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An essay donated by Susan Humphreys

Is opposing same-sex marriage not hate?

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The headline over a Letter to the Editor of Charleston, IL Journal Gazette & Times Courier -- my local paper -- reads "Opposing gay marriage not hate." The writer states "Those of us that oppose gay marriage don’t hate anyone. ... Ministers who preach against gay marriage are not engaged in hate speech."

I know the gentleman that wrote the letter and I consider him to be basically a nice person, a responsible citizen of our community. To give him the benefit of the doubt I don’t think that he sees his words or action as hateful. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t.

If he doesn’t think his words and actions are hateful, what does he think they are? Are they moral or immoral, just or unjust, respectful or disrespectful, loving or….not loving, the right or the wrong (civil/uncivil) thing to say or do?

I haven’t heard the sermons against "gay marriage" or for "one man, one woman marriage" made by the ministers he speaks of. I would be curious to hear their arguments. Why are they against "gay marriage"?

I suspect their arguments are based on the arguments we have all heard. The Bible says marriage is between one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation. This website has good arguments against this position and I don’t need to repeat them here.

I wonder if they think that granting homosexuals the right to marry legitimizes behavior they think is wrong or behavior they think should be criminalized, or at least definitely not encouraged?

Do they cite the passages in Leviticus 18 and 20, insisting they must be obeyed while ignoring the other commandments that they don’t wish to be bothered with, like wearing clothes that are a blend of two materials, eating shellfish, getting a tattoo, applying grass seed that is a mixture of grass types, etc.?  Are they basing their opinions on passages in Corinthians and Timothy that scholars have shown have been mistranslated? Do they misread and misunderstand the passage in Romans and the story about Sodom and Gomorrah? This website has a good discussion about all of these arguments against homosexuals and homosexual behavior.

Some claim that "gay marriage" demeans (makes a mockery of) the very concept of marriage? How can a loving relationship demean marriage? It is abusive relationships that demean the concept of marriage.

I wonder if this gentleman thinks that he and ministers and others have the right to denigrate, belittle, vilify, demean, bear false witness against (spread lies and misinformation), persecute  (by denying someone their legal or civil rights) others -- those that are different or who don’t believe what he/they believe?

Are he and the ministers he refers to being hypocritical? Do they demand rights for themselves that they aren’t willing to grant to others that are different. I wonder if they have even stopped to consider that "marriage" grants certain legal rights that are denied to unmarried couples. This website has a good discussion about this aspect of the "gay marriage" debate.

Do he and the ministers think they have the right to demand that public policies that affect the rights of ALL people adhere to their beliefs? If their church wishes to discriminate against homosexuals and deny them the right to be married in their church, I have to admit they have the right to do that.

I would hope that other people, heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals, married or single, would leave that church in protest and seek spiritual guidance and sustenance elsewhere.

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Illinois passed a civil union law allowing for civil unions of same sex or opposite sex couples. Then some legislators tried to deny those that got a civil union the benefits granted to married partners. Personally I think all unions licensed by a state should be civil unions. BUT only if the same rights are granted to civil union couples that have been traditionally granted to married couples.

Hate speech is "communication (written, verbal, in cyber space, words or gestures) that vilifies a person or group on the basis of color, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristic. It is also speech that might incite violence or prejudicial action towards a particular group."

According to Wikipedia, hate crimes "... occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his perceived membership in a certain group and causes physical or emotional harm to the victim.  Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, BULLYING, HARASSMENT, VERBAL ABUSE or INSULTS, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail or cyber attacks)."

I give the gentleman from my community the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think that he means to be hateful. But that doesn’t mean that his words and actions aren’t nor does it mean that they don’t cause discord and disharmony in a community or result in unjust (prejudicial) actions!

Finally I wonder if he and the ministers he refers to search the Bible to find support for their fear and prejudice and justification and sanctification of their actions? Or do they look to the Bible to find advice on how to treat their fellow man, all of them, especially those that are different from them?

Perhaps he and the ministers would be wise to consider another passage in the Bible, and ask themselves if they would like to be treated as they are treating homosexuals!

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Originally posted: 2012-OCT-26
Latest update: 2012-OCT-26
Author: Susan Humphreys

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