Thanksgiving of 1996 I was drunk at the home of two prominent San Diego physicians. So drunk that when I started with my probing questions in front of the dinner party of 15 you could hear a pin drop…a mile away. I was naive. Not necessarily sheltered, but my parents moved me to a tiny, LDS prominent and oppressive town in Northern Arizona. We never talked about the topics that mattered. We never really saw or experienced diversity anymore. We never discussed love, marriage, sexuality, feelings or what happens when you grow up and move out. So my question to the couple, “What is it like to be gay?” was valid on my part and appalling on theirs.
I could not help to ask, despite the fallout. Feeling we were in a safe environment and understanding of my true daftness, these gentlemen engaged me in the most loving and fascinating conversation about sexuality, love, nature, the cosmos and religion. We drank more wine than I can recall and as we retired to the back yard to smoke, we blathered more about travel, life, following your heart and being authentic. Feeling the wet and the salt in the California air as thoughts whirred in my head and I felt so enlightened. The love and grace these two men extended me in my young, naive, drunken stupor was magnificent, they jump started my understanding about what life was like to live without blinders and escaping the oppressive confines of normalcy.
What I learned that holiday weekend was the basics of humanity, the mechanics of people. Love has no boundaries, restrictions, identities. Passion that is riotous and unbridled is a gift only to be harnessed and used for doing good in the world. I truly embraced and understood equality, unity, all because of a beautiful, interracial, gay couple. With all of this being said, a landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court just a few weeks ago recognized that a union between same-sex couples would be deemed lawful. My heart soared for my friends, family and my mind tracked to this moment in my life where I gained a once in a life time perspective about people, love, understanding and tolerance.
Now 20 years later while perusing Facebook, an older, more conservative, reborn Christian version of myself, I felt exactly as I did all those years ago. Only I viewed this from the standpoint not only of the aforementioned, but as a parent. Would I want society to spit on my children and treat them this way? Would I want society to treat anyone’s child this way?
My ultra evangelical friends, the conservatives and what not’s all had their day and opinion to share on Facebook regarding the ruling. I was rather appalled, though not surprised, at those who claimed to follow Christ and their response. Their lack of tolerance and understanding. The piercing judgment was enough to cut me to my soul and question how they would think of me just because I am different. I questioned their stance because I understood this simple idea of being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and or transgender (LGBT) is to love the sinner, hate the sin. I use sinner and sin loosely for the reason that we all are sinners and living in sin, no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts'” about the situation. So why do we judge people so harshly? Why are we attacking our fellow brothers and sisters as if they are the lepers of the community?
I suppose the attack is based on fear. The unknown. The lack of education, awareness, understanding, and unconditional love for people who are different from us. Or maybe I am a free loving, hippie liberal who drinks way too much water and eats way too many non-GMO, organic foods. Tisk tisk. Could I be on to something? You see a friend mentioned to me that someone suggested that LGBT have a “choice” in their sexual identity, preference and attraction. My rebuttal was this: did the apostles have a choice to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ? I explained the situation in this matter.
The apostles who bore witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ went forth and shared their testimony of what they experienced. They shared the Good News of Jesus’ great love for the world, for people (sinners) and these men willingly, let me repeat, willingly died for bearing witness. Who would endure such great pain, suffering and ridiculous persecution if what they saw and experienced were not true? Now please explain to me why our brothers and sisters who bear witness and share their testimony of love for another of the same sex would wish to endure the same pain, suffering and persecution if their sexuality were a “choice.”
Take a moment please to let that sink in.
If life was so easy to choose who you love why wouldn’t we all be loving and falling in love all over the place. Wouldn’t ISIS be eradicated? Wouldn’t hate crimes be annihilated? What does it matter who loves whom, gay, straight or otherwise? Love is love right?
So why are we choosing to out, judge, belittle and treat so harshly our fellow brothers and sisters, albeit LGBT, as the worst of all sinners? As if their love somehow undermines my love and infringes on my marriage. Who says and thinks these thoughts? Who are we to identify, rebuke, and exploit THEIR sin? Where do we have the right? I truly am confused and not understanding.
Why do only hetero couples have the opportunity to be married, divorced, miserable in both? What is the difference? Are we banking marriage solely on Biblical law? If so then we would be stoning our children to death for lying (Deuteronomy), slaughtering animals on a weekly, if not daily basis, to seek good favor with the Lord (Leviticus), and those who have been divorced (men and women alike) would be unable to remarry because divorce is a sin and women would be deemed “unclean” to remarry and each an adulterer (Proverbs, Ezekiel, Malachi, Matthew, Romans, I & II Corinthians, Hebrews). I digress.
I see marriage today, in our uber modern, industrialized society as more of a legally binding contract (covenant), much like the Biblical law for you religious aficionados. Marriage was enforced as a contract to claim your women, like property. Marriage was like a title or deed to identify what was yours, think of a cattle brand from a rancher.
Today marriage is a societal template and norm to have a mate, to join in a legally binding contract in which we share our love, finances, property and life together. I can say that marriage is a legal (civil) contract, not as a “holy bonds of matrimony” as my marriage certificate indicates. I do not feel I entered into a holy bond of matrimony as I never married in a church.
Did I marry under the all seeing eyes of God? Yes. Holy? No.
You see I was married to my husband by my former used car sales manager Steve Hayward. Steve was a heavier set vegan who was ordained for $15 by the National Enquirer. He joined us in our “holy bonds” in an atrium. Our ceremony was led through Navajo blessings, poetry and literature. I see my marriage as being the same as my friends who wish to engage in a same-sex union and marriage. I see their love just as I see my love, unconditional, unbridled, blind and ever forgiving. I see love just the way Jesus loved people; unconditionally, pure, forgiving, kind, gentle and eternal. Our LGBT brothers and sisters have a great deal to teach us if we would learn to accept them as we should, accept them as people like you and I, love them as Christ loved (loves) us.
My naivety and eagerness to understand what life is like for someone not like me gave me an amazing experience and knowledge I wish so many could experience. People are people. Being brazen enough while a drunken teen at an eclectic Thanksigivng dinner with people who had lived, experienced and traveled in life afforded me a knowledge like none other. I am forever grateful. Will I be seen as blasphemous for this post? Most likely. Will you disagree? Sure. However, I can say with a loving heart and conviction as a Christian woman that I cannot judge my fellow brothers and sisters, I see no reason or desire. I cannot judge them for their choices, not for their life, not for how they have sex in the bedroom, I cannot and have no place to judge them or anyone else for that matter. What I can do, is to continue to love on them as an equal person in my life as I’ve always done. I can support that my LGBT friends and family honor and respect the institution of marriage, the bonds of love and the importance of family. The Supreme Court ruling changed everything for them and nothing for me, the ruling proved that love and marriage are equal.