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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. MagicPanties

    So someone who is for gay rights, who also believes in imaginary beings, is somehow helpful to the cause.
    Well, ok, any help is appreciated.
    They are just choosing not to accept one piece of the ridiculous hogwash that resides in the bible.
    It's a start.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  2. eclectic8

    How can you call yourself a person of faith and deny the very teachings of that faith? This is a case of dishonesty. Or, their faith is in the god of their own making, certainly not the holy God of the Bible.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Edweird69

      Well, apparently the living god has changed his mind, and allowed xtians to eat shrimp (which is an abomination). Maybe he's changed his mind about gays too. Perhaps he needs to spend less time peeping thru keyholes, and more time feeding starving babies.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Says you. What authority do you have to decide who is Christian?

      December 1, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • eclectic8

      Edweird, your comments reveal your ignorance. All I can say to you who think being a Christian is whatever you want it to be need to get back to the Bible.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Edweird69

      @eclectic – Ignorant of what? Please enlighten me with your brilliance. The bible is very clear also, on women not wearing men's clothes. Everyday, I see so called xtian women wearing pants. I never fail to see xtians pray over their Red Lobster dinner of shrimp an lobster. Eclectic, you live in a make-believe world, far removed from reality.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Roger that

      No eclectic8, Edweird69's comments reveal the ability of rational thought.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • mama k

      I agree with Edweird69. Another way to look at it is that no two Christians on the planet agree on correct interpretation of the Bible, and or course large groups of them, even within the same denomination, have drastically different tenets. And those conflicts go to the very core and the very beginnings of Christianity.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Damocles

      @mama

      Good to see you and I totally agree. If the followers can't get the belief right, how in the world can they think to preach to anyone else.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Simran

      Eclectic,
      God is a making of man's own neurons. Only some like to paint their own picture, others just copy paste what pastors tell them to.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. Terry

    It is amazing to me the amount that people are willing to test God. As a Pastor and as well as these who support this should know we will be judged a lot harsher than those we lead. A few years ago a very good man and Reverend put out a tract called the Sin of Tolerance, Rev. Billy Graham, in which he warns about tolerance and how it can compromise your relationship with God. There are many things out there that people do for the good of mankind but good things do not make it to heaven only a personal relationship with Him can do it. In the end each of us is responsible for only ourselves when it comes to salvation, but for those of us who choose a life of serving and sermonizing we will be judged for what we have taught others.

    And one thing more, I read on the Pew Research center that 1 in 5 Pastors (?) or something like 20% of those teaching about the bible have never read it themselves. That there are some Clergy who are only in for the money...so be careful of who you follow because you should not be following man but follow God instead. Read the bible for yourself and decide then do not let others tell you what is in it but learn for yourself. If after reading it you come to the conclusion that Gay Marriage is okay, well so be it because you have decided what to follow and not allowed someone else to dictate it.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      It is amazing to me the amount of people that take for granted the existence of a god...
      Chew on that for a bit.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Edweird69

      I stopped reading your post after about the first 2 sentences. Any god, who has committed the horrors your god has, and would "judge" others, is a kangaroo court judge. After the horrors of the supposed great flood, where millions of innocents were drowned, the holocaust, and countless other atrocities, he has the colossal gall to judge me? really?

      December 1, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Freedom From Religion Foundation has set up a support group and fund for the many pastors who are admitting that they don't believe in "god" and are quitting the church. This is very easy, (AND FULFILLING) for someone like me, an average atheist who was raised christian and learned to read and think and believe in reason, logic, and science. For the clergy it IS TRUE HELL, (a real one, not the imaginary one of "faith") They are ostracized from friends, family, and INCOME from the delusion they've been spreading. FFRF.org also has a nice little bible quiz and quiz on SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The god of the bible is an abuser and you are promoting that abuse.

      Signs you are in an abusive relationship

      - Monitors what you're doing all the time
      - Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
      - Threatens to hurt you, or your children if you don’t love him
      - Blames you for his or her violent outbursts or shortcomings
      -Being se.xually controlling
      - You have an impending sense of consequence that will come if you don't "obey."
      -Tells you that you are “nothing” without him

      December 1, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Simran

      Personalized god! Sure, you do live in a delusional world!!!

      December 1, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Clara

      Terry, you're a pastor? Shame on you for promoting your disgusting, immoral, violent Christian superstitions and living off the proceeds. Shame, shame, shame on you.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Simran

      Cheesemakers, :) You made my day! I cant stop LOL!!!

      December 1, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Roger that

      "good things do not make it to heaven only a personal relationship with Him can do it. "

      That's right folks. It doesn't matter how good you are. That won't get you into heaven. You will burn for eternity if you don't have a relationship with God. That way when you get murdered and go to heaven, you can hang out with the serial killer rapist that killed you and then later asked God for salvation seconds before being executed. You two can have a jolly good time talking about that crazy day when he killed your ass. You both can also have a big laugh with God discussing how he is torturing all of those people in hell for all of eternity. Sounds lovely. Can I come?

      December 1, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Glad you liked that Simran!

      It is funny (and really sad) because it is true. So many people have been brainwashed in making excuses for the immorality of the god of Abraham. I wouldn't treat my worst enemy the way the god of the bible treats his 'children' and then to claim that god is the source of our morality is rediculous.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "It is amazing to me the amount that people are willing to test God."

      How am I testing a god that I do not believe in? What about those who don't share your god?

      December 1, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Terry – I'll tell you what I tell all charlatans that knock on my door – fuck off!

      December 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  4. Ted

    Brampt, believers in your fairy tale god hold less and less sway in the modern world. Fewer and fewer people care what your crazy "god" is thought to approve of by religious nuts like you. That is a great trend and the outcome is one to look forward to.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours Richard Dawkins

      Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
      Isaac Asimov

      There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.
      Richard Lederer

      Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
      Seneca the Younger 4 b.c.- 65 a.d.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Tom Sawyer

      @Nietodarwin – I believe your first quote should actually be credited to Stephen F. Roberts, not to Richard Dawkins.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      SORRY, Tom Sawyer YOU are correct I just copied and pasted from a quote site
      “All right, then, I'll go to hell..”
      _ Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (When Huck decides he would rather burn in eternity than follow "good christian rules" and turn his friend Jim into the slave catchers.

      December 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  5. teavangelist

    two words – Gaetan Dugas

    December 1, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Two words: fundie dummy.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Edweird69

      So what's crib death? Curse on babies? Does this make lesbian's god's chosen people. You are truly a judgmental slime.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • mama k

      Wow. You are a complete idiot. But you moniker isn't surprising.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • teavangelist

      Dummy, Idiot, ect. ect. no-one prove me wrong?

      December 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • teavangelist

      Attn: Edward

      I was talking about a contagion spreading by behavior of choice here. You still think your example fits? your talking about a 'straw man' here.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • mama k

      "Dummy, Idiot, ect. ect. no-one prove me wrong?"

      Perhaps because you didn't make an assertion? (which I now see you've subsequently made). Idiot.

      December 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • mama k

      And actually – even your "explained assertion" is stupid. Do you really think the alleged first person to transmit knew what it was he was carrying? And what are you insinuating by choice – his promiscuity, orientation? Explain thy self further so as to not look like a fool and/or bigot that I suspect you are.

      December 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  6. Clyde M

    My parents were born in the deep South in the 40's. Not that there is not still racism in America, but it has always fascinating me how in the span of only one generation the world can transform from the separate drinking fountains and church bombings of their youth to my having black friends without care and the country a black president. And now I have an infant daughter and I think how when she is in her 20's and gay people can get married and a gay man or woman is running for high office, she'll turn to me and ask if the world really used to be so cruel as to assault gay persons and rights so regularly.

    The world can and will change. I am ashamed to see that my world was so bigoted as to require change, but proud to see it beginning to be willing to change. All I can do is try to leave it a little better place for my children, and that means less bigotry, more rights, and better dialogue between differing opinions.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Changing as we speak. PAT ROBERTSON came out against creationism yesterday. The horrible influence of religion is beginning to end. I'm a straight male, who has 'back doored" a woman, so I can see how gays would enjoy that. I enjoy watching judgmental xstians get all upset about these things just as much. ( I like to taunt and torment delusional xstians who are doing so much harm to our government, our society, and especially to children everyday.( That other stuff I've barely done, I guess for an atheist I'm still a conservative xstian lover.) The 1st amendment guaranties freedom FROM religion as well as of religion. I'm so glad to see all the atheist speaking out, (because we can, on the internet, without fear of being murdered.) Islam and Christianity are not based on logic,or love, and they have survived all this time by use of MURDER to silence those who would point out that there is something better, called reason. You "believers" can contest my saying this all you want, there are hundreds of years of recorded history of hundreds of MURDERS to back up my statement. As far as my life, my most "spiritually" fulfilling awakening was when I became brave enough to say that of course, there is no god, what I've been taught is hogwash, and I"M SO HAPPY NOW THAT I KNOW GOD DOES NOT EXIST.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Edweird69

      Nietodarwin – fantastic post! spot on!

      December 1, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  7. teavangelist

    CONTRASTS

    Chritian:-

    Tough love

    hate the sin, love the sinner

    forgive the sins (e.g. the wife I mentioned before who forgave hubby after tests for diseases like A-IDS which come with the territory of such perversity of course)

    Other :-

    Indulge bad habits

    Encourage sinner to sin

    dont forgive. bear grudges. call others bigots when you dont agree with them

    December 1, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Edweird69

      We don't hate the religionist, just the religion.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      of course what you say about "others" is absolutely false... do Jews encourage sin and so forth? Do you think that by Islamic definition, they encourage sin? And so forth...
      As a matter of fact, it could be said that Christians are sinners depending on the perspective one adopts...
      Can you say religiocentrism?

      December 1, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      I don't call someone a bigot based on what belief they have or don't have, I call them a bigot because they fit the definition of the word by being hateful towards a specific group of people without justified reason.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • mama k

      To echo part of what FreeFromTheism wrote, the Other is just as much another Christian as it is anyone else. That's what's so useless about Christianity ally by itself – conflicted so bad that everyone else has to live their lives in the cross-fire.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • teavangelist

      Islam doesnt encourage sin but all of you are, when you tolerate h0m0s3xual behavior. or unborn human murders. We dont hate gay's we encourage them to fight the sinful impulses. Like all of us want pe-dos and best-yalists to fight their impulses.

      again, hate the sin love the sinner

      December 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • mama k

      again, teapot – your unfounded tenets are thankfully having less and less meaning in the U.S., even among other Christians – so we'll see you at the polls.

      December 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  8. AB

    They mistaking the true God the Great I am for manmade object and their filthiness. They honestly think that the true God can be mistaking and will negotiate with them when He returns. They are disrespecting the true God because they want people to agree with their sins. What they don't understand is that if the Lord turns his head for one second away from the world, they are all will turn chaotic with their foolish ideas. What good are humans done for this world other than destroying it? Very soon they are going to turn this world in to Sodom and Gomorrah. The good news is Jesus still in control for those who think that us Christians are crazy because we believe on a God that we can’t see.
    These so call empty religious people with their ridicule ideas think that they can mix sin with the true God. If they really know the true God and read their Bibles, they will discover what the Lord said about gay encounters. Us real Christians who read the real living Bible take the Word of the Lord very seriously. We love everyone including gay people but we can’t dismiss the Word of the Lord either. Real religious people who have fear for the Lord will know that the Lord's Word should not be taking slightly. Very soon everyone will see who the true God is and this is good news for real Christians because one day the world will know that they were telling the truth and too bad for the world because it will be too late for them.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • sneeky

      Once more – in English this time please??

      December 1, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Al

      The presence of religion does more harm. Most of the hate and destruction today is religion based. Is it surprising that the Bible Belt fought so strongly to keep slavery and fight against civil rights? Your religion is not good. Your God is not good. Someday your religion will disappear and life will go on.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • mama k

      Tell you what. Try having in the U.S. a Conference of Christians and have them ratify a common set of tenets that cover issues such as inclusion of gay couples, etc., and then get back to us on the "real Christians" thing.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • UncleBenny

      That was English. A dialect known as Chaotic.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    December 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • snowboarder

      whenever the toilet overflows i say a little prayer, but i always know to bring the plunger anyway.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • why?

      You have your mouth to clean up with.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • snowboarder

      why – that was almost witty.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Edweird69

      Really? One of the Xtians I work with is on his death bed with cancer. Terminally ill, and much younger than me. Looks like if prayer changes things, must not be for the better.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • why?

      Not witty – accurate.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor why? Your desperation is palpable.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • snowboarder

      why – my comment is accurate, yours is a childish jab at fact.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Mac

      GOD is the biggest lie PERIOD!!! So that means prayer does not work.. According to study in 1975 .
      http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbc-news/50024646/#50024646

      December 1, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Biff

      Did you know that if you play Amazing Grace backwards is says to drink beer and eat potato salad? Freaky.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Did you know that you can sing the words to "House of the Rising Sun" to the tune of Amazing Grace?

      December 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      ... and vice versa.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  10. snowboarder

    nearly 25 years ago when i was in the military, surrounded by macho anti-gay stereotypes, i was also vocally anti gay, though i had no real reason to be. one day my wife came to me and informed me that a very close friend was afraid to tell me that she was gay. i was truly ashamed.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • snowboarder

      this was a person i had known since college, a good, honest, christian person and she was afraid i would reject her. my friend was not deviant or sinful. at that point it was painfully obvious that the stigma of being gay was absolute nonsense.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And think about all the gay children of macho parents. . .

      December 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Edweird69

      Hey Snowboarder – you were just feeling the way you were taught to feel about gay people. Glad you got in touch with your true self, and learned that "taught hatred, or taught behaviors" can often be harmful to yourself and others. You sound like a very well-rounded person.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • snowboarder

      thanks ed. i imagine that most people when confronted with the reality of gay friends and family would immediately change their tune.

      unfortunately for this girl, it took her western PA parents 20 years to come to the same conclusion.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Edweird69

      My mom was brainwashed into the Pentecostal cult. There came a day when she had to admit I was gay, but it didn't take her that long to "come around". We ended up closer than most of my other siblings did. She ended up rejecting the church taught hatred, and loved me unconditionally. Once she met my partner, she loved him too. Most of my family came around, and treated us the same as everyone else. Unfortunately, a couple of brothers are still embarrassed, and shun me. But, it's ok. I don't accept conditional love. We just keep our relationships cordial.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      snowboarder,

      My niece came out 3 years ago and married her partner 2 years ago. My family of Catholics, Baptists had to make a choice between the person they loved and the rediculous BS of their faith. They picked correctly. I think the more people that have to deal with the issue personally is what is going to change atti.tudes. Good for you snowboarder that is a great story.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • mama k

      Yes, good for you, snow. I don't know for sure yet, but want to be prepared if one of my grandchildren tell me they are gay. And I try to make it clear that I don't want to judge them in any way. But of course I don't want to interfere with how their parenting, but so far I am please with how my children and their spouses handle things.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  11. KoolD

    Sin remains sin. Get over it.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      SIN is purely biblical and thus has no meaning outside of the buybull...get over it (and move into the 21st century).

      December 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Sin is a bullsh!t concept created by charlatans of bullsh!t cults.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • snowboarder

      "sin" is just a made up word to control the actions of others.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • captain america

      Liar prefails :If you cannot mention the Bible without your filthy misrepresentation then keep your foul comments in your own country. There's your sign

      December 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • David

      And judging others is one sin repeatedly mentioned in the bible.
      But I guess it is easier to judge others than to actually obey God (and your conscience) . . .

      December 1, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • JWT

      People that are not of your particular version of faith are not sinners for not following your version.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Damocles

      And koold remains ignorant. We're over it.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Sin is a fantasy created by power hungry fanatics who try to set themselves up as spokesmen for a "god" and arbiters of "salvation", the ultimate blasphemy.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • mama k

      KoolD, captain asshole, whoever you are, no two Xtians can agree on sin is much less anything else, so your idiotic rants are meaningless.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • mama k

      And captain asshole, are you that stupidly ignorant that you think this website is only used in the U.S.???

      December 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      I was taught all about sin growing up in the Bible Belt. I got over it.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  12. Mac

    GOD is the biggest lie PERIOD!!!
    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbc-news/50024646/#50024646

    December 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  13. Just the Facts

    Religion is like a pe nis, some are big and some are small, some people have one and some do not. It's fine to have one and it's fine to be proud of it, but please don't whip it out in public and start hitting people over the head with it... and PLEASE don't try to shove it down a child's throat.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  14. nadinesh

    Wonderful!! I'm so glad about this heartwarming story. First of all, I'm glad that there are significant Christian organizations - as well as individuals - out there that are showing true Christian values of charity, love and acceptance. Secondly, I'm so glad that people are proud to stand up and identify themselves as religious AND tolerant. It's about time we took back faith from the close-minded, literal-minded bigots, who always act as though they own faith, God and Abrahamic religions. Stories like this make me proud to be an American.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Skip

      I like what you wrote. I read it again while humming Lee Geenwood's "I'm proud to be an American" and liked it even more.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Ted

      Nice sentiments, nadinesh, but Christianity and other supersti-tions with no foundation in evidence will always provide platforms for extremists. Better to put aside the supersti-tions entirely.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  15. Dean

    snowboarder: There is the devil and there is God the Father, with him is God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Christianity is less a religion, if at all, but is the relationship with God through his son Jesus who died and rose again a little over 2000 years ago to provide saving grace for us from our sins (see John 3:16 in the NIV bible). God himself is eternal, although the universe is decaying due to mans fall into sin as a result of Adam's disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden. All other religions worship a man, a manmade object, or one or more attributes of God. Only saving faith in Jesus will bring eternal life and true satisfaction for now and eternity.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Edweird69

      Why would anyone want to spend eternity with someone whom they had to be saved from? He's more than willing to toss your azzz into a lake of fire, for the slightest infraction. What a preek!

      December 1, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • snowboarder

      dean – ridiculous supersti tions maintained by fear and coercion. eternal life or damnation are simply the constructs of ignorant men afraid of the unknown and death. the entire christian doctrine is absurd.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Blarg

      Dean, no one cares. Your ancient fairy tale is boring and no longer applicable to the modern world. Pack it up, chief, your team lost.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • snowboarder

      can anyone imagine the audacity to believe that the entire universe was spoiled because of the single action of a single person. truly unimaginable. who is really stupid enough to believe such tripe?

      December 1, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Jon

      You sound like a commercial for "The Bible". You really need to get a life of your own and stop hiding behind some Sci Fi character.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Al

      All other religions worship a man, a manmade object, or one or more attributes of God.

      Your religion worships the invisible unprovable god. How convenient. How do you fix that? Oh you just throw in a David Koresh type character named Jesus to help sell it. Still not covincing enough? Then your religion tells people they will burn for eternity. Some still aren't convinced. Then your religion actually sets people on fire. That worked for a while. Now we are in the 21st century. The jig is up.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • worktolive

      Any church that accepts gay marriage and the gay agenda is a failing church. It is a sinful lifestyle and as such needs to be treated that way just as co habitation is a sinful lifestyle. Hopefully, our church will close it's doors and have church in christian homes before it will accept this agenda. It is a sin to hate anyone – but churches need to stick to the Bible-period.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • JWT

      Which version of which bible do they need to stick to ? Amazing enough they all stick to some form fo the bible.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • AB

      Thank you Dean, it is time someone tell them the truth. They mistaking the true God the Great I am for man made object and their filtiness. They honestly think that the true God can be mistaking and will negotiate with them when He returns.

      These so call empty religious people with their ridicule ideas think that they can mix sin with the true God. If they really know the true God and read their Bibles, they will discover what the Lord said about gay encounters. Us real Chritians who read the real living Bible take the Word of the Lord very seriously. We love everyone including gay people but we can dismiss the Word of the Lord either. A real religious person who have fear for the Lord will know that the Lord's Word should not be taking slightly. Very soon every one will see who the true God is and this is good news for real Christians because one day the world will know that they were telling the truth and too bad for the world because it will be too late for them.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Ted

      AB, most religions claim that their god is the big kahuna. It's part of how they keep their support up. Proof or put your supersti-tion away please. The world is moving past it.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'AB' contains a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      December 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Dean,

      Your myth makes no sense, your god needs to quit blaming us for his mess.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • UncleBenny

      "There is the devil [no, there's not] and there is God the Father [nope], with him is God the Son (Jesus) [nope], and God the Holy Spirit [nope again, and no to everything else you said].

      December 1, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  16. Seneca

    Humans are derange... we believe we are bigger and powerful than God...

    December 1, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • snowboarder

      seneca – which of the multi tude of gods are you referring?

      December 1, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Seneca

      You see? The derange word works like a magnet to derange people who usually believe they are more important than the Creator.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Al

      The red "squirrel like" god named Zoinks which lives on Neptune of course. Zoinks is the only true god.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • snowboarder

      seneca – which creator would that be? there are a myriad of creation stories.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Edweird69

      I am more powerful than something that doesn't exist.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Damocles

      @Al

      It is with great sadness and oddly a bit of pride that I must inform you that the actual True Deities, Cat and Proxy Cat, made squirrle pate out of bushy-tailed Zoinks. I am told he was delicious and fulfilling.

      Cat Rules, Proxy Cat Rules when She is Away

      December 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Edweird69

      I believe the word your looking for is "deranged", not "derange"...duh.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Al

      Holy litter box!

      December 1, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Damocles

      @Al

      Yes, that is where Zoinks ended up.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  17. lionlylamb

    We, as being but microbiology’s god-built buildings, for we do labor tenuously together and in equal measures; to find struggles with God and all his generations so being his family members and servants and other godly brethren living inside our body-like buildings of sub-cosmological wonders! 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!" Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

    We or rather our eternal wills were literally there in the very beginning moments of Creation itself. We lived throughout timeliness upon the inner cosmos within a scale so minutely small that the immensity of many things could be thought of as being but upon the head of a pin! We were and still are made mostly of nothingness! Nothingness puts vast distances between what we know of as being neutrons, electrons and protons!

    Ask any science major and they would tell you matter of factually that nothing makes up more space within the atomic cosmos then does the atoms themselves! The Seas of Nothingness reach from the innermost to the outermost ranges of cosmological aberrations! Our bodies themselves are cosmologically ordained cellular cosmological constants of biogenetic wonders and marvels!

    The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism within celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary regularities and solarized objectivism wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.

    Lives, upon the celestial shorelines of the terrestrially compliant are biologic cellular cosmological constants, and were ever formed and are continually forming seemingly forever as well placed living conglomerations in naturalisms arcades of wondrous cavalcades marching in steps of melancholy tributes to God upon the most high Cosmos of universalism’s formidable formations upon and on the most highest of grounds.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

      Ta Eso'

      December 1, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Edweird69

      Too much of a read...good grief.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Blarg

      "Ask any science major and they would tell you matter of factually that nothing makes up more space within the atomic cosmos then does the atoms themselves!"

      That just might be the stupidest sentence I have ever read on the internet. I am amazed. Touche, salesman, touche.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • UncleBenny

      If you were intentionally trying to be totally incomprehensible, you've succeeded.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  18. Seneca

    What if at the end God really exists and he was just waiting for the right time to take care of the mess, us humans, created in his own Real Estate? Some one is the owner of the vast universe and earth and eventually will take care of things... everything in the physical universe is eternal except... the particle of dust called humans.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Mirosal

      In the physical universe, NOTHING is eternal. PLanets get wiped out, stars explode, galaxies can merge, and those stars will also eventually die. Everything in the physical universe has a life-span. For some things it's a matter of days, for other thngs, it's billions of years.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • snowboarder

      one fact is indisputable, with all the deities, religions and doctrines today and throughout history, man is very adept at inventing god.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Seneca

      anything that last billion of years is eternal from our 70 years life lifespan point of view... or for you billion years are just peanuts?

      December 1, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      Snow... he doesn't realize that there is NOT ONE "fact" at all about his god, or ANY god. Should we tell him, or should we keep him in the dark, just like his religion, and his "god", wants him to be?

      December 1, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Seneca

      Why you just don't take a screenshot of your post and save it in a safe place?? Then put it in your refrigerator door to see it everyday until the upcoming global changes are finally visible. That day you will understand.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • snowboarder

      seneca – no need to save it for a day that will never come. your religion is just another of the inventions of supersti tious men. eventually to be discarded on the rubbish heap of history and replaced by another.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

      @Mirosal
      everything is eternal, even the dirt is teaming with life... what you don't see is the transformation. every living thing on this planet transforms while living (if you work at it) ...or dead (the corporal body) To simply say everything dies means your eyes are still closed to the magnificence of this splendid order. What you call destruction is nothing more than transformation and reorder, but nothing is lost ...just changed.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • bobby

      God does exist. A proven fact that the earth and planets could only exist through intelligent design and work. I know God exists. I have seen him amongst the great and noble. He has beard and wears robes. And I have heard from Jesus Christ at least 80 or more times. But, I am unusual. I have been blessed by believers, and been blessed by the hate of non believers. It is much better to be a believer. No blessing come for being a non believer. No love, no family, no health, no friendship, no Holy Spirit for non believers. Jesus did no miracles in Nazareth because people knew Jesus and those of his family. He was just a carpenters son, and his siblings were ordinary. No matter his reputation elsewhere, he did few miracles in Nazareth. However, there are 2,000,000,000 Christians according to the 2000 Time magazine on Christianity.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • UncleBenny

      "A proven fact that the earth and planets could only exist through intelligent design and work. "

      No, it's not. Just because something is complex, it doesn't mean it was designed by some great cosmic designer.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Simran

      Or may be, there were many designers. Like the Hindus believed – Sun god, rain god, water god, wind god...... I hear the Greeks thought so too.

      But that again begs the question – Who designed the Designer!!!

      December 1, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Damocles

      @sim

      As I kinda hinted at earlier, a polytheistic mindset makes more sense. A deity that is 'everything' is null and void.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      bobby: "A proven fact that the earth and planets could only exist through intelligent design and work."

      What proof do you have for this statement? Post it.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Simran

      @ Damocles,
      Yeah, if I were given only two options to chose from – personalized god or polytheism, I would think polytheism makes more sense too! Actually, when I come to think of it, polytheists are at least worshiping nature, trying to harmonize with the world around them (of course, minus the stupid rituals). But theists worship nothing!

      December 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  19. Brampt

    Even tough God doesn't allow gays, we should respect everyones decisions, it is thought by Christ to " love the neighbour as our selfs ". The bible says that God gives its sun and rain to everyone, do many people deserve to live? Probably no, there a lot of evil people out there but God still provides for everyone. But it won't be like that for long,

    7Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.8But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second death.” Rev 21.

    God is very pacient, he promisses to clean our planet from the elements that are morally distroying it, he's giving time for people to make changes in there life style before cleansing comes!

    December 1, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • snowboarder

      more fearmongering for christ. pathetic.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      He's quoting Revelations like it's a real thing!!! lol That book was nothing more than John of Patmos on one seriously bad acid trip!!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Holy Man

      Wow, it's so much fun to try to decipher the rantings of an illiterate.

      YOUR LACK OF ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE IS ASTOUNDING. Please, please, please don't post online when you're not intelligent enough to spell even the most basic of words. "Tough God," huh? "Pacient"? My eleven-year-old can spell more accurately than that...

      December 1, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are fundies like Brampt always idiots who can't spell "cat" without using a dictionary?

      If you are so dumb that you can't spell the words you use, you're too dumb to provide an intelligent interpretation of the Bible and you're certainly too stupid to know what someone human thinks, much less pretend to know what God thinks.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Laughing at "tough," "pacient," "selfs."

      Did you ever get through high school? DId they give you a diploma out of sympathy?

      December 1, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Damocles

      @bram

      It's gotta be tough walking around town with all that ignorance you have crammed in your brain pulling your head down at a sharp 75 degree angle. Maybe your handlers don't let you walk around town. We can only hope.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Clyde M

      Our secular, civil laws are not based on what any one individual's supposed god supposedly wants. If god hates gays, he can deal with them that way when they die. But while they are here on Earth, if their actions do not infringe upon the rights of another, we should not make their lifestyle or relationships illegal on Earth.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • worktolive

      Christians should not "respect" any sin. I don't agree with that at all. Jesus hates the sin but he loves his children.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  20. 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?

    The solution: New census forms should have a check box noting "gay union partner".

    December 1, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Clyde M

      Luckily, modern marriage is not defined simply by what sort of "valid" se.xual positions you can get into and se.xual acts you can commit. Acting like it is, or should be, is a sad, primitive way of viewing the world.

      December 1, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Reality

      Accepting the fact that gay se-x is different from heterose-xual is not sad or primitive. The differences need to be addressed as noted previously because of the added potential of disease transfer and effects on family life if gay couples decide to adopt.

      To wit:

      Consumer Reports, January, 2012

      "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

      Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      December 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Never said disagreeing about how the actual s.ex act is different between straight and gay couples was primitive, only using s.ex acts as the base definition for what should or should not const.itute a valid marriage was. Please read and respond to what is ACTUALLY said if you want to have a valid debate.

      Even if an.al s.ex does raise cancer risk, that is NOT a valid reason to ban gay people from getting married any more than it would be a valid reason to legally ban smokers and non-smokers form getting married (an act which increases the cancer risk of not only both partners, but their offspring, too, FAR more than an.al s.ex raises the cancer risk of those who engage in it).

      December 1, 2012 at 9:27 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.