My facebook page, like yours probably, has been a sea of red and pink equal signs this week while the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage equality. This has predictably brought out the usual cast of characters to rehash the usual debating points. To those of us who have been having this conversation for a long time it can be exasperating. Haven’t we gone over this already? As Peter Rollins jested today, “Someone asked if I was for Gay marriage! Felt like the next question would be “do you think we should drown witches?”"
What I have to remind myself is that not everyone has been immersed in this the way I have. Furthermore, until equality and justice are a reality it is worth continuing to hold the conversation. I have no illusions about the efficacy of debate. It’s relationship, not argument that changes hearts and minds, and it is relationships that are ultimately winning this fight for justice, but when this particular fight is history I want my vocal solidarity to be a matter of public record. And I have spilled a lot of ink on this stuff.
I’m pretty convinced that both DOMA and Prop 8 are doomed because as I wrote way back when there are no good secular arguments against same-sex marriage. That link goes to one of my earlier series of posts on the subject and it reveals a slightly less temperate side of my blogging (Yes, less temperate), but I’m still proud to have taken it on. In fact, much as I think argumentation alone doesn’t solve things I think there is a need for more progressives to respond to Robert Gagnon if for no other reason than to be Las Casas to his Sepulveda.
We’ve specifically tackled the subject of marriage equality several times on Two Friars. The most recent example was this piece by Rev. David Hansen, pointing out that the definition of marriage has changed, I would say many times. I wrote about marriage equality twice back in 2009 once arguing from Luther’s idea that marriage is intended as a school of virtue, and again to emphasize that in the New Testament marriage is radically de-emphasized, even discouraged. I find it bizarre to watch protestant Christians argue incoherently that marriage is a sacrament (it isn’t), and that the church wants the state to define marriage for them – which is exactly the opposite of what Christians wanted 150 years ago.
I’m on record though, not just arguing for equality on secular grounds, but directly contending that homosexuality is not a sin. That series took a specifically ethical approach. I don’t spend much time on scripture (don’t worry we’re getting to that), but I break down deontological, teleological, and virtue arguments relevant to the conversation. Want to read about biology, questions of harm, and natural law? You know you do.
The biggest contribution to this subject I’ve made (along with Doug) is the resource we wrote for our denomination on ordination of LGBTQ persons which is available for download as a booklet too. I’m really proud of our work on this document. I have yet to find another resource like it. We tried to tackle just about every argument there is while keeping the entire thing bite size. Furthermore, if you click each argument heading it will take you to an in-depth well-sourced essay on just that topic. It was a ton of work, but it holds up. The Rev. Tom Hobson, a disciple of Gagnon, criticized it when it was released, and we responded to him so you can see a bit of our back and forth.
For a few of you that have been interacting with me online for the last 9 years this will hopefully be a fun reminder. For many others this might be the first time you’ve read this stuff, and maybe you’ll find something to share with others to help the deluge of pink equal signs continue.