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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. Bob

    You don't see any gays here posting things so this is really atheists that shouldn't be here. They don't care about the issue and yeah is I think a bit mentally challgened so don't take what you see to seriously from them they have no idea what they are talking about. Gay mindset is repulsive to God ,He created them man and woman. The command was go multiply and populate the earth. He created Eve out of Adams rib to be a help mate and said they shall become one flesh. There are so many commands of God that the gay relationship doesn't fulfill. It also doesn't fulfill any of the spiritual requirements for a relationship and is contrary to How God set things up to be.

    December 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • mama k

      LOL – first-time readers of this thread need to learn about Bob. He is a bigot extraordinaire. Take the time to skim down through these pages to read what this idiot spews, regardless of subject. When I brought up the importance of the Constitution, Bob challenged with the Mayflower Compact as if that were more important to us today. And the list goes on. Regardless, the fact that there are many Christian churches that are fully accepting of gay couples flies in the face of Bob's bigoted view of the world. Of course this is one of many indications of how conflicted Christianity is and has always been since its beginnings. The phrase you're not a Christian is something we hear frequently – and mostly among conflicted Christians. That kind of conflict between Christians has always been with us in the U.S. It's what caused one Christian to say:

      During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

      to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785. And that moderate Christian (heavily influenced by Deism) was James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, and our 4th POTUS.

      December 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • mama k

      And if you really want to find a gay-friendly church, these Christian associations represent quite a number of churches across our great land that are fully accepting of gay couples:

      http://www.awab.org
      http://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/united_states/united_states.htm

      Don't buy into the Bobigotry!

      December 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Don

    "Bible says about gay marriage since you are not qualified to answer or know what the Bible says "

    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.

    December 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Bob

      As always there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible.

      December 2, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  3. John

    "Of course we always know that there is 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.

    December 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Bob

    Of course we always know that there is NO justification for gay marriage in the Bible.

    December 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      SO?

      December 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Bob

      "Of course we always know that there is NO justification for gay marriage in the Bible."

      Prejudice people are so immature.

      December 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Bob

    mammy k I would ask the same thing of you that I did of Tom you are a atheist the blog post is one mans opinion about what the Bible says about gay marriage since you are not qualified to answer or know what the Bible says and I guess just into arguing why don't you also kiss off also. That is not integrity so its the pot calling the kettle black sad really sad of course I wouldn't expect anything more.

    December 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • mama k

      Apparently these Christian associations represent quite a number of churches across our great land that are fully accepting of gay couples:

      http://www.awab.org
      http://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/united_states/united_states.htm

      Don't buy into the Bobigotry!

      December 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  6. mama k

    What about Bob?

    LOL – first-time readers of this thread need to learn about Bob. He is a bigot extraordinaire. Take the time to skim down through these pages to read what this idiot spews, regardless of subject. When I brought up the importance of the Constitution, Bob challenged with the Mayflower Compact as if that were more important to us today. And the list goes on. Regardless, the fact that there are many Christian churches that are fully accepting of gay couples flies in the face of Bob's bigoted view of the world. Of course this is one of many indications of how conflicted Christianity is and has always been since its beginnings. The phrase you're not a Christian is something we hear frequently – and mostly among conflicted Christians. That kind of conflict between Christians has always been with us in the U.S. It's what caused one Christian to say:

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785. And that moderate Christian (heavily influenced by Deism) was James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, and our 4th POTUS.

    December 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  7. Bob

    Atheism is the position that affirms the non-existence of God. It proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief.”Buddhism is atheistic in the sense of denying that there is any overarching deity such as the Creator-God of the Bible. Atheism in the western sense excludes Buddhism, and adherents claim that it is not a religion. One Atheist said:“Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color However, atheists make such claims so Atheism can avoid legal imperatives placed on religions in many countries, and can avoid some of the ideological hang-ups people have about “religion”. It also creates a false dichotomy between science (which they claim must be naturalistic and secular) and religion. Atheism will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stop attempting to deflect, Boob. It isn't working. Answer the question.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Bob

      Tom why are you here this is about a guy that wrote a article about what he feels the Bible says about gay marriage. You are atheist you don't understand the Bible don't care about the Bible or God so why don't you kiss off like a good old girl.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • John

      " Bible says about 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.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Bob

      John is a flamer that was kicked out of being a Pastor so why would this be any other way to him. I think that there may have been a problem with confessions but I am not totally sure. Yeah likes to repost this good for us bad for him.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  8. YeahRight

    "psychs didn't say it was normal the true definition and the how they could take it off the dsm what they said if it doesn't cause the person any emotional problems then its ok"

    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.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  9. Bob

    psychs didn't say it was normal the true definition and the how they could take it off the dsm what they said if it doesn't cause the person any emotional problems then its ok. If it does then its not ok which is why the declassification is not far away for peds and every other conceivable perversion. So all the associations actually said they didn't have the ability to determine what was deviant behavior that is why anything goes this day this will effectively doom that profession putting it in the no real answer category instead of a true science. It was the gays that made this possible we have them to thank if it comes to pass. If I am wrong in the definition then tell me.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bob

      Prejudice people are so immature.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The DSM is a guide for treatment. If changes won't benefit the individual or society then no "treatment" is necessary and it's just taking up space. Plenty of things are not the norm (like photographic memories) but we don't go around looking for treatments unless there's a problem.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • mama k

      You are wrong, Bob. You continue to bend truth to validate your homophobia spreading fear, division and misinformation along the way.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stop trying to change the subject, Boob. This isn't about pedophilia. It's about two consenting adults. If you can't argue your case without resorting to the "slippery slope" fallacy, then you have no argument. You lose.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  10. Erik

    "Height eye color skin color is all found in the dna, none of them are preferences, all these are the physical characteristics you were born with and will not give you a emotional desire but a body part."

    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.

    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!"

    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).

    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.

    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.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How many times do you have to be told this, Boob? Why can you not grasp the facts?

      December 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Boob, you complain about "reposts." Yet you repost the same misspelled, ungrammatical crap ad nauseam. When are you going to give an honest answer to questions you're asked? Or are you just too much of a wussy to do so?

    Why shouldn't a union between two people of the same gender have the same benefits as the legal union of two people of opposite genders? If the benefits and rights the union entails are the same, then why call the union something different?

    Give one good reason why gays should not be able to marry that doesn't require quoting the bible, which is completely irrelevant in the discussion of law.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Why should they Its not marriage. Marriage is between a man and woman that's it God ordained for the procreation of children. Just in case you didn't see that its 2 reasons.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Brent

      "Marriage is between a man and woman that's it God ordained"

      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.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • YeahRight

      " for the procreation of children"

      Gays and lesbians have children and families. If we use your pathetic prejudice logic then infertile couples are condemned to hell and shouldn't be allowed to get married.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. Procreation is not a prerequisite for legal marriage. No straight couple is required to procreate. Not one. Belief in god isn't a requirement either. There is no requirement that a marriage be sanctioned by 'god' or performed in a church. The government is the only enti ty that has any say over what marriage is or is not. God doesn't enter into it at all. A marriage ceremony performed at city hall is legal, as long as the couple has a license issued by the state. A marriage ceremony in a church is not legal UNLESS the couple has a license issued by the state. The church, the bible, and god are not required for a marriage to be legal.

      If the union has all the legal benefits of marriage, give one good reason why it should be labeled otherwise. You haven't managed to do so yet, Booby. Get moving.

      December 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  12. Bob

    I love it another lie from the gay supporters that's what the problem is they want to equate a preference to a physical attribute which is a total lie. Height eye color skin color is all found in the dna, none of them are preferences, all these are the physical characteristics you were born with and will not give you a emotional desire but a body part. That’s like saying the gene in your body didn't know how to make a male or female and went haywire and made you physically a man or woman but gave you the desire for the same gender. Not one shred has been proven to be true it just has not been disputed and the facts let out. The gay agenda pr machine has been working overtime to secure marriage in this society and to say being gay is normal. The phycs have given up to define deviant behavior with much bullying by the gay community and I do mean physically bullying read the transcripts of the APA meetings and basically said they don’t have the ability to determine deviant behavior, Not that its not deviant behavior, just they don’t have a basis to determine it.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Answer the question, Booby.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  13. YeahRigh

    "There is no stat that is in favor of gays. "

    This is about civil rights. 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.

    These rights include:
    Tax Benefits
    -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
    -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
    Estate Planning Benefits
    -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
    -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
    -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
    -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
    Government Benefits
    -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
    -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
    -–Receiving public assistance benefits.
    -–Employment Benefits
    -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
    -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
    -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
    -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
    Medical Benefits
    -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
    -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
    Death Benefits
    -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
    -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
    Family Benefits
    -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
    -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
    -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
    -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
    Housing Benefits
    -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
    -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
    Consumer Benefits
    -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
    -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
    -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
    -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
    -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
    -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
    -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
    -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
    -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
    -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  14. YeahRigh

    "This is what the gays and atheists would like you to believe that just because there is a frequency of birth defects that it makes them normal"

    The experts have prove this prejudice poster wrong so he has too keep trying to justify their unfounded prejudice and hatred. The experts have proven that 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.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  15. Bob

    Ok line up three men and look at them intently. One is gay one is straight and one is a ped now look at them carefully can you see what makes them different. NO I didn’t think so but this is the hoax that the agenda wants you to believe. That there is a difference. Well now line up three men and they are all straight. See a difference even though one likes beer one likes alcohol and one doesn’t like to drink at all. No I didn’t think so ok now line up a person with a birth defect and one that doesn’t have one do you see a difference yes I can see the difference. The agenda wants you to believe that we are supposed to be able to pick out and say that a s=ual desire is easily spotted, normal , and physical but it is not. What makes one person like coffee and another not physcs cannot tell you. So what is the solution call them all normal and variants on being normal. Now when we see how these people act and the decisions they make then we see if they are normal. The men’s S-ual desires are all different and reflect a preference not built into genes just like the preference for beer wine or nothing. The agenda and atheists also want to say it is a normal variation which it is not. Just as the person with the birth defect doesn’t look the same the decisions we make because of our desires look that much different. Even in the Bible birth defects happened such as the sacrifices that the Jews started to bring had defects and God said that it was not right so it is with people of the wrong preference. It is a decision based on a s=ual desire not a physical difference in that person’s body. They do happen it’s not good sometimes but it does happen now we say that it is normal in the course of the birth process that we will wind up with some babies that are not normal and have birth defects but this is a normal percentage not a normal outcome. This is what the gays and atheists would like you to believe that just because there is a frequency of birth defects that it makes them normal. But in this case we can see they are not normal but in the case of the three men other than the outward differences in hair or eye color we cannot see any difference. Wait till one speaks or moves or makes decisions based on what they like and now you see the result of differences in the desire of each although each has all the same equipment. Phycs pulled this slight of hand because they didn’t feel that they could establish what is normal. They lost the moral compass to establish what is normal and should be accepted. the basis for this was looking at how different people act and knowing that some will act differently they said this is a normal person based on the percentages, Not based on the differences that makes a persons decisions. So they said we know that there are people out there with this problem they make up a percentage of the population therefore if they can function with a defect we will treat them when they feel they have a problem. Now the fact that the percentages of problems are much higher with the gays is no secret. There is no stat that is in favor of gays. The atheists and the agenda hold up the successful ones but that percentage is so small that its probably less that a 1/10th of 1 percent. You compare these stats to the amount of people who are straight and have a good life and you will see something like 60 percent of say billions of people . So the shear number of straights the percentages will be different you have to take into account the number of people you are talking about and the percentage in order to come up with a true number. This is also a slight of hand by the gays and atheists.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Erik

      " See a difference even though one likes beer one likes alcohol and one doesn’t like to drink at all"

      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.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  16. John

    "there is 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.

    December 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  17. Bob

    Gays should not be allowed to marry civil unions are good enough not to mention there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible and gay copulation is not normal. Also as always there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. Any organization that would marry gays does not qualify as a church. There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible.Modern methods of treatment enable a significant proportion of h0m0who wish to change their orientation to do so

    December 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Drunk again, Boob?

      Nobody cares about the bible as far as the laws of this nation are concerned, dear.

      Why should gays settle for anything less than marriage?

      December 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  18. YeahRight

    "Gays should not be allowed to marry civil unions"

    No, it's not which is why the courts have been ruling in gays favors. They tried separate but equal with African Americans and it didn't work, there was still discrimination. This is about civil rights. 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.

    These rights include:
    Tax Benefits
    -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
    -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
    Estate Planning Benefits
    -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
    -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
    -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
    -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
    Government Benefits
    -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
    -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
    -–Receiving public assistance benefits.
    -–Employment Benefits
    -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
    -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
    -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
    -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
    Medical Benefits
    -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
    -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
    Death Benefits
    -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
    -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
    Family Benefits
    -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
    -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
    -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
    -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
    Housing Benefits
    -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
    -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
    Consumer Benefits
    -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
    -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
    -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
    -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
    -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
    -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
    -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
    -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
    -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
    -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

    December 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Bob

      It would be much easier to work with if you would just tell the truth that you are retarded or challenged or just plain slow

      December 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It would be much easier to work with if you would just tell the truth that you are retarded or challenged or just plain slow"

      More lies from the troll named Bob.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  19. Bob

    Gays should not be allowed to marry civil unions are good enough not to mention there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible and gay copulation is not normal. Also as always there is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible. Any organization that would marry gays does not qualify as a church. There is no justification for gay marriage in the Bible

    December 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Hey look more copy and paste from Bob the very thing he condemns over and over again but does himself. What a hypocrite.

      December 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bob

      Or maybe I should say doesn't qualify for a Christian church but would qualify for a religious place with nothing to offer.

      December 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bob

      Nope my own thoughts retyped unlike you re posting someone else s ideas because you don't have the guts and intelligence to answer for yourself which puts you at 13 or 14 years old maybe or just mentally retarded.

      December 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "you at 13 or 14 years old maybe or just mentally retarded."

      More lies and trolling by the poster Bob.

      December 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  20. YeahRight

    "Gays should not be allowed to marry civil unions are good enough "

    No, it's not which is why the courts have been ruling in gays favors. They tried separate but equal with African Americans and it didn't work, there was still discrimination. This is about civil rights. 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.

    These rights include:
    Tax Benefits
    -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
    -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
    Estate Planning Benefits
    -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
    -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
    -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
    -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
    Government Benefits
    -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
    -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
    -–Receiving public assistance benefits.
    -–Employment Benefits
    -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
    -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
    -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
    -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
    Medical Benefits
    -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
    -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
    Death Benefits
    -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
    -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
    Family Benefits
    -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
    -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
    -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
    -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
    Housing Benefits
    -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
    -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
    Consumer Benefits
    -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
    -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
    -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
    -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
    -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
    -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
    -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
    -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
    -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
    -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

    December 2, 2012 at 10:19 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.