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My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
The author backs same-sex marriage because of his faith, not in spite of it.
May 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.

During their time together, Peter is often naïve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.

After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.

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Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).

His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.

My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality

It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.

Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.

The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.

Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!

I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.

The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.

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At the bottom of the creek, in exactly that spot, is a floor of smooth pebbles. The water rushing by has rubbed off the rough edges, bit by bit, day by day. The pebbles have been transformed by that water into something new.

I suppose that, as Peter put it, someone could try to withhold the waters of baptism there. They could try to stop the river, to keep the water from some of the stones, like a child in the gutter building a barrier against the stream.

It won’t last, though. I would say this to those who would withhold the water of baptism, the joy of worship, or the bonds of marriage: You are less strong than the water, which will flow around you, find its path, and gently erode each wall you try to erect.

The redeeming power of that creek, and of the Holy Spirit, is relentless, making us all into something better and new.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (15,115 Responses)
  1. Don

    The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever." All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others; whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships

    Biblical Interpretation and Theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!

    Genesis 19:1-25

    Some "televangelists" carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of "homosexuality." Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at Scripture corrects such ignorance. Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham's nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that "all the people from every quarter" surround Lot's house demanding the release of his visitors so "we might know them." The Hebrew word for "know" in this case, yadha, usually means "have thorough knowledge of." It could also express intent to examine the visitors' credentials, or on rare occasions the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author's intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape. Several observations are important.

    First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom's people participated in the assault on Lot's house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot's offer to release his daughters suggests he knew his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?

    Romans 1:24-27

    Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where, in the context of a larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the "uncleanness" of idolatrous Gentiles.

    This raises the question: Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul's readers? The book of Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul's letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.

    The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.

    What is "Natural"?

    Significant to Paul's discussion is the fact that these "unclean" Gentiles exchanged that which was "natural" for them, physin, in the Greek text, for something "unnatural," para physin. In Romans 11:24, God acts in an "unnatural" way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. "Unnatural" in these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is "unnatural," para physin, for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle.

    I Corinthians 6:9

    Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

    The first word – malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

    The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain. Scripture Study Conclusion…No Law Against Love

    The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: ".,..the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

    November 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  2. John

    "but remember there is no justification for gay marriage"

    Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

    Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

    There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

    Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

    Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

    Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

    That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  3. Bob

    Since yeah has decided to spam the board I decided to repost this and will do it many times more so enjoy but remember there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. While we have been to hell and back on this issue the truth comes down to this the author of this article is sorely mislead and trips on the fantasies of his own mind, he must have been a flower child. The truth is that there is NO support for gays in the Bible except to say they are welcome to receive Jesus as Lord of their lives. Any continuation on the H0m0 lifestyle is strictly forbidden and carries penalties with it. Gays should be supported and welcomed in churches like everyone else but they are not to be in ministry just as anyone else who is in sin. Jesus does provide a way out of this lifestyle and will heal the hurts that allowed a person to enter in to it in the first place. I actually think that is a failing of the church to throw out the ones that are having a hard time conforming rather than showing the true love of Jesus to them. The atheists here don't know the Bible and I seriously doubt have any gay friends much less real friends so they speak not from any caring point but to take The Bible out of society. That is there motive and plans the gay rights issue is a mere stepping stone to a God less society for them. May they either receive the truth of the Bible or pay justly for their deeds which are well known.Two large studies asked h0m0 respondents to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors – how they "got that way." The first of these studies was conducted by Kinsey in the 1940s and involved 1700 h0m0. The second, in 1970, involved 979 h0m0. Both were conducted prior to the period when the "gay rights" movement started to politicize the issue of h0m0 origins. Both reported essentially the same findings: H0m0 overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences.
    In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero in the same study said that their preferences and behavior were learned.bDr. Stanton L. Jones, professor of psyc at Wheaton states that there is a “mixed scorecard” among professionals on this. He writes: “I would not regard gays to be in the same sense as schizophrenia or phobic disorders. But neither can it be viewed as a normal. But it is clear that the APA’s 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that gay is a “normal” condition.You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness.You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness.Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity. You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor's wife, to be defiled with her.You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Yup Im sure this last sentence has nothing to do with gays or same gender relationship gays are just Platonic aren't they????

    November 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "n a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero "

      All of this is lies and have been proven bogus by hundred of thousands of experts in this country. Which is why they issued this statement.

      Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      November 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Again, you and the other ignorant, fundiot, hômophobic, nutters spin your bible to mean what you want it to mean in order to justify your hatred and bigotry. Which is fine. All Christians spin the bible to make it say what they want it to say.

      But all that matters not. Because we are not a theocracy. Your god, like the 10,000 other gods we invented over the past 200,000 years has no standing in our laws.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  4. YeahRight

    "They are trying to make it a civil rights issue and its not. Marriage has rules and definitions that is one man one woman thats it. "

    No, it's not since the hundred of thousands of experts in this country have proven you wrong and your ego can't handle it. Which is why you continue to post from well known hate groups and bogus reports that have been proven false over and over again.

    Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

    Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  5. YeahRight

    "Wednesday to oppose any attempt by gay rights activists to frame same marriage as a civil rights issue."

    What a bunch of homophobic bigots. The U S Supreme court is the one that ruled marriage was a civil right. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

    The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

    A federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  6. Bob

    The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in US, went on record Wednesday to oppose any attempt by gay rights activists to frame same marriage as a civil rights issue.They overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that denounces "the effort to legalize 'same marriage' as a civil rights issue since h0m0 does not qualify as a class meriting special protections, like race and gender. This was a direct response to presi personal affirmation of gay marriage and recent lawsuits against the Defense of Marriage Act. This was a specific statement regarding the use of rhetoric that we find to be a misappropriation.They are families but not dna line they are people who for what ever reason agreed to take care of kids. They are a new family not a regular family and not dna line. Ask any man or woman that has married into a family with kids and ask who's kid are you and they will tell you the answer as the spouse that has dna ties. Can they get along of course can they do things families do of course but its not dna. While I have known many families that have divorced then a new partner shows up as a parent by marriage and even being with the kids for along time they will never go with the one that is not the dna parent and usually the person that is in the family by marriage is usually gone for good. Maybe not in memory but certainly with any rights or even in the children's mind. So gays cannot copulate with the purpose of having children so there is a major redefinition that the atheists and gays are trying to push as marrage which its not under the definitions we currently adhere to. They are trying to make it a civil rights issue and its not. Marriage has rules and definitions that is one man one woman thats it. Sont be fooled into thinking this is not the issue. They want to redefine marrage and call it anything they wish. Its not the way marrage has been or shouold be. If God has formed this great country and has given us our rights then no man should be allowed to take those rights away. The Bible says marrage is between a man and woman and same marrage is a abomination. If these rights are bestowed on us by the gov then they can take away those rights. If indeed it is God that has established these rights that we see in the Bill of Rights and the Con-sti-tu-tion then we are obligated to follow His lead for the rules of His people. Its Gods laws and way that established these States so we should want to follow all He says is correct to do to allow His blessings in this country. As the NAACP is a hate organization to the ways of the US and has no power it has no bearing on this at all.The basis for marraige is one man one woman that has been the way and should stay that way.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "As the NAACP is a hate organization "

      More lies from Bob continuing to prove this poster is not a christian but a homophobic troll. LOL!

      November 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • John

      "The Bible says marrage is between a man and woman"

      Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

      Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

      There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

      Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

      Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

      Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

      That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Brent

    "The basis for marraige is one man one woman that has been the way and should stay that way."

    The term “traditional marriage” is a term employed by anti-gay religious groups and individuals to promote bigotry, prejudice, hostility and discrimination toward gay and lesbian citizens.

    The term is used to justify a social injustice both in terms of denying gay and lesbian individuals equal treatment guaranteed by our Constitution and also denying them human dignity. The use of the term is an action that promotes constitutional unfairness and human indignity and therefore one which is morally wrong.

    If a person of faith agrees that a practice that promotes looking upon a segment of society as inferior, unworthy and undeserving of that which we find as good in our lives, the use of the term “traditional marriage” therefore also must be sinful.

    Regardless of their particular faith, the person would be hard-pressed to say that love, compassion and wanting what is best in our lives for others around us are not the core principles of most religions. When a person of faith stands opposed to those principles, their attitude and actions stand opposed to the principles which they strive to uphold in the everyday interactions with those around them.

    There is also deceit involved in the use of the term “traditional marriage” because those who employ the term attempt to perpetrate an untruth and ulterior motives of hostility and prejudice.

    The untruth comes when “traditional marriage” is offered up as a term that defines a religious concept of a God-blessed union of a young man and woman who fall in love, get married with no prior sexual experience, have children and remain together into old age. They are implying that this is how God ordains marriage.

    If it is, it took him until just 50 years ago to arrive at that conclusion.

    The tradition of marriage in Old Testament times meant the man and his wife could have the same father.

    In the Bible, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children so Sarah put forth her slave Hagar for Abraham to have children by.

    In Old Testament times, it was normal, sometimes even required for a man to take multiple wives. A man having multiple wives was accepted by the church as late as the 5th Century, 500 years after the teachings set forth in the New Testament. The church for a very long time apparently did not interpret biblical teaching as an edict for one-man, one-woman marriage.

    The tradition of marital unions in the 1700s and 1800s in America doesn’t seem to measure up to God-ordained – especially from the female perspective.

    One third of brides were pregnant at the altar in Concord, Massachusetts during the 20 years prior to the American Revolution.

    In this quote from a wedding couple in 1855, we see that the church had no problem blessing a legal marriage that was considered by many – including this couple – as a violation of the woman’s dignity and civil rights:

    “We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power…”

    So we can look back and see that religious teachings which uphold the ideals of love, dignity, compassion and respect for each person within marital unions throughout history has taken a back seat.

    In other words, the definition of a God-ordained tradition of marriage has never been constant rather it has evolved.

    History shows us it’s the marital union that should be uplifted…not the evolving traditions of a social institution. In other words, it’s not about how we come together but why.

    Rev. Mark Gallagher, a Unitarian minister, in 2004 asked “what about a marriage could have that quality of spiritual beauty? What makes for sacredness in a marriage?” He names four things.

    “First and foremost, mutual love. A feeling of heightened affection, respect, concern, and appreciation between marital partners. It gives a certain sparkle to the time spent together, and potentially to the entire experience of life. The presence of love makes a marriage sacred.

    “Fidelity contributes to the sacredness of a marriage. Commitments fulfilled. Coming through. Hanging in. Placing the integrity of the relationship over personal preference and convenience. It builds a powerful trust. Fidelity makes a marriage sacred.

    “Intimacy brings sacredness in a marriage. When two people reveal themselves to one another over time, they cannot help but gain acquaintance with the deep regions of the human experience. They get to know one another, of course. But more importantly, they get to know themselves.

    Through relating intimately over time, deeper honesty and authenticity become possible. This is the spiritual journey to know and be known, behind the public charade, however subtle or crude that may be.

    “And forgiveness generates sacredness in a marriage. We all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Our spiritual liberation requires that we become masters of forgiveness letting go of resentment for slights and injuries. The prolonged togetherness of marriage will present myriad opportunities for the practice of forgiveness. When forgiveness flows freely, there is a palpable quality of gentleness and compassion.”

    Does the heterosexual couple uniting in marriage today lift up the union as characterized by love, fidelity, intimacy and forgiveness. We expect they do and we suspect those characteristics as Gallagher concluded in his sermon are what exude sacredness.

    We also know that gay and lesbian couples uphold those same characteristics for their unions. Why would they not? Why would a parent of a gay son or daughter not want their child to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics? Why would a brother or sister with a gay sibling not want their brother or sister to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics?

    Why would a person of faith not want the gay or lesbian individual to enjoy the happiness derived from the pursuit of marriage sanctity?

    Why would we as Americans not want our government and its laws to recognize that same marriage sanctity for gay and lesbian individuals in their pursuit of liberty and happiness?

    There can be only one reason and that is because many of us have been conditioned by years of misguided church teaching to look upon gay and lesbian individuals as morally inferior, unworthy and therefore undeserving of that which we uphold as good and sanctified in our lives.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  8. YeahRight

    "Never understanding the consequences of our decisions"

    That's why there has been decades of research on this subject, proving prejudice bigots like you wrong. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

    Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  9. Bob

    They are families but not dna line they are people who for what ever reason agreed to take care of kids. They are a new family not a regular family and not dna line. Ask any man or woman that has married into a family with kids and ask who's kid are you and they will tell you the answer as the spouse that has dna ties. Can they get along of course can they do things families do of course but its not dna. While I have known many families that have divorced then a new partner shows up as a parent by marriage and even being with the kids for along time they will never go with the one that is not the dna parent and usually the person that is in the family by marriage is usually gone for good. Maybe not in memory but certainly with any rights or even in the children's mind. So gays cannot copulate with the purpose of having children so there is a major redefinition that the atheists and gays are trying to push as marrage which its not under the definitions we currently adhere to. They are trying to make it a civil rights issue and its not. Marriage has rules and definitions that is one man one woman thats it. Sont be fooled into thinking this is not the issue. They want to redefine marrage and call it anything they wish. Its not the way marrage has been or shouold be. If God has formed this great country and has given us our rights then no man should be allowed to take those rights away. The Bible says marrage is between a man and woman and same marrage is a abomination. If these rights are bestowed on us by the gov then they can take away those rights. If indeed it is God that has established these rights that we see in the Bill of Rights and the Con-sti-tu-tion then we are obligated to follow His lead for the rules of His people. Its Gods laws and way that established these States so we should want to follow all He says is correct to do to allow His blessings in this country. As the NAACP is a hate organization to the ways of the US and has no power it has no bearing on this at all.The basis for marraige is one man one woman that has been the way and should stay that way.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • John

      "The Bible says marrage is between a man and woman "

      Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

      Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

      There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

      Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

      Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

      Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

      That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Robert

      "So gays cannot copulate with the purpose of having children "

      A series of studies recently published in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2012 found higher levels of homophobia in individuals with unacknowledged attractions to the same sex, particularly when they grew up with authoritarian parents who also held homophobic attitudes. In the university press release "Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves." In the same release "In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward."

      November 27, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  10. Bob

    Yup everything is normal till its not, just like Elmo!! or just like the 10 guys arrested at the bathroom. How long has this been going on in this persons life? On the outward he seems ok. So we push for things on the outward appearance. Never understanding the consequences of our decisions. It must be terrible for people like tom who look at words and listen to the words so carefully but never have the depth and vision to see the truth, to see the real person behind the words. To see the reality behind the ideal, that is what makes a visionary just like the founders of this country that we have strayed from. But with these proclaiming new ways and new days hide in the cracks when the cost of that decision must be paid. Either in ruined lives or in destruction of the fabric of society but where are they to bear the consequences of their decisions? If this guy was in a study he would look normal but what is the truth behind the study? To hide so intently rather than reveal the magnitude of his perversion it cost him 135k. How many others are so bent at hiding the truth till the avalanche of conviction can no longer be swept away by money or hiding.like yeah

    November 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Brent

      " Never understanding the consequences of our decisions."

      Many times, when people of faith are challenged about their anti-gay views, they cite biblical verses or other religious texts as a safe haven when they are unable to articulate why they hold prejudiced attitudes toward LGBT people. Instead of telling people that their interpretation is wrong, you can remind them that other religious texts have been used in the past to justify attitudes and laws that are recognized today as morally wrong and unjust – such as discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities.

      History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Huebert

      How is allowing gay marriage going to destroy the fabric of our society?

      November 27, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  11. Brent

    "That is there motive and plans the gay rights issue is a mere stepping stone to a God less society"

    Religion-based bigotry use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

    Connecting the dots between historical bigotry against other groups and the attitudes of some people today toward homosexuality is one of the most effective ways to educate people about the denial of equal rights to the LGBT community.

    Most people know that, historically, religion has been used to justify discrimination against women, religious minorities and people of color. Putting anti-gay religious beliefs in this historical context can be a powerful tool in connecting discrimination that most Americans today accept as morally wrong and the discrimination faced by LGBT people. By citing historical instances of religion-based bigotry and prejudice, you allow people to be more comfortable with attitudinal change – they realize they are not stepping out alone against a commonly accepted viewpoint but rather following historical progress toward justice and equality.

    When talking about the misuse of religion to justify discrimination in the past, it is important not to say that the LGBT community’s struggle with discrimination is exactly the same as the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, the point is that religion-based bigotry has been a common denominator of injustice toward many groups in American society’s past. When given a chance, many people will see the underlying historical pattern of using religious teachings and beliefs to justify harmful discrimination.

    There is another benefit to citing other times in the past when religious teachings have been used to justify discrimination. Many times, when people of faith are challenged about their anti-gay views, they cite biblical verses or other religious texts as a safe haven when they are unable to articulate why they hold prejudiced attitudes toward LGBT people. Instead of telling people that their interpretation is wrong, you can remind them that other religious texts have been used in the past to justify attitudes and laws that are recognized today as morally wrong and unjust – such as discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities.

    History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  12. Brent

    "remember there is no justification for gay marriage"

    The term “traditional marriage” is a term employed by anti-gay religious groups and individuals to promote bigotry, prejudice, hostility and discrimination toward gay and lesbian citizens.

    The term is used to justify a social injustice both in terms of denying gay and lesbian individuals equal treatment guaranteed by our Constitution and also denying them human dignity. The use of the term is an action that promotes constitutional unfairness and human indignity and therefore one which is morally wrong.

    If a person of faith agrees that a practice that promotes looking upon a segment of society as inferior, unworthy and undeserving of that which we find as good in our lives, the use of the term “traditional marriage” therefore also must be sinful.

    Regardless of their particular faith, the person would be hard-pressed to say that love, compassion and wanting what is best in our lives for others around us are not the core principles of most religions. When a person of faith stands opposed to those principles, their attitude and actions stand opposed to the principles which they strive to uphold in the everyday interactions with those around them.

    There is also deceit involved in the use of the term “traditional marriage” because those who employ the term attempt to perpetrate an untruth and ulterior motives of hostility and prejudice.

    The untruth comes when “traditional marriage” is offered up as a term that defines a religious concept of a God-blessed union of a young man and woman who fall in love, get married with no prior sexual experience, have children and remain together into old age. They are implying that this is how God ordains marriage.

    If it is, it took him until just 50 years ago to arrive at that conclusion.

    The tradition of marriage in Old Testament times meant the man and his wife could have the same father.

    In the Bible, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children so Sarah put forth her slave Hagar for Abraham to have children by.

    In Old Testament times, it was normal, sometimes even required for a man to take multiple wives. A man having multiple wives was accepted by the church as late as the 5th Century, 500 years after the teachings set forth in the New Testament. The church for a very long time apparently did not interpret biblical teaching as an edict for one-man, one-woman marriage.

    The tradition of marital unions in the 1700s and 1800s in America doesn’t seem to measure up to God-ordained – especially from the female perspective.

    One third of brides were pregnant at the altar in Concord, Massachusetts during the 20 years prior to the American Revolution.

    In this quote from a wedding couple in 1855, we see that the church had no problem blessing a legal marriage that was considered by many – including this couple – as a violation of the woman’s dignity and civil rights:

    “We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power…”

    So we can look back and see that religious teachings which uphold the ideals of love, dignity, compassion and respect for each person within marital unions throughout history has taken a back seat.

    In other words, the definition of a God-ordained tradition of marriage has never been constant rather it has evolved.

    History shows us it’s the marital union that should be uplifted…not the evolving traditions of a social institution. In other words, it’s not about how we come together but why.

    Rev. Mark Gallagher, a Unitarian minister, in 2004 asked “what about a marriage could have that quality of spiritual beauty? What makes for sacredness in a marriage?” He names four things.

    “First and foremost, mutual love. A feeling of heightened affection, respect, concern, and appreciation between marital partners. It gives a certain sparkle to the time spent together, and potentially to the entire experience of life. The presence of love makes a marriage sacred.

    “Fidelity contributes to the sacredness of a marriage. Commitments fulfilled. Coming through. Hanging in. Placing the integrity of the relationship over personal preference and convenience. It builds a powerful trust. Fidelity makes a marriage sacred.

    “Intimacy brings sacredness in a marriage. When two people reveal themselves to one another over time, they cannot help but gain acquaintance with the deep regions of the human experience. They get to know one another, of course. But more importantly, they get to know themselves.

    Through relating intimately over time, deeper honesty and authenticity become possible. This is the spiritual journey to know and be known, behind the public charade, however subtle or crude that may be.

    “And forgiveness generates sacredness in a marriage. We all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Our spiritual liberation requires that we become masters of forgiveness letting go of resentment for slights and injuries. The prolonged togetherness of marriage will present myriad opportunities for the practice of forgiveness. When forgiveness flows freely, there is a palpable quality of gentleness and compassion.”

    Does the heterosexual couple uniting in marriage today lift up the union as characterized by love, fidelity, intimacy and forgiveness. We expect they do and we suspect those characteristics as Gallagher concluded in his sermon are what exude sacredness.

    We also know that gay and lesbian couples uphold those same characteristics for their unions. Why would they not? Why would a parent of a gay son or daughter not want their child to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics? Why would a brother or sister with a gay sibling not want their brother or sister to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics?

    Why would a person of faith not want the gay or lesbian individual to enjoy the happiness derived from the pursuit of marriage sanctity?

    Why would we as Americans not want our government and its laws to recognize that same marriage sanctity for gay and lesbian individuals in their pursuit of liberty and happiness?

    There can be only one reason and that is because many of us have been conditioned by years of misguided church teaching to look upon gay and lesbian individuals as morally inferior, unworthy and therefore undeserving of that which we uphold as good and sanctified in our lives.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  13. Bob

    Since yeah has decided to spam the board I decided to repost this and will do it many times more so enjoy but remember there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. While we have been to hell and back on this issue the truth comes down to this the author of this article is sorely mislead and trips on the fantasies of his own mind, he must have been a flower child. The truth is that there is NO support for gays in the Bible except to say they are welcome to receive Jesus as Lord of their lives. Any continuation on the H0m0 lifestyle is strictly forbidden and carries penalties with it. Gays should be supported and welcomed in churches like everyone else but they are not to be in ministry just as anyone else who is in sin. Jesus does provide a way out of this lifestyle and will heal the hurts that allowed a person to enter in to it in the first place. I actually think that is a failing of the church to throw out the ones that are having a hard time conforming rather than showing the true love of Jesus to them. The atheists here don't know the Bible and I seriously doubt have any gay friends much less real friends so they speak not from any caring point but to take The Bible out of society. That is there motive and plans the gay rights issue is a mere stepping stone to a God less society for them. May they either receive the truth of the Bible or pay justly for their deeds which are well known.Two large studies asked h0m0 respondents to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors – how they "got that way." The first of these studies was conducted by Kinsey in the 1940s and involved 1700 h0m0. The second, in 1970, involved 979 h0m0. Both were conducted prior to the period when the "gay rights" movement started to politicize the issue of h0m0 origins. Both reported essentially the same findings: H0m0 overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences.
    In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero in the same study said that their preferences and behavior were learned

    November 27, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Melvin

      "The truth is that there is NO support for gays in the Bible"

      The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  14. 250 Ministers Proclamation

    "the H0m0 lifestyle is strictly forbidden "

    As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Bob

      Like words pointed out 250 gay pastors among thousands who say there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible who am I going to believe.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • John

      "no justification for gay marriage in the Bible "

      Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

      Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

      There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

      Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

      1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

      Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

      Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

      That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  15. Erik

    "Both reported essentially the same findings: H0m0 overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences."

    This is not true. Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  16. YeahRight

    " That's the truth not the bs you want to serve up along with spam bot Yeah"

    I have been stating what the hundred of thousands of experts are stating on this issues, it's based on decades of research and real facts. The experts have stated, heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

    Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  17. Bob

    While we have been to hell and back on this issue the truth comes down to this the author of this article is sorely mislead and trips on the fantasies of his own mind, he must have been a flower child. The truth is that there is NO support for gays in the Bible except to say they are welcome to receive Jesus as Lord of their lives. Any continuation on the H0m0 lifestyle is strictly forbidden and carries penalties with it. Gays should be supported and welcomed in churches like everyone else but they are not to be in ministry just as anyone else who is in sin. Jesus does provide a way out of this lifestyle and will heal the hurts that allowed a person to enter in to it in the first place. I actually think that is a failing of the church to throw out the ones that are having a hard time conforming rather than showing the true love of Jesus to them. The atheists here don't know the Bible and I seriously doubt have any gay friends much less real friends so they speak not from any caring point but to take The Bible out of society. That is there motive and plans the gay rights issue is a mere stepping stone to a God less society for them. May they either receive the truth of the Bible or pay justly for their deeds which are well known.Two large studies asked h0m0 respondents to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors – how they "got that way." The first of these studies was conducted by Kinsey in the 1940s and involved 1700 h0m0. The second, in 1970, involved 979 h0m0. Both were conducted prior to the period when the "gay rights" movement started to politicize the issue of h0m0 origins. Both reported essentially the same findings: H0m0 overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences.
    In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero in the same study said that their preferences and behavior were learned

    November 27, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • myweightinwords

      So basically, you're admitting that you think gays are "icky" based on ancient research, bad information and your own personal revulsion and no facts, modern science, or disproving of your "facts" is going to change your mind?

      November 27, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • James

      "The truth is that there is NO support for gays in the Bible"

      The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • YeahRight

      "In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research involving a random sample of 147 h0m0 35% said their desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 hetero in the same study said that their preferences and behavior were learned"

      Th FR group has been proven to be a well known hate group toward the gay community and all of their bogus research have been proven false by the hundred of thousands of experts in this country. Which is why they released this statement.

      Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      November 27, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Huebert

      I could not care less about what the bible has to say about hom0se.xuality. The bible is a book of religious rules. If you want to live by those rules go right ahead, but you have no right to force others to live by them.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  18. Bob

    bDr. Stanton L. Jones, professor of psyc at Wheaton states that there is a “mixed scorecard” among professionals on this. He writes: “I would not regard gays to be in the same sense as schizophrenia or phobic disorders. But neither can it be viewed as a normal. But it is clear that the APA’s 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that gay is a “normal” condition.You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness.You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness.Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity. You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor's wife, to be defiled with her.You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Yup Im sure this last sentence has nothing to do with gays or same gender relationship gays are just Platonic aren't they????

    November 27, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • myweightinwords

      One doctor, verses the entire medical profession...hmmm...guess which side I'm going to believe?

      And, as previously stated multiple times, your book has no bearing on US law. Period.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • YeahRight

      "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female"

      This is how prejudice and stupid this poster is Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests. If you're going to pick and choose scriptures out of Leviticus do you follow all of those rules in this section Bob? Probably not, so you're going to hell. LOL!

      November 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  19. Bob

    You are right tom they are families but not dna line they are people who for what ever reason agreed to take care of kids. They are a new family not a regular family and not dna line. Ask any man or woman that has married into a family with kids and ask who's kid are you and they will tell you the answer as the spouse that has dna ties. Can they get along of course can they do things families do of course but its not dna. While I have known many families that have divorced then a new partner shows up as a parent by marriage and even being with the kids for along time they will never go with the one that is not the dna parent and usually the person that is in the family by marriage is usually gone for good. Maybe not in memory but certainly with any rights or even in the children's mind. That's the truth not the bs you want to serve up along with spam bot Yeah

    November 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So what? So their DNA isn't the same. What of it? Who cares? Explain why it matters, Boob.

      Oh, wait. It doesn't. And you're such a dishonest little coward that you'll ignore the question, just as you always do.

      November 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  20. YeahRight

    "You are right tom they are families "

    For legal reasons to protect their families they need to have the same civil rights as straights through marriage. The experts have stated: like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

    Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

    A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

    Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.