Thursday, March 28, 2013

Coming Out of the Closet on Same-Sex Marriage

I've been accused of being passionate -- as if that is a crime.  And I admit that I am passionate, especially where justice and equality are concerned.

Having chosen Christianity as my main spiritual discipline, I am sure that many of my Christian friends will not be happy with this blog.  As a matter of fact, I've already received numerous negative reactions to my posts on Facebook that support equality for homosexuals.   And nope, I'm not gay. I assure you that I like men. 

Many of you reading this blog are not in the US and most likely do not know what I'm talking about. Here is what's going on. 

The US Supreme Court is currently in the process of deciding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was enacted into law in 1996 by  President Bill Clinton, who, since then, has changed his mind and recommended the repeal of the law.

DOMA limits marriage benefits offered by the US government to only opposite-sex marriages. Those benefits pertain to taxation, insurance,  and social security, among others.

It is bad enough that, in some states of the US, same-sex weddings are not allowed.  But to deny those already married the rights and privileges that they should have adds insult to injury and is like rubbing salt on a wound.

Ironically for a country  supposedly founded on Christian principles, the US took about 240 years to abolish slavery. The fight for women's rights took about 165 years.  I can only hope that full recognition of same-sex marriage does not become a long protracted struggle that foments division, bigotry and inequality where there should be compassion, justice and love -- Christian values.

I was doing research with the intention of writing a full- blown blog in support of gay people's cry for equality. Afterall, Jesus Christ did not discriminate against anybody.  He embraced even the so-called dregs of society. Besides, as is true in  the field of Law, there is in Scriptures a definite over-riding intent or principle that many of my fellow Christians unfortunately miss -- love.   Jesus Christ was never ambiguous. There are only two primary  commandments in the Bible. One is to love God above all else. The other is to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22: 37-40)

Is denying same-sex couples the rights and privileges enjoyed by hetero-sexual marriages an act of love? Is it the Christian thing to do?

In the course of my research,  a prayer that aptly summarizes what I want to say in this blog jumped right in front of my face. The prayer paraphrases the  Bible's definition of love as articulated in  1 Corinthians 13: 1-13.

The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the United Church of Christ (UCC) in Washington DC  offered the prayer during the interfaith  prayer service that opened the US Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality on March 26, 2013.

Here's the prayer (verbatim):

If I speak like I know everything, like the world revolves around me, but I don't love, I am nothing but a fool at a microphone. 

If I can talk about the Scriptures, and preach better than all the other preachers, and get everybody and their sister coming back to church, but I don't embrace love, then I'm just a silly dude in a robe. 

If I give away all my best stuff, and have all the "Rev. Dr. This and Thats" in front of my name, but I can't recognize love, then I haven't learned a thing. 

Because love, she is amazing. Love is relentless. Love is extra-generous. 

Love looks out for the interests of other people, not just ones own self. 

Love doesn't reserve rights and privileges just for some. Love doesn't promote hierarchies, to the expense of equality, because love just doesn't think that way. Love doesn't work that way. 

Love doesn't hurt people. And love never leaves people out. 

No... Love goes all the way. Love removes every obstacle. Love appeals to the highest court of the land, when necessary.
Love gets up really early in the morning, after having stayed up really late the night before. 

That's how love is. Love always does the right thing,  even when it's hard. Love is fair and just, extravagant and wasteful. Love can never be depleted. 

Now as for long speeches and oral arguments and amicus briefs, they'll play themselves out. And fanatics can cry, "Surely the world will come to an end!" and they too have their rights.  But your love one's embrace at the end of a hard day? .... The dreams you shared... The plans you've made...The inside jokes...The kisses goodnight...Till death do you part. That will never pass away. 

When I was a scared, uncertain, disempowered gay person, I thought and reasoned like a scared, uncertain, disempowered gay person. I thought this day would never come. But now, I've put all that behind me, every limiting thought. 

Yes, we see through murky waters. We're trying to discern every 5 to 4, 6 to 3; 9-to-nothing scenario. But the day is surely coming, when we will be seen, and see each other, as God sees us -- through love, because God is love. 

We have a lot of things to sustain us in this life. There's that quirky optimism that, with God, all things work together for good. And there's always hope, and hope never disappoints. And that's all nice. But more importantly, we've got this big, expansive, inclusive love.
Love! And isn't that the greatest thing?  Isn't it?


 (What the Bible says about love)

(The two greatest commandments of Jesus Christ)

(Why homosexuality is not a sin)

(Why recognizing gay rights is good for the economy)

(On a Christian church's support for gay equal rights)

- Ariel Murphy


  1. Beautiful, Ariel!!! I was going to tell you...'I couldn't have said it better myself'...and expect you to take it as a compliment. But, the reality is - I could never hope to be as thorough in my research, concise in my statements, nor as eloquent with my words as you. Absolutely, stunningly beautiful, Ariel!!!

    1. Thank you for the compliment Paul. I'm accepting it. :) For the longest time I refrained from articulating my views about gay marriage for fear of annoying many of my Christian friends who are against the idea (although I do have Christian friends who believe like I do). My friends say that they love gays, not hate them but that they are against gays getting married. That really gave me a lot of cognitive dissonace. Something was awry in that kind of position and inconsistent with what I believe is the essential message in Scriptures -- love above all else. The Supreme Court's current hearings on DOMA inspired me to be fearless, leave my closet and offer my views to others. I've received many negative feedbacks from fellow Christians. They are entitled to their opinion just as I am entitled to mine. But going out of my closet and writing about it at least assuaged my troubled conscience.

    2. As you say in your FB posting "Justice and love; not bigotry and inequality" I admire your bravery. "Here's the thing about rights. They're not supposed to be voted on. That's why they call them rights." - Rachel @Maddow. Based on your blog today, I expect The Rachel Maddow show will soon be offering you a job on their staff...could be a whole new career for you! I'm honored to know you, Ariel, and proud to call you my friend.

    3. Awwww Paul, you warm this old-young heart of mine. :) But I must say that you do have a rather uber wild imagination. The Rachel Maddow show? lol! I'm glad that I have a friend like you who dares think out of the box. Thank you Paul for being there amd for who you are.

  2. Great commentary. Paul's comments are better than anything I could add - I'm emailing Rachel Maddow!

    1. lol! You're funny Pete! Thank you for your comment.

  3. Nice read, Boss. Very inspiring and gave me a lot of reasons to still hang on to my beliefs :) Thank you so much!

  4. Aloha Ariel . . . beautiful - inside and out!

    Aloha All! My path includes leading over a thousand coming out groups starting back in 1989. Each group provided souls the ability to learn, laugh and grow in ways no one could envision at the time. Collectively, as more considered, then engaged what I've come to call a "right of passage" (much like marriage), when they 'came out" - they entered into a more genuine alignment of who and what they are as well as who and what others recognize them as!

    Coming out - in any form - like Ariel as done here - as an advocate of sames-sex oriented souls hold equal impact and power.

    In gratitude I bow to anyone who chooses to 'come out' as their truest self!



    1. Love does not tolerate injustice Soul Dancer! Neither is there apathy in love. Thank you for being an instrument of liberation and helping others come out. Thank you too for your comment. Much appreciated. Aloha! - Ariel