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Huh. New York actually passed gay marriage legislation. Go figure!

I know I should be ecstatic (and in many ways I am very proud of my state today). But the thing is, I'd been thinking deep thinky thoughts on gay marriage and politics and religion and the unholy mix of the two. And I figured, the NY legislature being the way it is, I had at least another week to find time to get them written out before this all became old news.

Anyway, nicely done!


Jun. 26th, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
I appear to be the only person on the internet who thinks this is A Bad Idea - or maybe others, like me, are afraid of speaking out? I think people should be free to live however they choose to live, and if their actions are sinful but don't harm anyone else, that's their business to take up with the Almighty. However, I don't think that such relationships ought to be described using the word "marriage." The religious ceremony/sacrament and the secular legal contract have become synonymous, and I think that's not good - I don't think that same sex relationships are sacramental, at least in Christianity, so the obfuscation of the conflating of the terms is dodgy, IMO. However, nobody seems to be interested in the language of it; folks either want to allow certain behavior or proscribe it. It's my position that it merits its own name, separate from the name give to the sacrament.

I'll toe my soapbox back under my desk now :)
Jun. 26th, 2011 08:23 am (UTC)
But, as you rightly point out, the conflation of marriage in a religious sense and marriage in a legal sense has begun long before the LGBT rights movement made any calls for gay marriage.

For example, a daughter of a good friend of mine recently married her boyfriend in a purely civil ceremony in the US. Since neither the bride nor the groom seemed to be particularly religious, there was no blessing or sacrament involved. So, would this, from your POV, be not a "marriage", either, since it doesn't have a sacramental character? If so, I'd say your position is at least consistent (even if I don't necessarily agree with it).
Jun. 26th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
I am perhaps an atypical Christian in that I don't view monogamous homosexuality as a sin. (I simply don't think it's what the Bible is talking about, based on my own study.) This is an area where my views have evolved over the last several years, though, so I try to allow for good-faith disagreements. It's possible I still don't have it right, and even if I do, if I'm allowed to grow into the truth others should be as well.

A friend of mine on LJ, a former medieval history professor (now a university librarian) once told me that marriage had not always been a sacrament - that up until the high medieval period (1200s?) marriage was viewed as a contract between families rather than a sacrament. I have always wanted to look into the history of this because I think it would be interesting. The problem is I haven't yet found good resources that aren't obviously politically skewed. I'd love to read a good scholarly treatment of how the word "marriage" was used in antiquity and the medieval period, to see if Christians are right to lay claim to it (or if the Christians were in their turn coopting a word that was already used secularly).

In either case I do agree that precision of language is crucial and would be happy to have the state offer one certification to all monogamous couples who sought it, and the church offering a completely different ceremony. I know in some cultures the word "marriage" can do double duty. (In Germany I remember the people I know used the same German word for the ceremony at the Standesamt - what we would call the justice of the peace - and for a church ceremony; in English they were usually called civil marriage and church marriage.) But if I honestly thought the hold-up was linguistic, I would be more sympathetic. As you say, most people that talk about terminology seem to have toher motives at heart.

All of that said:

I appear to be the only person on the internet who thinks this is A Bad Idea - or maybe others, like me, are afraid of speaking out?

Contrary opinions are always welcome here. I appreciate that you make me think about my own position in more detail. Thanks!
Jun. 26th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
There are plenty of people on the internet who are at least wary of the idea; however, people in general prefer to voice their opinions among those who agree with them. When I go on Livejournal, I see more posts--and comments--sympathetic to what (in America, at least) is labeled as left ideas than right ideas. I suspect that there are similar places where the inverse is true, even if it's only in the comment section of the National Review Online.

Personally, I prefer to discuss topics like this in a one-on-one venue, because that's a lot less conducive to flaming or pile-ons.

With that said, speaking of the "language of it," for the majority of Americans (even Christian Americans), marriage is not sacramental. Different denominations define the term "sacrament" differently, and it's only in orthodox churches like the RCC that it's applied so broadly. Add to that the large number of people who identify as orthodox but don't understand their own church's teaching on what sacraments are and how important they're supposed to be, and... well...

If we're going to discuss a subject we all have to make sure from the start that our definitions are the same.



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