sir, I don't think the law allows your interpretation. It's pretty plain -
Mr. D: But the context officer, you're not looking at the context. The context could mean -
Officer: Sir, I am looking at what the law says. And the law says a red light means stop. You ran a red light. Here's your ticket. You must appear in court on this date to pay your ticket.
Mr. D: Harumph! I'm sure the judge will agree with me. After all even though the law doesn't say I can go through a red light when it's safe, I'm sure the judge will see it my way. He will pay attention to the context. Let's see when am I suppose to appear in court? Here it is. Oh, dang. I've got a scheduling conflict on that date. I'm sure the judge won't mind if I just appear in court when it's convenient for me. After all, he will understand my needs and make allowances. And by golly it doesn't specifically say on the ticket I can't use a scheduling conflict on this specific date to choose another day. What's this fine print down here? Hmmm. I wonder what it means when it says here: failure to appear on the date listed will result in a warrant for my arrest? Oh, that is probably language from years ago when people needed a law to make sure they will do the right thing. So that fine print probably doesn't mean anything at all.

Dan, it is still not clear why you do not practice bereaved widows having sex with their brothers-in-law. This is a clear commandment in Scripture. It allows no exceptions. It even prescribes what must happen to any brother-in-law who does not want to take her as another wife.
Do you also support the practice of excommunicating couples who have had sex during the woman’s period? If not, why not.
If you can share your responses to these, it will be easier to know how to respond to your other assertions.
Thanks, Dan.

Oh spare me your tears. Tell that to the ghosts of 'out' Gay man, Bayard Rustin (who would have been 99 last week), his friend, fellow civil rights activist and his student of non-violence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Corretta Scott King, not me. Rustin made the cover of Life for his organization of the March on Washington. Where were conservative Evangelicals?

CT itself archly dismissed the few (CT's characterization) Evangelicals who marched with King on the Selma to Montgomery marches. I still have the shameful, duplicitous, long editorial in my briefcase. Wrote about it last month on my website open only to friends and family. The editorial was published in the Oct. 8, 1965 issue.

CT's first executive editor and co-founder, Dr. L. Nelson Bell, an advocate of "voluntary segregation," himself quoted Acts to justify race segregation in a Life Magazine article. An Oct. 1956 issue, if memory serves.

I have studied CT's history off and on over the years, and have even published an editorial on CT's history with civil rights in the New York Amsterdam News about fifteen years or so ago.

CT was against racism...but as Bell himself wrote in a letter to a racist woman, was for "voluntary segregation." CT's first major issue on Civil Rights gave equal time to segregationists...something it has yet to do for Gay people. Gay people have nothing to say that CT need respect...just as it did with Black people back in it's early years.

CT's anti-racism was...condescending racism.

Just as one of CT's passive/aggressive tactics against the Civil Rights movement was to use mostly Southern "whites" to report and comment on the movement in the Sixties (I have those issues available) who inevitably and arrogantly told Black people what they should do; CT is doing the very same tactic again against the GLBT community.

People who, even if they're somewhat sympathetic to the drive for redress of their grievances, as some CT writers were, nevertheless had no CT dialogue with Black people... and that sort of race segregation was obviously a deliberate editorial decision.

Gay people are apparently incapable of writing in CT about themselves, just as Black people were apparently incapable of writing on their own quest for full citizen equality. Both instances are deliberate forms of segregation to prop up conservative Evangelical privilege.

If "homosexuality" is a different social construct from "race," which it is, you would be hard pressed to tell that from the actions of the religious right.

To say that the Bible doesn't support race segregation is right, but...CT's own co-founder and executive editor, Dr. L. Nelson Bell, would have disagreed with you and me.

Racists, from America's earliest defenders of race slavery to the present, had/have near endless "proof texts" and clobber verses...limited only by their vivid, greedy imaginations.

The "proof texts" against "homosexuals" are from the very same tainted well. The Bible doesn't condemn "homosexuality" anymore than it condemned "race mixing." Only traditions condemned both, and traditions are not proof texts for oppression.

"This is a clear commandment in Scripture. It allows no exceptions."
Stacy, may I direct your close attention to the NT epistle by Paul to the Galatians. A close study of that short epistle should help straighten out your confusions. Pay particular attention to chapters 3 and 4, they are the doctrinal chapters. Also, read closely Acts 15 - the decision of the council at Jerusalem.
Btw: do you think God approves of sex outside of marriage for heterosexuals? Why or why not?
Do you believe the Bible is God's inspired, inerrant and infallible word to mankind?

Well, at least we know GP believes in moral absolutes.

Thanks for this reply, Dan. Yes, have just now re-read Galatians, in its entirety. Very profound theology. And also Acts 15.
Yes, God certainly approves of sex outside marriage for heterosexuals in certain situations. The greatest heroes of the Old Testament – Solomon and David – had many relationships outside marriage. In David’s case, including an intimate same-sex relationship. God has shown no disapproval of any of these.
But perhaps we need to clarify our definition of ‘marriage’ – which did not mean the same in Biblical times, or in the first five centuries since Christ’s death, as it does today.
Yes, I most certainly believe the Bible is God's inspired word to mankind. Inerrant and infallible? This depends entirely on what we mean by those words. And it depends whether we are reading the history, poetry, mythology, prophetic scrolls, doctrinal teachings or Paul's personal reflections.
But I have a high view of Biblical authority, yes.
Hope this is helpful, Dan.
Now looking forward to your answers. Thanks heaps.

@Dan - deciding whether the police officer was right to ticket the driver involves a number of things you don't explicitly mention in your story. Was the red light flashing? Did the driver stop before proceeding? Was the cross street a one-way street? Did the driver turn right, turn left, or go straight? If it was a right turn, was it in NYC (where right-in-red is generally not allowed)? If it was left, was it in a state where left-on-red turns onto one-way streets are allowed?

The point is that context matters, and there is a lot of relevant context missing from your story. Or at least there is a lot of contextual information that is assumed by you because you are familiar with the context you have in mind. You also have the luxury to go back and revise the story to include as much context as you want.

The biggest problem with your analogy is that you place the driver right in the middle of world of the officer and his laws. The driver and officer speak the same language. The driver is either familiar with the context, or has chosen not to be. It is an entirely different situation when one is trying to understand the meaning of laws from a society thousands of years removed from our own, written in archaic forms of Hebrew and Greek.

The Galatians and Acts passages you mention say a lot about the general role of Old Testament law in the church. I'm not sure they provide much insight into how to develop the level of understanding needed to properly draw guidance from them.

@Dave: YOu may infer from the PO PO's statement what the situation involved. Apparently, you did not read it closely.

@Dan - I read it again, and nope ... I really didn't miss anything. There's nothing there about the streets, or how the driver turned, or whether the local laws really matched the PO's characterization, or whether the light was blinking. It's not even clear what the driver did ... did he drive through without stopping, did he stop and then proceed, or did he commit a rolling stop? All could qualify as a failure to stop and running the light depending on the context. Or not, depending.

You are right that one can reasonably infer from your story what happened. But it is still an inference, and is not quite as perfectly clear as you think it is. If you take those small ambiguities and magnify them by the kinds of shifts in languages and cultural understandings that occur over thousands of years of history, and you really can have texts where the apparent, literal meaning for people now is very different from their original meaning for the people that first heard them.

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (NKJ, Leviticus 18:22)

If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (NKJ, Leviticus 20:13)

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (NIV, Romans 1:25-27)

Some very lofty and intellectual arguments appearing here. Sometimes when the color of detail fades to grey, it is best to exercise common sense. Can anyone here, after carefully examining God's word on the subject of homosexuality, actually believe that He condones same sex marriage? Have we gotten that bad as a culture? Our clergy have the responsibility to minister to these souls same-same everyone else. No-one is without sin and we lack the right to judge anyone. But, is it possilbe that we are actually arguing this issue on a Biblical basis. Let's start by loving all. Let's start by not deluding ourselves.

@Neil -- the verses you quote have already been raised before. Some people have argued that they apply to all same-gender relationships, while others argued that, taken in context, they don't relate to same-gender couples in faithful, loving, committed relationships. Simply repeating the verses again doesn't do anything to move the discussion along. And arguing that your scriptural interpretation is right because those that disagree are lacking in common sense and are deluded doesn't help either. It is little more than an I'm-right/you're-wrong argument.

To answer your other questions, after carefully examining the scriptures on the issue of homosexuality, yes, there are a great many Christians that believe that God condones same-sex marriage between two people who intend to live out their lives together in a loving, healthy, committed, monogamous relationship built on the same kinds of deep emotional/spiritual bonds that characterize all marriages.

Hello Neil,
Not sure who is mounting lofty arguments here. But we are certainly considering seriously the Scriptural passages you have highlighted.
I trust we are endeavouring to do so without judgement, with love and with an awareness of our sinfulness, as you rightly remind us.
Every generation, it seems, must reassess its understanding and interpretation of the Bible in the light of God-given scientific knowledge, the wisdom of our pastors and teachers and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The list of strongly-held positions based on the clear teaching of Scripture which through history have been abandoned as a result of these influences is now quite long. For example, the Bible teaches that the sun rises and sets. For this simple straightforward Scriptural truth many early astronomers were shamefully treated by Bible-believing Christians. There are many similar examples – about one for every generation.
We now know from findings in the fields of genetics and human behaviour that same-sex orientation is natural, healthy, not reversible in most cases and not contagious. We know from the experience of gay men and women in effective Christian ministry that God does indeed bless same-sex unions. And we are now learning from Biblical scholars that Scripture condemns abusive – but not all – homosexual liaisons.
The passage you quote in Romans is fairly clear. Paul is talking about those who “exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones”. He is talking about straight men and women who engage in homosexual perversions and same-sex oriented people engaging in heterosexual sex for thrills. He is not referring to faithful, life-long, monogamous, committed unions – either same-sex or opposite-sex.
The other Bible passages often quoted on this subject condemn same-sex pagan ritual sex acts, rape, prostitution and other abusive behaviour. But nowhere is there any condemnation of all same sex relationships.

You really are grasping at straws. It is an erroneous assumption that the Bible is teaching that that the sun itself is moving to make the sun set and the sun itself rise. Everyone that I know, still enjoys watching a beautiful "sunset". That is how it APPEARS to us, just as it appeared to the people in ancient days. The Bible was not being used in science 101. Do you *really* say, "oh, look at how the earth is revolving, the sun appears beautiful". No, we say, "look at the beautiful sunset". The Bible is still being used today for it's accuracy in history and archeology, by many people who are not yet believers. But the accuracy of it's archeology and history are right-on and the Bible IS used like a textbook for them. Boy, I know that will irritate a lot of liberals, but I have heard countless scientists interviewed who refer to the Bible about their scientific work. That, along with the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, make this book unlike any other book in the world. Jesus fulfilled over 100 prophecies when He came the first time to be our Savior. Many prophecies are being fulfilled in our lifetime, regarding countries and cities. It's rather funny that Jerusalem remains the main city, and Israel the main country, that are often in the center of the news, thousands of years after they were written about in this Holy Book. The odds of one person fulfilling all of those prophecies is astronomical and would be impossible unless He were indeed God.