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Posts Tagged ‘same sex marriage’


This is Why I Believe SCOTUS Should Approve Gay Marriage

Monday, June 22nd, 2015


marriage equalityOver the recent years, I believed two people of the same sex should be able to legally marry, but I personally didn’t know how to defend the right to marry.


This week I finally worked it out in my mind and now believe whole-heartedly that marriage for gay people should be legal and it is discriminatory to not make this happen.


We’ve heard more times than we can count from religious people that marriage is traditionally and biblically should only occur when it’s between one man and one woman. Therefore they want to keep the laws to only allow for marriage benefits and advantages here in the United States when it fits that criteria.


As I look at what I see in history, and of course in the Bible, the obvious examples of marriage situations that are NOT one man and one women and include people God says are after His heart. But there are other things that stand out to me as being more common to a marriage historically that I believe are significant.


I see two people who make a decision to establish a relationship that is different than friendship, or companionship. They decide to live as one, a family with a common investment in the relationship and its life and future.


The relationship is based on love, care and nurture. In some marriages, there is the inclusion of children both natural and/or adopted. Based on the depth of connection and emotional investment, when desired or needed, the relationship is submitted to further knowledge and counsel for improvement or repair to maintain it.


There are often financial commitments and investments. Decisions are made together for home and family. Consideration is given for household investments and maintenance. A weaving of life and belonging that is significant and indicative of a marriage.


Extended family is included such as siblings and parents. There is a shared concern for their lives and wellbeing. In many cases, holidays and a shared history of tradition is built. There is an expectation for future years together. Weddings, birthdays, and funerals are also shared events with a deeper emotional connection each time they occur.


In most marriages, there is a decision to cohabit, to spend each day together in some significant way. A physical closeness is experienced for emotional support, comfort, encouragement, and sexual intimacy. Spending the energy to keep up with life events on a daily basis because each wants the other to know that someone cares and is a significant part of the other’s life. A deep knowing of the other, a looking in the eyes; sharing humor, grief, and daily life emotions is significant in a healthy marriage.


Spiritual bonds form through faith, religious convictions and practice. Stimulating one another to further growth in their faith journey is also significant for those who share a desire to do so.


When two people share a life together in this type of marriage the US government has offered a license allowing for legal benefits available for those who are married. In many states, when a couple has been living together like this for seven years, it’s called a common law marriage, recognized as legal. Some corporations and employers also offer common benefits such as medical insurance for couples that are married in this manner.


While many utilize clergy to facilitate the commitment, many others do not, taking advantage of a licensed person or government official for the vows. Marriage in the US is not always viewed as a God centered event, therefore the freedom of religion allows for this to be the case.


Some who oppose marriage for anyone other than an opposite sex couple, minimize the reality of this kind of marriage for couples who are of the same sex. They lack the clarity of thought and reason that can see that gender has nothing to do with real marriage. Two people, regardless of their gender, can emulate marriage as it has always been respected throughout history.


There are religions that do not approve of same sex marriage. That is their freedom and right to live within their own religious convictions. A religious pastor or leader who by conviction will not marry two people of the same sex are free to maintain their restrictions. In no way does another view of marriage nullify their belief. In the same way, our US government has seen fit to devise a system where one religion cannot be a guiding factor for our country. Our country has been built upon religious freedom and diversity.


Therefore, it is my conviction and belief that if two people decide to weave their lives together in a legal marriage, as described above, regardless of their gender, they should be given the right to the benefits and advantages afforded all married couples in this country. Their relationship should be legally recognized as set apart from friendship, or a business partnership.


All we have to do is to look around and see there are thousands of same-sex couples that are already married in spirit, but at this time are not allowed the benefits of opposite sex couples.


It is my hope that the Supreme Court of the Unites States will approve the order allowing same sex couples to marry and to see that any other decision would be to discriminate against same sex couples.


 

Why Did I Get Married?

Friday, December 5th, 2014


first-christian-churchLarry and I go to a local Disciples of Christ church in Paris, TX. Our church is a place where I find peace, loving connection, and a lack of imposed theology. I don’t hear things that promote legalism or churchy expectations. We are loved and accepted there. Larry and I attend only a few times a month due to our heavy work schedule as Sunday mornings are our only relaxed time at home. We try to go to evening social events to get to know the people better and we sing in the choir.


This last Sunday, we were totally caught off guard and surprised. We had not officially spoken of our relationship with most people there. We understand they assume we are gay and that we are connected to one another. But Sunday, during the announcements the pastor said, “Larry and John are with us today! Two weeks ago, they went to Oklahoma and got married!” The congregation began to applaud in unison. After the service, many of those in attendance surrounded us, hugged us, and congratulated us.


I cannot tell you what this has meant to me and to Larry. Our relationship was not only recognized, but it was supported and our friends at church see us as a legitimate married couple. We are normal.


The pastor chose to uncover the pink elephant that was looming and spoke of our marriage in the normal fashion. He freed the members of our church to embrace their feelings about our relationship as seen by their affectionate response to us afterwards.


We went to supper with one of the elders and his wife recently and they said, “And as it should be, Larry and John. If you can’t serve communion right next to me at my church, then I’ll never serve communion there again. How are you any different than I am?”


I believe more people get it than one would think. We have found a wonderful, accepting, and loving community here in our Paris community. We’ve not had ANY kickback from anyone here. I’ve not felt any fear, or discomfort in any situation I’ve been in and Larry has been completely accepted at work, and with family.


Why did we get married in the first place? Well in some ways, our reasons were initially different. But after being married now, my heart is changing.


As I formed a relationship with Larry, I knew something was very different about it. I really wanted to invest my heart and soul into what was developing but I had some hesitations. I didn’t want to say “until death do us part.” I’ve been married twice before and felt insecure about making a vow that was permanent. It was just a reality check for me. I did, however, make a vow to him that was something like, as long as there is life breathed into our relationship.


I didn’t see much reason for getting legally married. It wasn’t something that had any romance to it. Our commitment service on November 16th, 2013, was romantic for me. Our friends and family gathered together with us to confirm our love for one another. That was enough for me.


But we continued to talk about legal marriage. Larry believed it was a very important step to make. I was willing to agree because I didn’t see anything negative about it.


After being in this relationship, we both realize there is a definite investment that each of us have made. We have merged every aspect of our lives, financial and personal. There should be some way to protect those investments. We’ve spoken with lawyers about what it would take to do so and it seemed the mountains of legal forms and such were insurmountable. There was also a sense of indignation that one would have to do that when a simple marriage certificate would take the place of most of those forms.


I began to realize that with a legal marriage, there would be certain financial benefits that I believed we needed to take advantage of. There were also some protections that were significant. So, I became convicted that we should get married and that it was a legitimate decision to do so.


As we saw more states opening up for same sex marriage, we realized Texas was a little way off. We began to search flights and travel arrangements to go to a state where we could get married. Literally when we were just about ready to reserve a flight to California, we heard that Oklahoma had opened up for us. That was sure convenient! We decided to make it the same date as our commitment ceremony and the plans to go to Tulsa were made. Pastor Chuck Breckenridge from Diversity Christian Fellowship agreed to marry us. I have a niece that lives in Tulsa so she and her family came to take pictures for us. John Brooks and Robyn Whyte, long time friends, came along to witness the legal forms.


IMG_2158I had no idea what would happen in our hearts after we pursued legal marriage. I didn’t expect that it would take us to the deeper levels of life and relationship that it has.


I’ve gained further security in the love that we have for one another. We have now made a legal commitment to merge our lives even more. As a person, Larry McQueen has decided to invest his life into mine totally and completely. That means a tremendous amount to me at a very deep personal level.


Last week Larry contacted the human resources department at the headquarters of his employer. He said he had married his same sex partner and asked if they offered employee benefits to the spouse. Without any hesitation, the answer was yes! I am now going to be covered with insurance policies offered through them.


I have now experienced some of the benefits of what so many who have gone before us have paid the price for. The sacrifice of those passionate about equality in marriage have made, have given us and so many others the freedom to marry the one we love, just like the heterosexual population has been able to do throughout history.


I can now hold the hand of my husband while we are praying in church with the freedom and recognition that our relationship is not lingering in the shadows of uncertainty, but it is real and acknowledged for something positive. I am a legitimate spouse of someone with whom we’ve made serious and deep investments in relationship, finances, and personal relationships. We’re not “friends” or “roommates.” We are a married couple.


Wow, that’s profound. We are a married couple.


Yes, there are times when my cultural history comes up and says, you’re weird, or this is strange and attempts to disallow the reality of our relationship. My religious history stares back at me saying I’m deceived, I’m living in sin, I’m losing my salvation and God is far from me. But when I’m with Larry in love and life, it isn’t weird or strange at all. When I look at my faith and my experience with God throughout all these forty years, I see my Creator more than ever and my faith is far richer and deeper than ever. We are two human souls that love each other deeply and have made the decision to live as one and to forsake all others. We embrace God together in and through our lives while we constantly seek further depth and understanding in our faith.  The unity and peace that I experience is something I truly cherish, spiritually, physically, and intimately.