^ Uh oh...thinking person...! ;-)
God, Gays & Evangelicals
This is probably wildly simplistic but here goes...Does it not depend how one views marriage? If one views marriage as a religious statement about the relationship between two people who love each other and symbolises their commitment then I don't see why the relevant religion cannot regulate the terms of it.
If it is not a religious statement, and for many it isn't, then what is it? Without all of the religious baggage associated with it, marriage is simply a contract between two people as far as I can see. Unless there is some established state religion I do not see what role the state should have in regulating who can and cannot enter into such an agreement. I do not see why certain types of such agreement should be endorsed and subsidised by the state and others not.
As for supporting marriage through tax concessions and the like: those who marry or enter into such partnerships presumably, for the most part, do so by choice do they not? Why should everybody else support this through their taxes?
As far as children are concerned;I think this complicates the situation: having them is a choice for most people in the western world at least. If a person decides to take on this responsibility why must I pay for it through my taxes? In other places around the world I can fully understand why people have large families - the burden for supporting parents in old-age is shouldered by the children (not the state). If mortatlity rates are high for children then naturally they will have more children.
Once a child is with us though I can see that, even if the parents have been irresponsible, it is not the fault of the child and it is, I think, in all parties' interests to see that the child is properly cared for, fed and educated. I do not see that the parents should gain from their irresponsibility though. Perhaps there is some way to provide for the child without encouraging the less responsible in our societies to have even more kids.
Does it not depend how one views marriage?
In the US there are a couple distinctions that are clear.
There is an explicit separation between state and church. There are, in fact, two kinds of marriage - a secular contract and a religious rite.
So it makes sense to be clear which marriage you are talking about - the secular or the religious.
Certainly a religion can define the rite, the rights, and the responsibilities that are associated with their particular religious marriage when a couple is interacting within their religious community (right or wrong, it is self-contained within their community). We all know, for example, that Catholics aren't required to view a particular marriage as a valid religious arrangement if not performed within the rites of the church. The separation between state and church protects Catholics from needing to acknowledge, within their institutions, that a marriage is valid. Living in sin? No eucharist for you.
But Catholics - or any religious - cannot deny the secular benefits and obligations of a couple when that couple is engaged in the secular contract of marriage. Catholics cannot deny married Jews their rights and responsibilities outside of the Catholic institution. Catholics cannot prevent married Muslims from benefitting from Health Insurance opportunities simply because the Muslims didn't have a "church wedding". Catholics cannot stop married Buddhists from visiting their spouses in the hospital. Catholics cannot tell Baptists which tax form to use because of the particular religious rite they may have used in addition to obtaining a legal marriage certificate.
When religions want to step outside and start playing in the secular world, doing secular things, offering services to the world outside their religious community, they need to be ecumenical in their treatment of those they serve.
You may have a particular view of "marriage" - and within your religious community, you are free to hold that view. But step outside of your community into the larger world where there are other religious, and you must contend with the secular definition, a great unifying, leveling and equalizing mechanism that provides FREEDOM in the US.
Without the freedom to engage in the religious rite of your choosing - or no religious rite at all - their is no freedom of religion. The equality of the secular in dealing with secular matters trumps individual religious viewpoint.
I have no qualms with the distinction between religious marriage and secular marriage. I have no interest in meddling or engaging with any particular religious rite.
I have great concern that the secular contract of marriage remain free of control of any one religion. The separation of state and church is important. Otherwise, we may as well be living under the theocracy of the WTS - or Islam.
Imagine a WTS-led government telling you no oral sex.
Or a Westboro-led government telling you no gay sex.
There's really little difference. It's better, IMO, to give more freedoms in this case than allow others to strip away too much.
Does it not depend how one views marriage?
I suppose ideally marriage would be something instituted by one particular person's religion and no more. Outside of it, the state does not provide any benefits for or any penalties against married persons. For all intents and purposes, the marriage is simply something done between two people and the god they worship (or no god).
But for better or for worse, their is the marriage contract recognized by the state as well.
On the plus side, it can provide legal benefits for the spouses and make it harder for people to just walk away from the commitment without some form of legal consequence. This is particularly beneficial when children are involved.
On the minus side, the state dictates what types of unions are recognized by law and what aren't. The Mormons who still practice polygamy, for example, run afoul of the law from time to time.
While I think it is fair to say that marital unions should be enforced by the state, if for no other reason than to protect both spouses and any resulting children. My contention with the "marriage amendment" that was pushed by Mr Bush in 2004 and the the state of Virginia in 2006 was the whole business that allowing for gay marriages destroys marriages in general. Um, sorry, I'm not buying it giving the fact that marriage in the US has largely been in decline since the 1960's and there certainly weren't any gay marriages allowed for the past 50 years.
I have never understood how gay - let's call them partnerships - undermine marriage. There were many well-articulated comments earlier in the thread.
@PS - are you really a left-handed gay? :)
Generally I avoid commenting on gay threads as I am a virgin in this regard. I have a number of gay friends. They are sensitive, kind and accepting. One of then is 'married' to a vicar. He conducted a small private ceremony for them.
I would choose their company any day, over the sexually frustrated, egotistical, reward seeking, self righteous, bigoted, apostle Paul. Deep breath.
It must be remembered that many women are gay or bisexual. I have known married woman who are gay. They married because they wanted children and security but have special female friends. I have a rather liberal view of it all. As far as I know we only have one life and we must be true to our selves and our nature. If we deny that, what do we have?
Do you er, like gladiators?
Personally I think sexuality is a continuum. Some are 100% hetero, some 100% gay but the majority somewhere between the two but not necessarily being aware of or acting upon it.
I like clean gladiators that have had a shower ;)
What would Jesus do TODAY? I don't know, I really don't know to be honest.
John 8:1-11 (New International Version)
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go no w and leave your life of sin."
John 3:17 (New International Version)
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 12:47 (New International Version)
47 "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.
Well said Steven, well said indeed.
The actions of a large portion of people who claim to be christian would seem to be in conflict with John 12:47.
No doubt they have some scriptural legalese that justifies such behaviour.