Over the weekend the above picture was circling around Facebook. Did you see it?
This has been quite the hot topic for my little 'ol home state of Washington in the past month or so, as Senate Bill 6239 (read more about it here) is being presented to the Governor this week.
See this article in the Washington Post for more information.
The run down on the bill is this: taken directly from the wording on the SB6239:
It is the intent of this act to end discrimination in marriage based on gender and sexual orientation in Washington, to ensure that all persons in this state may enjoy the freedom to marry on equal terms, while also respecting the religious freedom of clergy and religious institutions to determine for whom to perform marriage ceremonies and to determine which marriages to recognize for religious purposes.
CHB's stepdaughter, ALG, posted the above picture with the caption "I could not have said it better myself". Several people commented on the picture, including myself, CHB, and aunt and Grandma to ALG.
The discussion was intense, thought provoking, emotionally probing and exhilarating. There were some very passionate comments, some interesting questions and issues raised.
Until the bottom fell out and all hell broke loose. ALG's Grandma (BT) (bible thumper) and Aunt (HTT) (holier than thou) (I know, not nice names but hey, this is MY blog so there) got involved.
BT and HTT girded their loins, lifted the hem of their dresses, grabbed their microphones and bibles and stepped right on to their soap boxes. By the way the "discussion" was going, I knew this was coming. What I did not expect was the emotions that this debate churned up for me.
See, CHB has another stepdaughter. KS. KS decided a few years back to go through the change and become a man. So she is now a HE. And BT and HTT refuse to recognize this LEGAL, BINDING change.
Now, KS did not ASK me to defend HIM. I just felt compelled to say something. And I did. Well, that started a torrent of even holier posts, as well as slamming those of us who didn't agree with BT and HTT. Facebook and email tirades started flowing like water from a broken fire hydrant. Fast, furious and with incredible pressure. Making an incredible mess in it's wake.
I have personally struggled with this issue for many years. When HeeHaw and I got married, I converted to Christianity. We went to church, took our children to Vacation Bible School and prayed over most meals. As my marriage started to crumble, and consequently I got older, I started to question some of the beliefs of the faith I adopted.
I had always had issue with the blatant intolerance of HeeHaw towards homosexuals. I often wondered why being gay/lesbian was SO offensive to the religious community. I had never experienced in my life a homosexual telling a heterosexual that they must agree with their lifestyle, endorse it, or even like it. I often heard what equalled racial slander towards homosexuals not only from HeeHaw but from the more vocal members of the church. Always said with intolerance, hatred and nonacceptance.
So, while I practiced Christianity, or tried to, while I was married, I secretly was angered by the injustice of this faith. Well, once I was divorced, I took a hard look at myself, what I stood for, and what I believed.
Today, I am at a place that while I still believe in a higher power, I simply can not get behind organized religion. The all or nothing of most religions angers me. Now I know that most people I have talked to from the religious community are fine members of society. They don't try and argue with you when they disagree. You can have a rational, intelligent conversation about your fundamental differences.
And then there are the "others". You know who I am talking about. The ones who want to shove the Bible down your throat. Preach at you for your shortcomings and sins. Quote verse after verse about how society is backwards and the ONLY way to Heaven is through the church.
But.......... I digress. Back to the issue at hand. This "debate" on Facebook really has my panties in a bunch, for several reasons.
1. Why it was ok for BT and HTT to voice their opinions, but when anybody voiced opposition to that, WE were called the intolerant ones?
2. Is MARRIAGE really a biblical term? According to www.dictionary.com here is how marriage is described:
1. a. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Antonyms: separation.
b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage. Antonyms: separation.
2. the state, condition, or relationship of being married; wedlock: a happy marriage. Synonyms: matrimony. Antonyms: single life, bachelorhood, spinsterhood, singleness; separation.
3. the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage. Synonyms: nuptials, marriage ceremony, wedding. Antonyms: divorce, annulment.
4. a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction: trial marriage.
5. any close or intimate association or union: the marriage of words and music in a hit song. Synonyms: blend, merger, unity, oneness; alliance, confederation. Antonyms: separation, division, disunion, schism.
3. Why is it ok for family to bully us, and we have to accept it?
4. When you post something on Facebook, can you be held accountable for what OTHER people post as comments?
If the religious community actually took the time to READ this bill, I think they would see that WA State is not trying to CHANGE their beliefs. WA State is asking that the gay and lesbian community be given the same LEGAL rights under the law that a man/woman marriage has.
If, as BT and HTT are saying, they don't want us to use the word "marriage" then I am sure we can use the word civil union. Because really? Who cares what you call it? Doesn't every American have the right to love who they want? Be loved in return? Celebrate that love?
If you replace "gay rights" in any sentence you could easily put us back 50-100 years. Replace it with African American, Women Business Owners, Bi-racial marriage, Women's right to vote..........
The Bible, as I'm told it was written, was from God's word. There are a lot of good things in there: love thy neighbor, be honest, be faithful, help your fellow man. But there are a a lot of things written in there that are not extremely relevant to today's world. Men having multiple wives. Women being put to death for cheating. Spare the rod, spoil the child. An eye for an eye. (How many murderers do you know that get LIFE In prison instead of being executed for their crime?)
Doesn't the bible also say that the ultimate judge is God himself? And when you stand in front of him on Judgement Day, if he had issues with how you lived your life you wouldn't be granted access to Heaven. If this is the case, who are WE to tell someone else what to do, how to live or who to love? Shouldn't we take care of ourselves, do what we believe is right and be judged by who WE ARE and what WE HAVE DONE?
I wholeheartedly support Gay Marriage. I don't think that we have the right to tell people who they can and can't love. Period. You know that if I told a woman she COULDN'T love a man, that would start another holy war! By allowing gay marriage I just don't see how that "offends" the religious community. If you don't like, you don't have to support it. You don't have to love it. You don't have to perform the ceremonies in your church. So what are you complaining about? Seriously. If you don't like it, go live in another county/state/country.
I welcome your comments, as always! I would love to learn more about this Senate Bill, and if I have misinterpreted it. However, if I have offended you, don't ask me to apologize.