Marriage equality has made many headlines lately, thanks to a Prop 8 case and a DOMA case making it to oral arguments in the Supreme Court.
As usual, this brings both proponents and opponents out in force. I think if you have read anything by me, you know where I stand. So rather than address that, I want to address something that is what you might call a sub-argument.
The most hardcore opponents tend to base their reasoning on religion. And in the United States, the ones doing the most noticeable arguing are certain sects of the Christian faith. I qualify that for two reasons. One, the most stubborn opposition world wide is not Christian. The Muslim faith definitely seems more angry and violent and, unfortunately, united about it. Two, there are many Christians who have no problem with marriage equality. And some of those remain strong on the idea that God doesn't sanction these unions. They simply are able to differentiate between marriage, the civil institution, and Holy Matrimony.
The ones that are not making that distinction and are being the most vocal about it in the U.S. tend to trumpet scripture as proof. And here is where we get to what is rubbing me today. Why would you want to prove to me that God said this?
If I say to you, "Murder is wrong," do you answer back "Yes. I studied and in my studies I came across Exodus 20 and that says you are right?" Or are you more likely to just say, "Yes, it is." You don't feel the need to quote scripture to prove murder is wrong. Likely, this is because there is nothing in you telling you that you need an excuse to believe murder is wrong. You can feel it. You know it is wrong.
But with marriage equality, you feel like you need scriptural proof. And the reason is simple. You want justification. Because your own mind argues with you about it. Deep inside, there is a little voice that raises questions about why and what if. The reason that voice is questioning you is because, intellectually, you know that Ben and Robert getting married does nothing to prevent the happiness of George and Martha.
So, you get out your Bible and you argue. You find verses that support your position. (more on that another time. For the present, assume the verses are not tainted by translation or time & place or by later scripture disavowing the earlier rules.) You present these as proof that your loving and just God never intended Ben & Robert or Julie & Theresa or any other same sex marriage. And then you usually throw in something about eternal damnation and disobeying the will of God.
Now here is what I don't get. You work so hard and prove this. And let's accept that it is proven. You get out your Bible and you prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that God says that marriage equality is wrong. Maybe you even acknowledge that none of the individual couples being argued about have done anything wrong. Maybe you agree they deserve every chance for happiness. But God SAYS no.
What have you actually proven? What does your argument prove to me if you prove that, even though everyone is human and deserves love and happiness and equality before the law, God says that they should not be allowed to marry?
You have proven to me that your god is cruel, unjust and not worthy of my worship. You have proven to me that your god discriminates and indulges sadistic impulses among the very children he created. You have proven to me that your god is selfish and angry and hateful. You have proven to me that I John 4 is wrong. God is most certainly NOT love.
So, what I am saying is maybe you should not work so hard to prove that to me. Maybe, just maybe, you ought to listen to that little questioning voice. Because maybe, just maybe, the voice you fear is that of Satan... isn't.