The Stand on Same-Sex Marriage

Today, the President of the United States has publicly taken a stand in favor of same-sex marriage.  NY Times flashed it on my computer screen.    NPR aired the news and weighed in on the airwaves.  ABC recorded the interview on Good Morning America.

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride.

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listened to the news and I can totally relate to the President’s struggles to come to terms with this issue.  One the one hand, I was raised a Roman Catholic.  I was educated in institutions that espoused kindness, tolerance, and understanding—all very Christian virtues at that!  And so, living these ideals has pointed me towards making all efforts to understand people different from me.

When I went to college, I attended a co-ed Jesuit university in Manila.  It was considered a more liberal Catholic university. But then, Jesuits were always ahead of their time, as they say.  I became friends with many people from all backgrounds.  Because of the rigor of our chosen academic pursuit, we spent a lot of time together in and out of the classroom, in the laboratories, at the library, in study groups.  The material to be covered was just so vast.  It made sense to help one another.  I met some of the most remarkable gays and lesbian friends.  They were smart, witty, generous and full of empathy.  They were no different from me, a straight woman, in aspirations and philosophies.  They changed my view of homosexuality completely.

At our Theology of Marriage class, our professor spent a few lectures talking about gays and lesbians.  You have to understand, this was in the late 70’s.  At that time, homosexuality was taboo in Manila.  People did not speak about it in genteel company.  And if someone in a family was openly gay, it was considered an embarrassment, a cross to bear, or a liability.  And so, when our professor talked about homosexuality as no longer   considered by the scientific institutions a disease or condition but rather a conscious choice, preference, or act of volition.  Imagine how revolutionary the idea was at that time!  I could still see some students in my class squirming.

Fast forward to my days living in Toronto in the late 80’s.  One of my uncle’s friends was a family doctor who had a long-term relationship with a designer who specialized in African and Asian art.  Theirs was a well-respected and well-accepted same-sex relationship.  Or so it seemed.  One unfortunate evening, however, the family doctor had a heart attack. Needless to say, he did not make it through the night.  What was very surprising was how his family descended upon his assets like wolves on a feeding frenzy over unprotected cubs.  The result was a legal battle over properties, bank accounts, vacation homes, etc.  The designer lost most of whatever assets he helped build over their more than 15 years together.  He had no legal claim, the courts told him.  There lies the problems with civil unions.

Canada has come a long way since then. So has Europe, and a host of other first world countries.  It’s time the United States came to terms with this issue.

My daughter and her friends have taught me over the years that it’s all right to be tolerant. It makes for a healthier world.  Their generation is changing the conversation about gays, about people of color, about the environment.  They are continuing the conversation about civil rights, about women’s rights.  Theirs is a generation that does not swallow dogma just because it has been handed down through generations or that some pastor or pope says so.  Theirs is a generation that questions accepted norms that restrict, that discriminate, that commit a group to lesser opportunity.  They have earned my respect and admiration.

I shake my head at the self-righteous lot who quote directly from “their bible.”  What is it about this group that they are allowed to cherry-pick passages they want and expand and bend its interpretation to their narrow convictions?  Let’s try a few here:

Leviticus 18:22:  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination…

That’s literal.  Can it be wrong? Probably.  Check these out too:

Leviticus 25:44-46:  Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.

That’s promoting slavery. And you can buy slaves from outside of your circle or those who are not like you but are temporary (immigrants?).  Is this wrong?  You betcha!

There’s also a passage whereby anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD will be put to death, or that we are prohibited from eating shellfish, or how we are to slaughter our goats.  Why do these not deserve special attention by these self-righteous groups?  Or should the relevance to the current climate as influenced by progress in may aspects of our lives lead us to define what has become irrelevant and even inhuman?

The religious who claim holiness need to live and breathe their lectures on life and charity, not use their religion to put forth their prejudices that are born of fear and ignorance. It’s about time they truly emulated Jesus, if they truly adore him.  A little humility, kindness and commons sense will go a long way.

This entry was posted in gays and lesbians, Human Rights, LGBT, same-sex marriage and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Stand on Same-Sex Marriage

  1. John Todaro says:

    excellent post, courageous blogging.

    Like

  2. auntyuta says:

    Heterosexuals live openly in so-called ‘de-facto’ relationships.

    These days homosexuals likewise can live openly in ‘de-facto’ relationships. No discrimination there! And correct me if I’m wrong, can they not make their will accordinglyso that their partner inherits everything?

    A ‘marriage-ceremony’ to my mind is not so much a ‘legal’ ceremony but an emontional one. My goodness, if they want to have a ceremony like this, why deny them this? It all depends on whether you think a ‘marriage ceremony’ is important or not, doesn’t it? Every-one should be allowed to make up their own mind on this.

    There was a time when people were discriminated against when they had children out of wedlock. Hasn’t this changed quite a lot also?

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  3. munchow says:

    Coming from a small country where guy rights is not an issue any more (although of course there are still people opposed to guys there, too), it’s so strange to follow the harsh discussion in the States. I don’t understand the big deal. Why can’t people just be as they choose to themselves? Why does everybody else have to decide what is right or wrong? Particularly the religious righteous makes me angry. Doesn’t their god speak of love and compassion? I do find their prejudices quite upsetting, to say the least. Yes, more humility, kindness and commons sense.

    Like

  4. Malou says:

    It takes a great deal of courage to take a stand on a morality-defining issue. Holland though a very small country in Europe has always been on the forefront of issues that were too hot to handle and in the past has made a lot of waves on the front page for being the first country in the world to legalize same-sex union. In the end, it seems that many countries are taking the same path at recognizing individual choices and preferences.

    Same Catholic background and educated in a Catholic school, I also struggled with these issues since I came here but learned that the Dutch are just more tolerant on these issues.

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    • likeitiz says:

      I think that the Vatican and Cathilicism as a whole need to evaluate their tenets or they will cease to be relevant to the younger generation who dare not just to question, debate, disprove. Globalization and technology has accelerated all this. And you know what. It makes for a better world.

      Like

  5. Thanks for the personal sharing and interesting vignettes. I have watched the evolution of attitudes in the US, and it IS pretty remarkable, though with a long way yet to go. As to President Obama’s statement, the skeptics will mainly say that it is politically motivated or that it was a blunder (loving to point out any and all of his “blunders”), but it makes sense to me as genuine. He IS more traditional and “conservative” (in certain ways) than many think, and he is in an age bracket that is typically not as open as the under-40s but not as closed as the over 55 or 60s…. Probably the 40-60 age bracket is the “swing” group currently, but as time passes, this group gets smaller and the currently-younger, larger… so trends are positive!

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    • likeitiz says:

      Then I must be such a flaming liberal for my age group, Peter. Yes, the United States has a long way to go. So does the Philippines. So do most Muslim countries when it comes to the issues of equality.

      The skeptics and critics can say what they want but this is the first sitting president who has dared to take a stand on such a controversial issue. And the deliberation shows that the conclusion was arrived at after much thought, much research and weighing of various factors, consideration of societal and global trends. At least this president thinks. He has shown he will stand by what he believes in. I respect that.

      Now, if the social conservatives will direct the conversation to this issue and not to more pressing matters like the economy and jobs, then they have shown us that theirs is to be nothing but petty and frivolous. As Eleonor Roosevelt said: ” Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

      Thank you for dropping by.

      Like

  6. Writerlious says:

    Kudos to Obama for having the courage to do this. I think it’s high time our country starts promoting more tolerance and less hate. Plus, I’m sure pretty much everyone has at least one friend or family member that’s gay or lesbian. It’s almost incongruent to think we should exclude people we love.

    Regardless of anyone’s personal religious beliefs (and I was raised Roman Catholic too), the world will just be a better place if we make space for everyone and stop ostracizing/excluding people. Thanks for posting, Mary-Ann! 🙂

    Like

    • likeitiz says:

      Thank you, Erin. I think what he did was brave. He may be taking a risk for his political career at the moment. I’m imagining his opponents are all foaming in their mouths and galvanizing their constituents. Indeed, it is high time we promoted tolerance and not hate. I can’t understand why these social conservatives are so angry and fearful that they have to be so exclusionary. Reminds me of the Queen Bees and Jocks in middle school who surrounded themselves with their pack, excluding the “un-cool,” but really, all they’re doing is shielding themselves to protect their fears, their insecurities, their sense of ineptitude. The rest of us have moved on. They’re stuck!

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