I Now Pronounce You Coffee and Cream

You may have heard that Starbucks has recently announced its support for gay marriage.  The issue is up for a vote in Washington State and is almost sure to pass.  As you can read here, a pastor is asking customers who disagree with this position to boycott the company.  A small bit of a larger nation-wide controversy.  No matter who you are, you have an opinion

Part of the problem in this whole debate is the use of the term “marriage.”  I understand marriage, strictly speaking, as a religious covenant.  By this definition churches are free to “marry” whomever they like and not perform ceremonies that violate their particular theological convictions.  You can debate the merits of their theology, but not their right to make their own theological decisions.

A nation such as the United States that enshrines a separation of Church and State may not have such legal latitude, however.  It stands to reason that two people who choose to enter into a binding contract/covenant with all the privileges and drawbacks that entails should be legally allowed to do so.  Properly speaking, this action of the State should not be called “marriage,” because that is an act done only through a religious community.  A number of states have taken to calling this new arrangement a “civil union,” which I feel is as good a name for it as any.  Strictly speaking, the government should have no say in marriage whatsoever.  We don’t let them have a say in communion or baptism, so why marriage?  Whatever else it is called, the process by which the government legally binds together two people is NOT marriage.

The conflation of marriage in the United States to mean both the religious ideal and the legal arrangement complicates matters.  Ever since the Church/State were united under the Constantinian establishment (with the 4th century conversion of the Roman emperor to Christianity) the (State) power of legal arranging (religious) marriage began to be shared by Church.  You know the line–“By the power vested in me by the state of….”  In a world where the Church and the State work hand in hand, this makes great sense.

But this is not the world that we live in anymore, and it is definitely not the world of the United States.  The separation of Church and State (strongly championed by early Baptists) has been a reality in America for a long time.  Our head of state is not the head of the “Church of America,” like in the United Kingdom.  Our taxes do not go to support the State Church, like in Germany.  Things are different here.

It is my understanding that Christians in the era before Constantine were united by the State in union and then went to the Church to have that union blessed.  This spoke to the differences between the two acts and made sense in a world without an established Church.  Why, then, do we keep arguing about marriage here in America?  Is there any legal reason why two men should not be allowed to enter into a civil union?  It seems a difficult case to make.

Limiting marriage as a Christian institution to one man and one woman?  There is and will continue to be theological debate on this issue.  My perspective, however, is that no matter how strongly you feel for or against the issue of gay marriage, the State’s right to perform “civil unions” (not marriages) seems much harder to deny.  If we want an established Church in America or argue for an “unofficial establishment” as some do, that is one thing.  But barring this, civil unions as legal arrangements seem a logical conclusion.

Consider this a plea for consistency, not a theological or political position.  Thoughts?


39 comments on “I Now Pronounce You Coffee and Cream

  1. “Properly speaking, this action of the State should not be called “marriage,” because that is an act done only through a religious community.”

    Except that the Romans did it before your religion ever existed.

    • Sam says:

      Of course, people were getting married long before Rome, and if you take Christianity as a fulfillment of the Hebrew religion (which its earliest followers certainly did) then the idea of marriage predates Rome. And, if you are arguing from a biblical standpoint about marriage, then marriage really predates all governments. At the end of the day, I think the argument (like most arguments) really focuses on semantics. My philosophy is this: If a gay couple wants the State to recognize their relationship and give them the benefits of a theoretically mutually exclusive relationship (call it marriage, civil unions, whatever) then more power to them. They pay their taxes. However, if the State begins to tell the religious organizations that they must marry a homosexual couple, or else, then the State has made a grievous and un-Constitutional overstepping of its boundaries. Separation of Church and State works both ways.

      • Dennis Schell says:

        I would agree with you IF the state insisted that religious organizations were told that they MUST marry gay couples, however, that is not the case and never has been. In every ruling, in every state that currently permits same sex marriages it specifically states that a religious organization is exempt from performing marriages that go against their beliefs. Not that it means very much but my husband and I were married by our church in Toronto on our 15th anniversary. We belong to the Metropolitan Community Church, an accepting and progressive church that believes we are all God’s children deserving of His unconditional love. I really wish that people would understand that we (the gay community) do not want to force ourselves on your churches. We do not need to as we have our own. All we want is to have the same rights, privileges and obligations that are afforded an opposite sex couple – all 1500 federal and sate rights that a marriage license brings. As it stands, while I am married (in Canada), I live in Florida. We have been together for 20 years. Should I die, my husband cannot collect my social security. He would be subject to inheritance taxes on our home (that we purchased together). Even though my will leaves everything to him (which he would need to pay taxes on – a spouse would not have to pay taxes) my family could conceivably come in and contest the will forcing him to sell everything we have spent a lifetime accumulating so as to give them 50%, not to mention, because he is a legal stranger, he could be kept from me during a medical emergency and away from my deathbed. Regardless of anyone’s views on morality, I would hope everyone must admit this is extremely unfair and needs to be changed. These are just a couple of the m ultitude of issues that we are fighting for. While the outcome of this debate will have no effect on anyone’s life on this blog it effects me and mine deeply.

  2. Andy Wong says:

    I think the state should start requiring a license for procreation.

  3. brianegelston says:

    Very well put, Herr Ziefle. The state certainly has a right to recognize and privilege any relationship that it (or rather we, given our democratic system) wishes to. I think it’s important to keep in mind that the various legal benefits and privileges of marriage exist because the state feels it has a vested interest in promoting marriage. That’s a reality that too often gets lost in these discussions. Legally recognized and privileged relationships aren’t a right; they’re a matter of public policy. What the issue really comes down to is a question of whether granting homosexual relationships the same legal recognition and benefits as heterosexual marriages (regardless of what term we use) is sufficiently in the public interest to warrant a change in a long-standing social compact and the entailed costs. A person’s theology is going to influence his or her understanding of the question, but the issue of civil unions/civil marriage is a political decision, not a theological one.

  4. Dennis Schell says:

    As a person that is directly affected by this issue, I strongly agree with Josh… Civil Unions would be fine – As long as all people (both straight & gay) have civil unions. One could then go to their churches and have the civil union blessed so they can then be “married” in the eyes of their church. However, the gold standard would, for all intent and purposes, be Civil Unions. As long as “marriage” pertains to the legal contract, then my partner of 20 years and I should be able to also use the term marriage. Two separate names for the same thing – one indicating a “straight” marriage and one indicating a “gay” marriage denotes that one relationship is inferior to the other and not as valid. My relationship is just as valid, meaningful and full of highs and lows as any straight relationship and should be respected equally. Separate is never equal.

    • Very well said. We should all stand in line at the DML or the DCUL (Dept of Marriage or Civil Union Licenses) before we head over the church, tabernacle, synagogue, mosque, ashram or beach front property of choice. The marriage ceremony should not be the legally binding part of the union. After all, we don’t go back to the church to get divorced, do we?

  5. NotAScientist:

    I hear what you are saying here. Whatever the Romans called it, it was something in Latin. I would have to do some research, but am not sure what religious elements were a part of, for instance, Roman “marriage” or what not.

    My larger point, though, is that we can’t have marriage mean everything all at once. If it is religious and non-religious at the same time, this is problematic. Perhaps splitting up our understanding into “civil union” on the secular side and “religious covenant” on the sacred side might make things a little clearer?

    Perhaps it will be necessary to split the term marriage, because for so long it has meant both things…


  6. Brian,

    Thanks for your thoughts here; very insightful and helpful in continuing a discussion, especially when you say: “I think it’s important to keep in mind that the various legal benefits and privileges of marriage exist because the state feels it has a vested interest in promoting marriage. That’s a reality that too often gets lost in these discussions. Legally recognized and privileged relationships aren’t a right; they’re a matter of public policy.”

    The United States government certainly does have a legitimate decision to make, on its side, arrangements that it feels will benefit our society. In a democracy, we have these decisions to make, and are currently engaged in that national debate.

    Good stuff.


    • Dennis Schell says:

      Sorry – With all due respect and to preface that I am NOT a legal expert I tend to disagree with Brian’s assertion that legal marriage is not a right but a relationship that the state feels beneficial to the state. In this case, many marriages could be considered non-beneficial for whatever the “state” sees fit and as such the people wanting to enter into civil marriage would be forbidden. In my opinion, civil marriage is most definitely a right and therefore it is not appropriate to have anyones rights brought up to popular vote. It would not have been appropriate for segregation to have been brought up for a popular vote back in the south in the 1960’s any more than it would have been appropriate to vote if people of different races could marry forty years ago (which was against the law at that time). These issues were decided by the courts not by popular vote. The same applies to the issue of civil marraige.

  7. Uncle Dennis,

    Interesting thought here about civil unions being the governmental standard for all. This may, indeed, clear up a lot of the confusion.


  8. Bret says:

    If we claim separation of church and state but fail to hold to separate definitions of church-blessed and facilitated unions and state-blessed and facilitated unions, we are most definitely engaging in double standards. Let the church perform marriages as the individual church deems appropriate and the state can be responsible for the civil unions of the rest. This is the heart and soul of the separation of church and state… the church operating in her own right and apart from the state, also operating in it’s own right and apart from the church. Jesus was no politician. Unfortunately it’s a moral and political issue. Let the church uphold her moral standards and the state can uphold its lack of morals and we can continue to coexist agreeing to disagree and exercising our independent rights.

  9. Brendan says:

    Governments have long been the ones who sanction marriages for the sake of the survival of the state. Here’s a blog that discusses that:

  10. Brendan says:

    Washington State already has civil union laws. The current political situation is those who are in favor of gay marriage no longer wish to be defined as civil unions.

  11. Tim McAdoo says:

    The Church has long been criticized for the racially motivated practice of not performing bi-racial marriages. This is a well deserved criticism, since there really is nothing immoral about marrying someone of a different appearance. This same template will be applied to churches that resist the demand to marry individuals of any orientation. With the pressure of the public, media, and the IRS (do you want your church to lose your tax exempt status?), the churches will no longer be able to stand up for their view. We see this in other cases where individuals are forbidden to wear head/face coverings. We see this in the law that is binding the Roman Catholic health care providers to offer birth control. The reason this matters is because, eventually, churches will turn their back on sound doctrine as we continue to be dominated by the expediency of the day.

    • I have heard this concern, but here again the basic problem is that marriage is a shared function of Church and State. If the two are separated as I have suggested, this may become less of a problem.

      A lawyer friend of mine has even suggested that churches ignore the State altogether, performing marriages as they see fit without registering with the State.

      • Tara Wright says:

        The church certainly could do that. But the individuals in question may not have a state sanctioned partnership with the rights that come along with it. I am not sure I see the point? Forgo the state benefits to what purpose?

      • Tara,

        My friend wrote the following:

        “I think, slightly miss the point that its not about labels or semantics, its about the legal consequences for an act in which the state has injected itself. Marriage and marriage are not the same thing, although there is very little chance that any organized religion would succeed in having the State remove the label of marriage from the relationship it sanctions and replace it with anything else. In its historical context, that would be like saying we have this separate, but equal, label for everyone simply because the people who want these rights are now homosexual. A more consistent, moral stance, that I believe the Church should take, is to take the state out of the picture, rather than asking the state to remove themselves. Get married in secret, only within the contemplation of the church, and don’t get married as it is contemplated by the state. The short-term, and short-sighted, result would be an immediate change in the tax status of “married” couples. But that gives those couples a platform, in the form of a legal challenge to the state’s conduct, for denying them the tax benefits of a label simply because of their religion. The state would have to prove it has a legitimate state interest in controlling a religious sacrament, which it won’t be able to do. In this way, by removing you sacrament from the state, in the long run, you remove the state from your sacrament.”

      • Tara Wright says:

        RE: your friend

        I guess that would make a point, but I don’t really get it. The end result would be the same as it is now, no? Get married in a church –> tell the state about it –> get your benefits.

      • Brendan says:

        I think this shows a failure of understanding why the State ever got in the business of marriage to begin with.

  12. Tara Wright says:

    Marriage, civil union or supercalafragilisticexpealadoshus…the word is irrelevant (I can remember marrying katsup bottles when I worked in the food service). It may placate those who don’t want the word “marriage” to be used for their relationship and relationships unlike theirs. But the relationship does not change no matter what you, the church or the state calls it.

    The issue here is whether two people can enter into an agreement with one another and have the state back them up. Either giving them the same goodies (tax breaks, estate privlidges, etc) or the same baddies (marriage penalties, sharred debt responsibilities, ect) as the current state sanctioned relationships.

    I don’t see where the church enters into it at all. Each church, denomination, sect, has the right to have “membership rules.” Follow the rules, stay in the club. Break the rules, leave the club (or at the very least get dirty looks). But the church only has say over it’s memebership, not the populace as a whole. Not the state. Not what the state says about partnerships. Let the church refuse to marry certain individuals, but I don’t see how this has bearing on state sanctioned partnerships.

    Seperate church and state. We want it that way. It was designed that way. For the protection of us all. For the protection of our rights and the protection of our worship.


    As a side note:

    I am confused – perhaps some states are different – when you speak of marriage as a “shared function of Church and State.” I am married, went to the Justice of the peace. Ceremony followed a month later, where a friend, a pastor from out of state (not recongnized by my state) blessed us. I am pretty sure I was married after the Justice of the peace, we certainly considered it so. The ceremony was fun but not necessary. I am not sure you have to go to church to be married.

    • Tara,

      Thank you for your comments. I agree that the Church cannot control what legal arrangements the State makes.

      Regarding your side note: In many or most cases, marriage by a minister does sort of combine Church/State and make it a shared function. With a Justice of the Peace, the State does call what they do “marriage,” but really it is just a legal arrangement. From a Christian point of view, marriage is different than simply the legal arrangement. The problem is, we don’t have a separate word to describe what the State does to differentiate it from what the Church does. “Civil union” & “religious covenant” might adequately cover it.

      • Tara Wright says:

        I hear you and point well taken. “Civil union” and “religious covenent” would be great. Arm wrestle of the word “marriage?” =0)

      • Brendan says:

        The Church may not be able to control what legal arrangements the State makes? I have to disagree:

        Church=an organization made of individuals (who happen to be citizens of the State)
        State=A representative democracy.

        If the church is made up of citizen who exercise their constitutional right, then if those said citizens (and other citizens who agree with them) make up a majority, then the Church’s position becomes the State’s position via the democratic process. Church leadership may not control the State outright, but it is against the Constitution and the ethics of democracy for the State to silence the voice of the church membership.

      • Tara Wright says:

        Point taken Brendan. But would you agree that in a democracy (not a theocracy) we look to protect the rights of ALL people, not just the majority.

        Regardless, I agree with you, I don’t think the state should silence any voice, not individual or institutional (including church). Discussions like these demonstrate the freedom we enjoy to speak our minds and hearts.

      • Dennis Schell says:

        Thank you Tara! It is never morally acceptable to put anyone’s rights up to popular vote..

      • Brendan says:

        Again I disagree. The Democratic State should not, and does not endorse the rights of all people as they see fit. The “right” of polygamy and bigamy is not (and should not) be endorsed by the state. The “right” for people to marry under the age of 18 is not guaranteed. The “right” to vote is only granted after a person is 18 years of age. The “right” to become President is not granted to all citizens, rather its only granted to people born citizens. The “right” of parents to treat their kids as they see fit is only guaranteed in as much as it does not harm the children. The 2nd Amendment “right” to bear arms is revoked for felons.

        It is in the interest of the State to determine who gets what rights, the opposite of that is anarchy. Anarchy is complete freedom to exercise your rights without government interference. A democratic republic on the other hand, ensures the right of the people to determine for themselves what rights are to be freely exercised and what rights are to be suspended or revoked.

        The issue of marriage has more to do with the definition of marriage than the right to marriage. Gay marriage has historically not been an issue since the definition marriage has always and obviously been used to define the nature of a relationship between a man and a woman and the family the two create. Therefore the “right” to marry has always been about the right for a man and a woman to choose to marry each other. Gay marriage wasn’t excluded as a means limit their rights, but because a gay couple (no matter how much they love each other) does not constitute a “marriage”.

        Should a gay couple be free (or have the right) to love each other? Yes, I don’t see why not. Should a gay couple be free to live with each other and devote their lives to each other? Again yes. The State has no business to peer into the lives of private citizens who aren’t doing anyone any harm.

        My question is, why should a small minority of people have the right to redefine what marriage has always been? What gives the right of a few thousand to alter what civilization has always known to be true?

      • Brendan,

        I feel that you miss my main point here: continuing to use the word “marriage” is too confusing, because it means too many things. Split the term apart into its secular and sacred sides, and then things might look different. The Church decides what a sacred covenant between two people looks like (and no one from the outside can make them change their opinion), and the State (i.e. in a democracy the population at large) decides what the legal arrangement of a civil union looks like.

        The political argument today should therefore, not be about whether we have “gay marriage,” but whether the State should allow civil unions other than between man and woman. In our democracy, the people can decide what they want. Using the word “marriage,” though, carries too much emotional baggage with it and limits clear thinking in the political arena.


      • Brendan says:


        Again, the State of Washington currently has civil union laws that recognize gay couple’s rights. The reason I bring up “marriage” is because that’s exactly what this debate in our state is about, the definition of marriage. I think it’s a mistake however to relegate “marriage” into civil vs. sacred uses. Marriage is not an exclusively religious term. The Christian Church does not have a monopoly on performing or sanctioning marriage, no religion does. I don’t know of any religion that claims that people whose marriages aren’t blessed by their religion aren’t truly married (though I’m sure you could find a few nut cases that do think that way). In the chicken vs. the egg debate I think its clear that marriages defined as the relationship between a man and a woman came before religious sanctioning of these relationship.

        My arguments for the definition of marriage aren’t based on religion but rather civilization. The reason the State grants greater rights, privileges, and protection to married couples over and against single/childless individuals is for the benefit and perpetuation of the State. It is in the State’s interest to encourage the growth and stability of families. There is no reason the State should extend most of these benefits to relationships that do not create life.

        But there is a moral/religious issue at hand that cannot be discarded, hence the word “marriage” plays front and center…as it must. No matter which side of the issue you are on, this argument is a debate about ethics not just politics. Ultimately it’s also a debate about the epistemology of ethics, how we know what is right and what is wrong. Laws have a tremendous effect on the concept of cultural morality. Sometimes cultural morality creates laws and yet other times cultural morality is informed by law (which came first the chicken or the egg?). With the rise of certain subcultures acceptance of gay marriage, certain sectors of society are changing the laws to reflect a new morality. However this also become an inertia engine or a momentum builder. As more and more subcultures find gay marriage morally acceptable and the denial of marriage rights for gays morally repugnant, that will influences other subcultures in the same direction. Unchecked eventually this will become the dominant morality of our culture. Those opposed to gay marriage are attempting to stop this inertia ball from its continual rolling, and stop the cascading event.

        Three examples of Law informing morality, one good two bad:
        1) Racial equality
        2) No fault divorce
        3) Abortion
        Regardless of what the previous generation ethical position on these 3 points, after the laws were passed these 3 moral points became more acceptable in our culture. They in fact also altered religious thinking and practice for many denominations. Law changed the church (ie Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church, etc., etc.). Sometimes this was positive other times it was negative.

        By fighting against the State’s redefinition of marriage, I am fighting to keep my children’s definition of marriage consistent with my beliefs. If culture accepts gay marriage then my children will be more likely to accept gay marriage in spite of their parent’s religious/ethical beliefs. For liberals this is a positive benefit to passing the law. For conservatives this is literally endangering the future of what we believe ethically not just politically.

      • Dennis Schell says:

        But then you are discriminating against people who have no choice as to what their sexuality is. I have been gay as far back as I remember. It was not a choice.(Did you choose to be heterosexual?) Therefore, it is discrimination just as it would be against an African American, or any other minority. Marriage has always evolved and changed. This is just one more evolution. Those that opose this evolution are just trying to perpetrate the same hateful stereotypes of the past.

      • Brendan says:

        I have answered this below

  13. Sam says:


    I hope you don’t think I was saying that the State is forcing this issue. I was simply saying that if the State does force the issue and tells any organization that they must marry homosexual couples, then this is wrong. I think there may have been a misunderstanding there.
    …And just so we’re clear, I don’t actually have a church, so you wouldn’t be forcing yourself onto my church. 😛

    • Dennis Schell says:

      Hi Sam, No, I don’t think you were suggesting that it was being forced upon churches, my apologies if I came across as such. It’s just that this issue is very important to me as you can imagine and I can get somewhat passionate in expressing myself. So much is riding on the final outcome of this issue nationally for my husband and me – how we handle our whole future as we prepare for our retirement and end of life issues (we are getting up there!). I am just trying to get my point of view out there. I am very encouraged by the responses I have seen on this blog. Hopefully it is indicative of the general public which would mean we are all getting closer to understanding each other’s point of view.

  14. Joe says:

    For those, like me, who are more concerned with God’s thoughts on the matter, the question becomes, “When does God recognize a marriage?” Certainly God has not left the gender question open – He purposes that only men and women are to come together. There is no room in God’s eye for any deviation from this. The more interesting question is when does He recognize an official marriage between man and woman?
    He said that a man should leave his parents and be joined to his wife (Gen 2:24). Was this strictly in a physical way, or did it involve a ceremony? If it is solely based on a man and woman coming together physically, then does God see a man who “sowed his wild oats” in his early years as a man married to many? How about the couple that has not/can not physically come together? Are they married? The Bible says that it is good for a man to find a wife. Jesus performed His first recorded miracle at a wedding He was attending. We as Christians are even called “The Bride of Christ” Therefore, marriage seems to be apporved by God. The question remains – When does God recognize a marriage?

    • Dennis Schell says:

      The issue at hand is civil marriage, not religous marriage. Therefore, my husband and I I should have the same rights afforded you and your wife by the state and federal governments. We are not asking to be married in your churches, we want our marriages recognized by the federal government. We all pay taxes and deserve the same rights as everyone else. This is called seperation of church and state.

      • Brendan says:

        I think conservatives (including religious) would feel more comfortable with your point if the Government would in turn protect the rights of religious people to practice freely what we believe. If people want the Church out of the State, then the State should stay out of the Church. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Churches and religious schools are being sued for discrimination for not accepting, performing, or allowing gay marriages and weddings on their religious property…and they are losing. Religious photographers and bakers have been successfully sued for refusing to shoot gay weddings, some have even been put out of business.

        NPR (National Public Radio) ran a piece on this several years ago. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340

        On top of that the current Washington State bill, which should become law next week, does not adequately protect churches who refuse to perform gay weddings. http://pastorbrendan.blogspot.com/2012/02/part-3-washington-state-gay-marriage.html

        As a direct result of the Washington State gay marriage bill our church will have to cease offering weddings and funerals to the public if we intend to refuse to host gay weddings otherwise we will be open to discrimination suits.

        If those in favor of gay marriage are going to argue for a separation of Church and State, then it should be a two way street. The Church should be protected from the State if you want the State protected from the Church.

      • Dennis Schell says:

        I agree completely. I honestly have not seen any instances involving these issues. However, I doubt that most gay couples would want or consider wanting to be married in a hostile envronment. Especially since there are so many churches that do accept us and are willing to perform marriages. My husband and I were married in our church. I would like to see where in the Washington State Bill where it does not protect churches adequately. I for one would never push your church to marry my partner and me. It would be uncomfortable for both of us and not the joyful occasion it should be. The problem (from my perspective) is that many religous orginazations (and conservatives) are more interested in keeping marriage as an exclusive club rather than making sure everyone has equal rights. Sorry, but that is how it feels from my perspective. Walk a mile in my shoes…. so to speak. I do appreciate your thoughtful views and insight as I hope you do mine.

      • Brendan says:

        I do appreciate your side as I’m a former proponent of gay marriage. On terms of you not wanting to get married in a church like mine, that I can understand. However there are and have been people who will crusade (sorry for the pun) for gay rights to the extent of suing churches and religious (not just christian) owned businesses, and it would appear that it is becoming legal precedent that these organizations are deemed guilty of discrimination. I encourage you to follow the links I have posted, particularly the NPR link. This is a real threat to religious liberty and there are real instances where the State has punished religious organizations and people for not accepting gay marriages.

        The second link I posted to my personal blog lays out the actual words of the legislation that I feel legally threaten the operation of my church. On that blog I’ve also posted the official links to both the text of the House Bill and Senate Bill.

        In reply to your response above, I am definitely willing to accept that at least a large portion of the homosexual community was in fact born that way. For this reason I see no legal justification for preventing homosexuals from living in a life long commitment with a person they love. While that would go against my religious beliefs, my political beliefs in the separation of Church and State would mandate that the government stay out of your personal life. As it stands right now there is no law in the State of Washington barring you from a committed relationship with your partner, nor should there be.

        However the question isn’t whether or not we should discriminate, the question should be is our discrimination justified and ethical. Everyone discriminates, the purpose of the law is to discriminate between right and wrong. Discrimination becomes unjustified if it is unethical or unjustifiable. It is justifiable and ethical for the law and the State to discriminate who receives marriage benefits and who doesn’t… depending on how they determine that.

        I believe that it is unethical for the State to discriminate against interracial marriage. I believe that it is perfectly ethical for the State to discriminate against polygamy. I believe it is perfectly ethical for the State to discriminate against blood family members from marrying each other. I believe it is perfectly ethical for the State to discriminate against minors getting married. And as I have argued above, I believe it is ethical for the state to discriminate against homosexuals in terms of marriage benefits. For the State to recognize gay marriage it completely undermines the purpose of why the State even recognizes marriage in the first place.

        From a religious stand point, being born gay doesn’t exempt a person from biblical sexual ethics. Biology and evolution would say I was born straight and within me as a male is the natural desire to sleep with as many women as I can for the purpose of spreading my genes. In spite of this natural/innate desire, biblicaly I’m only allowed to engage in a sexual relationship within the confines of marriage. Unfortunately for those who are born gay, biblical ethics mandate celibacy. I cannot possibly fathom how difficult that would be and how harsh a sentence that would feel like. What I do know however is that this is a standard that Jesus and his apostles followed as do the many monks, nuns, and priests of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. For those unwillingly caught in this position I have the utmost sympathy, and I have no delusions about “ministries” that claim they can “change” a gay person to make them straight. However as Christ taught:

        “Those who wish to follow me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me”

        Kyrie Elesion

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