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After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques
Faith-based activists in Minnesota helped defeat a proposed gay marriage ban there this month.
November 30th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – It may not sound very powerful, but gay rights activist Debra Peevey said that a two-inch green button played a major role in convincing voters to legalize gay marriage this month in her home state of Washington.

“Another Person of Faith Approves R. 74,” said the button, which refers to the ballot initiative that wound up legalizing gay marriage in Washington.

As faith director for the statewide pro-gay marriage campaign, Washington United for Marriage, Peevey and her team distributed 5,000 of the buttons. They were conversation starters, she said, ways of letting people know they could relate to one another on the intimate level of religion. And that being religious didn’t meant you had to oppose gay marriage.

“We had people clamoring for the buttons,” Peevey said. “People of faith all over the state wore them. It amplified that perspective that people of faith do, in fact, support marriage equality.”

This year, voters in Washington State were joined by those in Maryland, Maine and Minnesota in handing big victories to the gay rights movement. In the first three states, voters legalized gay marriage. In Minnesota, they rejected a measure that would have banned same-sex marriage.

After watching dozens of states adopt gay marriage bans in recent years, gay rights activists hope this month’s victories mark a national turning point. And to help push other states to follow suit, they are holding up efforts like Peevey’s as a blueprint for how to successfully incorporate faith into future gay rights campaigns.

Some same-sex marriage proponents think their fight may move to Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Oregon or some combination of those states. Wherever the effort goes, gay rights activists say, faith will be a part of the mix.

“Faith became part of the solution and not just the problem in all four states” where gay marriage was on the ballot this year, said Sharon Groves, director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. “We will never do a campaign moving forward where engaging people of faith will not be central part of that work.”

‘Be who you are, not something you are not’

For Grant Stevensen, a Lutheran pastor in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the faith director for the campaign opposing a gay marriage ban in the state, engaging faith communities depended on framing the debate the right way.

In past gay rights ballot fights, Stevensen said, the same-sex marriage movement put “a big emphasis on civil rights language and connection to the civil rights movement.” But the messaging didn’t work, he said, with many people rejecting the idea of a link between civil rights for minorities and marriage rights for gays.

Instead, Stevensen and his team used words like “love,” “marriage” and “commitment,” in their messaging about opposing a gay marriage ban, words that he said strike at the heart of Christian beliefs about marriage. “Our goal for the whole campaign was to emphasize those themes and talk specifically about gay people,” he said, “as opposed to making this another civil rights movement.”

Similar campaigns in other states took different approaches.

For instance in Maryland, gay rights activists emphasized outreach to African-American churches and played up civil rights arguments.

In Maine and Washington State, enormous effort went into mobilizing lay Catholics, even if their hierarchy actively opposed the gay marriage campaigns. Stevensen’s Minnesota campaign, meanwhile, targeted the state’s many Lutherans.

“Be who you are, not something you are not,” the pastor said, encouraging other gay rights activists to combat the stereotype that all Christians “are opposed to gay people.”

The right conversation

In past ballot fights, which resulted in gay marriage bans in more than 30 states, forces opposed to same-sex marriage had dominated the faith conversation.

A faithful same-sex marriage supporter was seen as an outlier.

When Ross Murray, director of religion, faith and values at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), was asked by his bosses to be one of the lead liaisons between the four state-based gay campaigns and the national gay rights organization, he knew more emphasis than ever was going to be put on religion.

Murray advised the campaigns to ask “people to vote the value that they have been taught” and “make sure that you can reach within all religious groups and get those who have passion and have them reach their friends, neighbors and co-congregants.”

That’s what Stevens tried to do in Minnesota: “We were going to either own this conversation about faith and if we can’t own it, no one is going to own it.”

Stevensen and his eight-person faith staff trained 2,500 "conversationalists," religious people who were taught how to have conversations about gay marriage with other people of faith. They were instructed to discuss same-sex marriage in terms of their religious beliefs. The campaign offered similar training sessions to more than 500 clergy.

The two-hour-long training sessions also focused on people telling their own faith stories. If someone had once been opposed to same-sex marriage because of their religious beliefs, they were encouraged to talk about that, too.

More than anything, said Stevensen, the conversationalists were encouraged to listen.

“People have their reasons to think what they do. [We taught how to] draw people out and make sure they are heard,” he said. “All of us like to be listened to.”

The Human Rights Campaign’s Groves said she was impressed by the lengths these campaigns went to reach deep into faith communities. As a veteran of the same-sex marriage fight, Graves was there when the movement struggled with this sort of outreach.

“It makes sense that we would have made some mistakes around that,” Groves said. “LGBT people have been harmed by the church.”

Perhaps the biggest mistake was around the gay marriage ban in California, known as Proposition 8.

Prop 8 mistakes

Debra Peevey was faith-based field organizer in Southern California during the fight against the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in 2008.

One reason she and her fellow gay rights activists lost that campaign was the way the religious conversation played out. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, along with the Roman Catholic Church actively campaigned for Prop 8. That framed the fight as one between secularists and believers.

“There was a resistance in engaging faith community,” Groves said. “We kind of let the religious right define the space for us and that was a real learning that we got from that.”

While religious organizations were pouring in money and manpower, said GLAAD’s Murray, anti-Prop. 8 opponents were apprehensive in reaching out to religious allies and ineffective at building enthusiasm from sympathetic religious communities and leaders.

Both Murray and Groves describe the post-Prop 8 reflection period as a “turning point” for the gay-rights community that gave rise to this year’s intense faith-based organizing.

Now, Peevey said, there’s no going back: “I can’t imagine that we will ever have a LGBT campaign where faith was not a part of the team.”

Moving forward

At pro-same-sex marriage organizations like GLAAD, Murray said conversations are turning to where the next gay marriage fights will happen.

“It is really hard to tell where this is going to come up again,” said Murray, adding that the next attempts to block or legalize gay marriage may happen legislatively in some states, as opposed to via ballot initiative.

He said gay rights groups want to tap into the Lutheran networks in Colorado, Illinois and Oregon early, to ensure that their LGBT outreach is well established by the time any ballot initiative or legislative efforts formally get under way.

By the time that happens, the gay rights community has learned, it may already be too late to frame the faith conversation around gay marriage.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Politics • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality • United States

soundoff (1,674 Responses)
  1. teavangelist

    A friend of mine told me this real story. His wife's sister in a midwestern city was married with 2 kids to a guy who "thought he was g-ay" and wanted a divorce. that dude had 2 brothers.

    the dude's family swung into action. parents threatened to disinherit him. brothers and close family threatened to ostracize him. wife told him he can have his divorce but he can kiss the house and any contact with kids buh bye. parents told said so called gay person they will support the wife in the divorce suite and make sure she wins everything.

    alternative offered was to get some decent chritian counselling and come back to his senses. wife forgave his gay affiar. Of course he was tested for all kinds of diseases that his filthy habit would have gotten him into.

    his closetted gay lover who tried to break up the family was tracked down, lost his job, and all kinds of things bad happened to him. thats another story.

    all is well now.

    question is – how could he have 2 kids and think he was gay? this proves its a choice. a tendency. that one can and should suppress for the betterment of society.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

      hindu filthy environment.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • A

      I think you answered your own question. He was in the closet because of precisely all the terrible things that happened to him that you listed. He was trying to deny his true nature (yes, nature, not choice) because his society saw fit to quash it when it did surface.

      If he had felt accepted by society early in his life, rather than having to fear his nature, I very much doubt he would've bothered marrying a woman and trying to pretend he was something he was not.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Answer

      @A

      Watch these religious idiots deny that answer of yours. They don't accept what is really true because their dogma would be in question.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      teavangelist, Such horrible things we do to our fellow man just because they don't think like us or agree with us. How very Christian of them It saddens me.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      To call you as dumb as a tea-bag would be an insult to tea-bags. Why don't you learn something and stop being such an ignoramus?

      November 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Renegatus

      Well now, aren't you a prime example of disgusting human garbage! If God thinks anything like you and that mans family and wife then you can have him. I'd rather burn with the sinners!

      November 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  2. BuckUpUS

    Keep Austin kweer !

    November 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  3. hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

    spit on my face. I am so ashamed to be Daristani muslim. Spit on my face.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Answer

      I'm sure that the person or dog in question does so on his own face. Don't need to get any other person to do it when the person does it to himself.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Answer To Answer

      The person, or Dog as you call him is a skunk from country called Daristan, faceless terrorist.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  4. hindu Gay ism = filthy hind loving ism, WAY OF hINDU FILTHY ANIMALS.

    hindu gay ism is in violation of American consti tution , based on truth absolute GOD, truth constant is union of man and a woman sealed with covenant to truth absolute GOD, hindu gay's, need not to ask to change some thing already iron clad in consti tution of USA, it amounts to nothing else but hinduism, treason.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Jessica

      Reading your bizarre statements is rather fun and amusing. Please let me have some of what you are smoking, it must be really good splif

      November 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    The slow-to-change atmosphere of leavening societal augmentations regarding right or wrong conclaves of diatribe animosities unregulated ambivalences will linger onward unto the ages of future societies all clamoring to be the first ones augmented. We are our own chalices and do drink of our own blood. “I am therefore others should be also!” What quackery is such a thought? We are all different in so many ways and left to another one our will, is to tender resignation of willful intentions regarding the self!

    The abundances measure not yet always is secure in one's knowing where the lights do ever burn true to shallower seasons amber waves. The shells of disparagements do clamor of loudness while the willowed brooks do lay upon its banks the grief riddled fomentations truths to ever be as unlabeled victims foreshadowed in the datedness of peace to the wary minded. Let one go and keep as many are to be so had. Lay upon the emotion's lame their just treats. Keep harmonies in stepped progressives while taking the bitterness of revolt to gaily be just what? Sigh therefore heavily and breathe ever in abundant measure the signatures well mentioned. Die one as naturally as is so needed and never take such for undue clemencies as being an unworthy sanctum. Leave straight and don't weave upon the narrowness minds!

    Seek in humbled traces the shoddy and lame for there I am also. Find at ones edges the meek and on other corners the very so proud. Nothing is of more importance then to by hustle along teachings with the tramps and the ladies in evening wares. God is my judge and no other shall condemn as God so will come one ending or the other. Those who are knowing of sweetness the dreams longing to be dreamt by one or another dreamer of deeds to be so done is truly where hearts do so beat!

    November 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Russ

    The underlying assumption of this article is that religious beliefs are just as subjective & malleable as politics.
    While that may be the premise of many commenters here, that's not the case for those who actually believe there is a higher authority than human opinion.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No religion = freedom.

      Freedom = Positive.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Apple Bush: why do i get the strong impression that you hold that opinion... *religiously*?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Jonline

      Some people believe that higher power already believes in love and isn't blinded by the writings of man.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I don't know Russ, I guess because you are too stupid to know what the word "religiously" means?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Russ, Religious beliefs are as subjective & malleable as politics, if not how do you explain the different religious groups and ideas?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Brimstone

      Well, my higher authority says you're wrong so does that mean you will drop your argument?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Answer

      I love it.. the religious tools like Russ are trying once again to set the label of "see you are religious and therefore your atheism is a religion" shtick.

      So hilarious. Twits never learn how to distinguish the finer point of being "adamant" to the label of being "religious".

      November 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Apple Bush: much to the contrary, the adverbial form (adding "-ly") does not mean you have to hold to the adjectival definition. it simply means you act as though you did.

      in other words, you don't have to be religious to act as though you were. so, a non-religious person can hold their beliefs religiously – though they might never be religious.

      though it does make one wonder... why the similarity?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Russ

      @ JohnQuest: Variance doesn't equate with malleable – especially when central tenets of particular faiths are held *across* a large subset of groups.

      for example: over 1 billion (widely ranging) Muslims hold the central conviction that there is no god but Allah & Mohammed is his prophet. over 2 billion (widely ranging) Christians hold the central conviction that Jesus came as God in the flesh and was crucified and then raised from the dead.

      the particular question before us now becomes: do these groups believe God has been equally (or even similarly) clear regarding ho.mo.se.xuality? and that's the larger point, too. if there is a transcendent being, no amount of human maneuvering changes His/Her/Its opinion.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Answer

      The simple question is why do you hate gay people?

      November 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • JustOne

      For freedom to live in the effect it must be woven into life in the first cause in order that it may exist with a purpose.

      Now after 200+ years of establishing a free republic we look at what we have freed ourselves from and we wonder what we are freeing ourselves to.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Answer: I don't hate g.ay people. Why does disagreeing have to be considered hatred?
      that's an awfully broad brush you're painting with...

      November 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Answer

      @Russ

      "Why does disagreeing have to be considered hatred?" <<– quote

      Remember your words. Set them in stone.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Russ

      @ answer: you still haven't answered my question. there's an apparent hypocrisy here on your part.
      and considering the current political environment, in which the clear growing majority supports your position, you will be the one who will need to set those words in stone.
      will you defend your opponents' rights to voice their disagreement?

      November 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Answer

      @Russ

      Beg me for a reply. XD

      November 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Answer

      Oh Russ.. if you can't beg then.. do the following:

      Turn yourself gay. Choose at this very junction in time to become gay. Thanks.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you gay yet, Russ?

      November 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Answer: again with the broad brush...

      1) since you're continuing to dodge a simple question, i take it your conceding my point about your hypocrisy. ironically, it's a necessary pre-requisite for further honest discussion on that topic.

      2) I have never claimed that being gay is merely a choice.

      Let's allow it's not. It doesn't change the conversation.
      Does "being born that way" make it good?
      Some folks are born with alcoholic predilections. Does that make them good by virtue of being born that way?

      For a Christian, it's just another evidence of the effects of the Fall.
      God is not to blame for the ways we've corrupted ourselves – and that's equally true of the religious right as it is of anyone else.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Damocles

      @russ

      Being born gay makes you no more or less good than being born straight. A gay person who cheats on his or her partner would be just as 'bad' as a straight person who did it. An alcoholic can still be a good person, are you trying to say all alcoholics are out there causing mayhem? It's all about responsibility.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Damocles

      @russ

      In regards to the last part of your post... I am still astounded that this deity that you believers want to pay homage to, is supposedly responsible for everything, yet it is somehow not responsible for the things you don't agree with. If you are going to tag your deity with the label of 'everything', that includes it being gay.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Damocles: you don't have to agree with the Bible and yet can still understand what it's claiming.

      God created everything good (Gen.1-2), including imbuing humanity with the good gift of freedom (not being robots)
      We misused that good gift to corrupt ourselves (Gen.3 – commonly called "the Fall")

      In short: we did this to ourselves.
      as a result, God would be just to destroy us...
      and yet, instead, on the cross he both:
      1) upholds his justice (by taking on himself what we deserved)
      2) and gives mercy (by showing us unmerited love).

      as for your other question: yes, being born a certain way does not – in and of itself – make a statement of good or evil. however, the rest of the Bible does make clear what sorts of things are good according to the Author who himself is the one who defines Goodness.

      again, the cross makes it clear: we are ALL (gay & straight alike) that messed up (more than we want to admit) and yet he loves more than we ever dared hope (he was willing to take my mess upon himself).

      November 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  7. teavangelist

    what if we have a national vote that only union of man and woman will be recognized. If it succeeds it becimes const-itutional amendment and untouchable

    November 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • mama k

      Popular vote is showing more and more that more states will soon legalize gay marriage. Popular opinion and changing views among leaders is showing that DOMA will soon be overturned. Those against should be content that the process is not any faster than it is becoming. Because if it went to the Supreme Court now, traditional marriage would lose BIG TIME immediately. This kind of civil rights issue can't be covered up easily anymore, and the representation for gay marriage can't be ignored. If states are involved in affording couple advantages based on marriage, then they are in the civil business of marriage and should have no choice but to apply such advantages equally. The sooner you get that bigotry in check tea, the better you'll be prepared for what's coming.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • peridot2

      Not everyone agrees with your POV, Teavangelist. It leaves out 20% of our population. What about their rights to benefits married people receive?

      Matthew 7:5

      November 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      teavangelist, Basic Human rights should be up for popular vote.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • teavangelist

      Johnquest, this is a democracy

      November 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @teavangelist

      Only partially right. This is a constitutional democracy. Here's an analogy I've always liked.

      A democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.
      The constitution is the thing that makes sure it's not the sheep.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Jessica

      Teabagger, Perhaps we should put your right to marry up for a vote? While were at it how about we take a vote on whether or not Black people should be slaves again? Maybe a vote to take woman's voting rights away?

      All three are as ridiculous as your want to put the right of LGBT people to marry. We are not a Democracy but a Republic. Perhaps you should get your kids civics book out and look that up, you obviously missed it in your civics lessons.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @teavangelist,

      Do you feel lucky? Well do ya? Go ahead, make our day.

      As of 2011, the Pew Forum reported that in the US there is now a plurality in favor of gay marriage.

      Gay Marriage?
      ......................... 2010 ... 2011
      Favor ............... 42% ... 46%
      Oppose ............ 48% ... 44%
      Don't know ....... 10% ... 09%

      A referendum would be a great way to solve the marriage equality issue. Be careful what you wish for.

      The ONLY groups not in favor of gay marriage are (surprise, surprise) white evangelical and black Protestants and hispanic Catholics. Other groups, such as the unaffilliated, white mainline Protestants and white Catholics are all in favor.

      November 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  8. teavangelist

    as long as they keep to themselves its good. Im not for bothering them. But asking for marriage is too much. Next the polygamists will start asking followed by the pedos. where will it stop?

    Just stay out of the public eye, dont show our kids their perverted way of living and dont weaken the morale of armed forces or try to infiltrate organization like boy scout then we wont bother them. Isnt that fair?

    November 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • doughnuts

      It stops at the ability to enter into legally-binding contracts.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      teavangelist, I thought the LAW should apply to all people Equally. The same rights for all.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • teavangelist

      Hohnquest, equal rights for child molestors too?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Just another Guy

      Is your argument that if gay marriage is allowed then child molesters will expect some kind of concession? That doesn't make any sense and it will certainly never happen (whatever it is you think that concession is).

      November 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Answer

      ==quote==
      teavangelist

      Hohnquest, equal rights for child molestors too?

      ==end==

      Cue in the rapist priest. Bring on the buggery XD

      November 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      If four adult individuals love each other and willingly and knowingly wish to enter a binding, committed relationship together to form a family, what business is that of yours? Why shouldn't it be legal?

      The line is drawn (or should be) at consent, and the ability to give consent.

      November 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Teabagginator

      Pedos & Polygamists? Really? It's embarrassing to live in a country with so many myopic, obtuse, stupid people like yourself.

      December 3, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • YeahRight

      "dont show our kids their perverted way of living and dont weaken the morale of armed forces"

      The experts in this country have proven 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.

      December 3, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Yes. we must keep the USA's military forces as a bastion for homophobia. . .

      December 3, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And it's ok for hetero generals to screw around (and possibly give up classified information) but let's not have any gays in the military. . .

      December 3, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  9. McDuck Quackerton

    Only the cherry picking space ghost worshipers can support gay marriage. Their fairy tale book condemns it, so if they're as devout as they claim, they can't support it. When will society wake up and realize that the bible is a book of stories written by man and not inspired by a sky fairy.

    November 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Shaggy

      The book also says eating shellfish is an abomination and shows an unhealthy obsession with a small piece of skin on the end of a males reproductive organ. I don't think that a passage or two out of a contradictory, food and penis obsessed book like that should matter all that much to the people that read it.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  10. Beagle

    Sickening...

    November 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  11. fernace

    Since I have recently read the bible page to page, maybe I can clarify some misconceptions! God told his people to be "fruitful & multiply"! Because man "laying" w/man could not produce progeny, it was then labled an "abomination"! An Equal Abomination, according to scripture, is mast.urb.ation! Man should not let his seed "fall on the ground" because, again, that seed would not result in progeny & thusly not adhering to the "fruitful & multiply" edict! God says nothing else on either of these subject! We humans are the ones who have added the "un-natural," pedophilic & beastial comparisons to the arguement, not to mention, we have vilified 1 "abomination" while embracing the other! It was all about furthering the Jewish race & has nothing to do w/the arguement we're having today! Hope that clarifies things for the staunchly anti-gay folk, who are trying to use the bible to support their opposition!!

    November 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Jessica

      Yeah, We got that "go fourth and multiply" thing down pat. There is almost too many of us now.

      My old religion teacher taught us that God told us to multiply but also gave us a brain and wants us to use it. Since we have multiplied so much it's time to slow it down a bit before there is massive shortages and suffering.

      November 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  12. Reality

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterose-xual marriage. Government benefits where approved are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

    For example at http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/d61a.pdf , there is a check box for "unmarried partner" under Person #2. There of course is also a check box for "husband/wife". One assumes a gay couple could check this latter box but how does one choose which is which for a gay union?

    November 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Brimstone

      u wot m8?

      November 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Jessica

      My God man! Your lack of knowledge of LGBT people is astounding.

      November 30, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  13. lionlylamb

    The slow-to-change atmosphere of leavening societal augmentations regarding right or wrong conclaves of diatribe animosities unregulated ambivalences will linger onward unto the ages of future societies all clamoring to be the first ones augmented. We are our own chalices and do drink of our own blood. “I am therefore others should be also!” What quackery is such a thought? We are all different in so many ways and left to another one our will, is to tender resignation of willful intentions regarding the self!

    November 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Brimstone

      Looks like someone found a thesaurus...

      November 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Brimstone,

      Whatever makes your mind to float above the arborous congenital well being of your will! :-) :-( :-)

      November 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • james pfeiffer

      Boy oh boy..."augmentation" is really a big boy word for you!

      November 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  14. DCBuck

    It's good to see people of faith band together to show that not all of us are against gay rights, and the Talibangelicals do not own Christianity or the Bible. Nevertheless, I was surprised when Question 6 passed in MD, as the pro-6 ran one of the worst campaigns I've ever seen.

    November 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jessica

      It's good to see people of faith finally standing up to the hateful others.

      November 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  15. Steve

    I don't care if people want to be gay, that's their choice. To give them rights is going too far. Religions should accept gays, as they accept other sinners as well. I dought you will ever see a born again gay, the two can't possibly co-exist. If a gay person says they are gay and a born again christian, one of those statements are false.

    November 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "I don't care if people want to be gay, that's their choice. To give them rights is going too far. Religions should accept gays, as they accept other sinners as well. I dought you will ever see a born again gay, the two can't possibly co-exist. If a gay person says they are gay and a born again christian, one of those statements are false."

      First off, it is not a choice!!
      You have rights, don't you? What gives you any more right to them than a person who loves differently than you do?
      Gays are doing nothing wrong. It is a proven scientific fact that being gay is natural.
      Please tell us when you made the choice to love a woman (not that we could wish you upon one)

      You're a bigoted uneducated moron. I hope if you have children or ever have children that one turns out to be gay.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " That's their choice...." False.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • lol

      I dare you to explain why gay people should not have the exact same rights as every other citizen without sounding like a bigot.

      I bet you can't do it.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Massman

      Such baloney! I am Christian, Gay and born this way. Do you recall the day you "decided" to be straight and narrow minded? Didn't think so...

      November 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      @Steve

      "I don't care if people want to be gay"

      Who would want to be gay? Would choose to be harrassed and discriminated against every day of your life? You really think that? Do you know anyone who is gay?

      November 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Who are you to judge the state of another person's soul, heart or relationship to the Divine? Does't your own scripture tell you not to do that, lest you find yourself judged by the same measure come judgement day?

      Obviously, your first statement is false in more than one way. No one chooses to be gay. And, obviously you do care. I'd say it bothers you rather immensely that there are gay people in this world who want to be treated as though they are equals.

      Equality is right.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Jim

      Sorry Steve, rights are not "given" by you to other people. Rights are there for everyone who is brave enough to stand up to bigotry and take them.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • mama k

      "I don't care if people want to be gay, that's their choice. To give them rights is going too far."

      Wow. Sounds like something from before the civil rights movement in the U.S.

      Everything you said there is wrong, Steve. Including whatever this is: "dought".

      November 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • born that way

      I agree about the choice. I made the choice to be a hetero on my wedding day when I left my celibate life behind. We don't choose our attractions, but we do choose what we do with our lives. All people should be protected equally under the law, but not all choices need to be rewarded the same way.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Steve, The point is not what the Church does but what the State does. You may not like it but should the state pass laws that effect other citizens based on your Religious Beliefs?

      No one is saying that a Church has to accept a Gay couple. I think we all can agree, that the State has to treat all citizen equally under the law.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • rick

      steve: citizens have rights. f you and your bigotry

      December 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • rick

      born that way: before your wedding day, you did not know if you were attracted to men or women?

      December 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  16. SATHEESAN KOCHICHERIL

    How can people say faith is important when the entire Universe and life in it work on the basis of its own principles. No where in its working there is any role for faith. Moreover, religious faith is the creation of human reasoning, and reasoning changes when people give new interpretations to the same faiths. That is why all these religious faiths clash with each other, and some faiths have become the executioners of humanity. If we form religions on the basis of the intelligent principle according to which life is managed by the System of the Universe there will be no place for the current violence against mankind. Those who realized the importance of the System that manages life on this planet called the System the Truth. The ancient Chinese called it the Tao.
    When we are born we get along with our life the sensible soul for the management of life. The soul, like life, is the creation of the System that controls the entire Universe. Like all particles and forms of life this sensible part of life is required by us to conduct our term here. This is where faiths cheat us. These faith take over our consciousness saying that they are required for our culture and spirituality. Thus we lose the sensibility of the soul which alone expresses our spirituality. We do not require these silly faiths for any purpose. The sensibility of the soul alone is spirituality, now under the influences of these self-proclaimed faiths we live having no soul to help us. Carl Jung said "For thousands of years rites of initiation have been teaching rebirth from the spirit, yet man has forgotten the meaning of divine initiatory procreation in our times. I simply believe that some part of the human self or soul is not subject to the laws of space and time. This forgetfulness causes him to suffer a loss of soul, a condition that sadly is everywhere present today. " (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 7)

    November 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      SATHEESAN KOCHICHERIL,

      The "universe" as you partake in is not the all in all of celestial congruencies! The Cosmos wherein "our universe" was born into is inundated with immeasurable amounts of universes! We as being a cellular commodity of cosmologic nuances are born from the inner cosmologies cleverness ideals!

      To say we sprung from the "natural" is a pure fantasia when a power more powerful then our intentioned aloofness can barely contend with is an idea worthy of soundness! We are the bodies of Godly buildings! 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      November 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  17. lionlylamb

    As flesh-carnage beings in bitterness bemoaned sanctions of seldom issued righteousness acts, do we dare to conjure up ideologies wherefrom others might find agreements to lavishly allure upon? Where then do the wrongfulness ways end and the righteousness values daringly begin? We are, therefore we shall be and yet others might not; so where do the differences defeat the ilk and doubtfulness reckoned from others who dare to invoke pleasantries to subvert the potentially righteous orientated ones who dare speak up? Who are those tenured to subvert mankind’s potentials?

    November 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Renegatus

      Spoken like a true crazy zealot. When will the bigots understand, by trying to "save them from hell", you're creating for them hell on Earth!

      November 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • james pfeiffer

      lionlylamb...you need to take a writing class!

      November 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  18. LarryB

    Given fast-changing polling trends, I figure this might remain an issue for another 5-10 years before it's decided permanently. Younger age brackets are overwhelmingly in favor of allowing gay marriage, and there are a lot of older fogeys like Obama and me who have had a change of heart & mind in recent years. I venture to guess that there are not many who were in favor of gay marriage who changed over to the other side, though.
    10 years from now it will be allowed nationwide and serious debate will be over. No more of this silly state by state stuff.

    November 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  19. Jim34

    Christians who are thinking about voting for gay marriage should always remember judgement day. When you meet your maker do you think God will approve of your actions? God destroyed 2 cities just because those cities was filled with gays. Do the right thing and vote "No" for gay marriage. God will approve.

    November 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • LarryB

      The Bible says plenty about helping the poor, and yet the so-called Christian Right wants to knock the props out of the programs that help the poor to get by. I think God is much more likely to disapprove of them than those who support gay marriage.

      November 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • @LarryB

      The bible does indeed say a lot about helping the poor. Those follow the bible do a lot in helping the poor.

      However, I'm sick and tired about people saying that abdicating the responsibility of caring to the poor to the federal government is somehow being generous or moral.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Wow1234

      @@LarryB

      You do realize what a government is, right? You do realize that the American government is a representative democracy – which is defined as:

      "Also known as a republic, wherein the people or citizens of a country elect representatives to create and implement public policy in place of active participation by the people."

      November 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • doughnuts

      You haven't ever actually read the Bible, have you?

      Ezekiel 16:49 "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

      Proud, idle, and uncaring of the poor and needy. Sounds like Sodom was the home of a bunch of Fox News watchers.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • mama k

      Many of us in the U.S. don't have to adopt a bigoted attitude based on rehashed folklore. We can vote on the issue based on sensibility and civility. And at this point, I'd like to select a quote from one of our key founders – John Adams (our 2nd POTUS):

      The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

      (from A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America [1787-1788])

      November 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      mama k,

      Thusly does righteousness abbreviate upon long forgotten issues of fatherly intensions meant to be applauded then and forgotten of nowadays! We are living amid a day and age of once bitten frugally rent harborages of long ago lavishness. Alas do we ever tender to forget our elder generations once gleamed garnished essences! We live therefore to die an aloneness ever to be content in our mind’s eyes that the great seas of nothingness will be our ever unending rewards for a journey of abrupt lividness living was to be our only rewards! :-(

      November 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  20. James

    What really annoys me is the fact the ga.y rights groups won't let scientists research a method of se.xuality reversal, what about the ga.y people that want to be straight? Because they want a family like the one they were raised in.

    November 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Gay people don't want to be straight unless they were brainwashed by those around them to believe that being gay is wrong.

      Gay people can have a family with the person they love.

      There is no "fix" for being gay because there is nothing wrong with being gay.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @James
      Every method tried thus far to change people's orientation has been proven to be psychologically harmful.
      The American Psychiatric Association's official web site notes that: "There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change one’s se.xual orientation, nor is it included in the APA's Task Force Report, Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. More importantly, altering se.xual orientation is not an appropriate goal of psychiatric treatment. Some may seek conversion to heterose.xuality because of the difficulties that they encounter as a member of a stigmatized group. Clinical experience indicates that those who have integrated their s.exual orientation into a positive sense of self function at a healthier psychological level than those who have not. 'Gay affirmative psychotherapy' may be helpful in the coming out process, fostering a positive psychological development and overcoming the effects of stigmatization. A position statement adopted by the Board in December 1998 said: The American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy, which is based upon the assumption that ho.mose.xuality per se is a mental disorder, or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/ her hom.ose.xual orientation.'"

      November 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @James
      For your perusal:
      "The Pseudo-Science Of Se.xual Orientation Conversion Therapy" by Douglas Haldeman, Ph.D.
      http://drdoughaldeman.com/doc/Pseudo-Science.pdf

      November 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • DianeL

      There have been many, and I have known one personally, who have lived for years as straight. The person I knew had a wife and kids but he was never happy. He was miserable and made those around him miserable too. Once he came out and admitted he was gay he became a different guy. There were hurdles to bare, ie divorce, telling his parents and such but in the long run he is a much happier person then he ever was before.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.