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Religious Tolerance logo

2008-DEC Newsweek article in support of same-sex marriage

Topics covered in the article: Part 2

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This is a continuation of Part 1

Topics covered in Lisa Miller's article:

  • She suggests that religious conservatives are not opposed to SSM because of the Bible; their objections come from two sources:
    • Custom and tradition.
    • Discomfort with the idea of two men or two women engaging in sexual acts. 1

  • Miller notes that many passages in the Bible relate to human slavery, execution of adulterers, hatred of Jews, and other practices considered immoral by today's ethical and religious standards. We now ignore these passages. She suggests that we do the same for references to homosexuality in the Bible:
    "A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it's impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours."
  • She notes that the cultural understanding of marriage has changed in recent decades towards a union of two equal partners.
    • The courts support women who are victims of spousal abuse.
    • Opposite-sex marriage ceremonies used to refer to "man and wife" but now specifies "husband and wife."
    • "Head and master" laws which gave the husband control over the family have largely been repealed.

  • The implication is that SSM is perhaps the next step in the evolution of marriage.

  • She quotes Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, emeritus professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, who refers to the inclusiveness of the early Christian movement. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ." In contrast with most religious conservatives who argue against SSM from proof texts, he said that the religious support for SSM: "... is not generally made with reference to particular texts, but with the general conviction that the Bible is bent toward inclusiveness."

She concludes her article by writing:

"The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference—all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow. ... If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that." 2

"More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this."  

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Lisa Miller, "Our Mutual Joy," Newsweek, 2008-DEC-15, at: http://www.newsweek.com/
  2. Actually, there are probably many Americans still opposed to inter-racial marriage:
    • In 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized inter-racial marriages in an ironically named case "Loving v. Virginia," 72% of American adults opposed such marriages.n
    • In 1991, only seventeen years before this Newsweek article was published, those adults opposed to inter-racial marriage finally became a minority.
    • More information about inter-racial marriages in the U.S..

Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > MenuNewsweek article > here

Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-DEC-12
Latest update: 2008-DEC 12
Author: B.A. Robinson

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