LIBERAL CHRISTIAN VIEWS FAVORING SAME-SEX MARRIAGES:
Topics covered in this essay about same-sex marriage (SSM):
What the Bible says about same-sex marriage (SSM):
We know now that the vast majority of adults are either heterosexual
or homosexual. Also, a small minority are bisexual. However the authors of
the Bible seem quite unaware that some persons had a homosexual orientation. The authors knew of certain forms of same-sex behavior that they
considered ritually unclean, degenerate, and/or harmful. But
they seem to have been totally unaware of loving, supportive, same-sex committed relationships.
The authors did condemn what they regarded as sinful of sexual activities --
both opposite sex (between a man and a woman) and same-sex (between two
men or between two women). Among the condemned practices in the Hebrew
Scriptures (aka Old Testament) were:
||Ritual Pagan sexual behavior:
The authors of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) condemned
that they considered degenerate and/or harmful:
||Heterosexual men and women engaging in same-sex
Pagan orgies. This meant that they were going against their
basic nature: (Romans
||Men who sexually molest boys -- and the boys that they abuse: (1 Corinthians
6:9; 1 Timothy 1:9).
||Bestiality: Men engaging in sex with males of another
species (angels in this case): (Jude
Since the authors of the Bible were unaware of homosexual orientation, they
could not conceive of loving and committed gay or lesbian relationships
(i.e. same-sex marriage or SSM). Thus, the Bible is silent on same-sex
positive references to human sexuality relate only to heterosexual sex. All
committed sexual relationships discussed in the Bible are heterosexual.
We can derive a Christian policy towards SSM for the 21st century by studying those positive passages that
describe human sexuality and heterosexual marriage. We may then be able to
infer what the Bible writers would have said about same-sex marriages, if
they had known about them. This is not a unique process. Christians have to
develop policies about other matters that were not mentioned specifically in
the Bible: Contraceptives, movies, and abortion are examples.
Lifestyle options are available to gays and lesbians?
Many conservative Christians consider homosexuality itself to be a
lifestyle. However, the word "lifestyle" is normally used to refer to a
person's choice. Examples are: whether to live in the country or the city;
whether to be self employed, or work for a company; whether to drive a car
or use a bicycle for transportation. Religious liberals generally believe
that sexual orientation is not a choice and that it
is unchangeable. Thus, the word "lifestyle" will not be used here to
refer to a person's homosexual orientation, but rather what choices gays
and lesbians make about their lifestyle choices in terms of the
relationships that they seek.
Heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals all have the same
three lifestyle options open to them. Gays and lesbians can choose:
Celibacy: They can choose to remain sexually inactive, single, and
not within a
committed relationship. Friendships are sought, but sexual involvement is
not a goal.
Sexually active single: They can choose to remain single (i.e. outside a
committed relationship) and engage in sexual activity with one or more
Committed relationship: They try to find a loving partner of
the same gender and enter into a committed,
monogamous relationship. This can take a
number of different forms:
||They can simply "live together" without registering
their partnership with the
||The can register their partnership as a civil union with the
government of Vermont or as a domestic
partnership with the government of Nova Scotia
in Canada. Scandanavian and other European countries also recognize
and register such relationships.
||They can simply marry a person of the same
gender. As of mid-2001, this option is available only to residents
of the Netherlands.
We will examine each option below, from a liberal Christian point of
How religious liberals interpret the Bible:
Christianity is a divided religion. Many
view it as being composed of two quite separate faith groups -- one conservative
and the other liberal. They share little more than the name of the
religion and the text of the Bible.
The main cause
of their disagreements is derived from their
assumptions about the nature of the Bible. Liberal Christians typically do not believe in the inerrancy
of the Bible as do conservatives. Further, they interpret much of the Bible, including the
important creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2, to be religious myths. The
seven days of creation, Adam, Eve, the snake, the Garden of Eden, the tree of
knowledge of good and evil, the
flood of Noah, the Tower of Babel, etc. never existed. The two creation
stories were actually adapted from earlier Pagan religious myths of neighboring Middle Eastern
countries. Although the content of these chapters has
no grounding in reality, the myths have profound symbolic meaning.
Religious liberals also view ethical matters, including same-sex marriage, from the standpoint of human rights. One of
the most intimate and important of all civil rights is the freedom to marry the person that you love
and to whom you wish to make a lifetime commitment. With the exception of
residents in the Netherlands, this is currently a special right, reserved only for
heterosexuals. It is denied to gays and lesbians in North America and
throughout most of the rest of the world.
From the first two chapters of Genesis, and other passages in the
Bible, religious liberals can assemble a case in favor of promoting committed same-sex
relationships and marriage for gays and lesbians.
Copyright © 2002 and 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-JUL-1
Latest update: 2004-JUN-1
Author: B.A. Robinson