Discussing any controversial topic on Facebook is like trying to have an intelligent conversation using only post it notes. It is simply not a forum that encourages much thoughtful, respectful dialogue. (Not you, of course. I'm sure that you, dear reader, are just enlightening other people left and right and with utmost kindess and respect). So I try very hard to avoid those kind of topics there...what is the point? People are more interested in being a sound bite then in actually trying to understand each other. They are all too willing to hide behind the electronic medium of delivery and pretend like the things they are saying are not hurtful to actual people with actual feelings...people who may even been thier "friends", or at least friends of friends. I'm sure this is probably true for people on both sides of any given issue, and probably more true for some people then others (some people are just LIKE that...like they were born to be cyber bulies). However, it is a pitfall that I imagine most of us have fallen into at least once. I know I have "liked" something that referred to people on the other side of an issue as "stupid" so then I had to go and un"like" it. I mean, some of those people might be stupid, but some are just ignorant and some...dare I say it...are intelligent, thoughtful people who have given the issue deep thought and have simply come to a different conclusion than I have! Viva la differance! (I can't spell that and my spell check doesn't do French but whatever...you get it). I don't understand why they are on that side, or exactly how they got there, what flavor of crazysauce is in thier water, but I can accept it and still treat them with respect. You know, as much respect as I can muster for an ignoramous...(I kid!). I can treat them online with as much respect as I would treat them in person, as I would treat them as a guest in my home. It doesn't mean that another invitation to my home would be forthcoming if the same respect is not shown to me (or any other guests in my home whose views may differ from thiers) but I can START THERE. I can do that, at least.
The controversial topic that currently has me ignoring my children to type as quickly-as-I-can- since-whatever-game-they-are-playing-with-the-Lincoln-Logs-is-not-going-to-last-forever? Gay Marriage.
I believe that Gay people should be allowed to get married.
Now, I get it that I am Catholic and that the Catholic Church does not want to marry gay people. Well, to each other. I believe I understand the Church's teachings. IT IS NOT MY PLACE NOR MY OBJECTIVE TO CHANGE THE CHURCH. (Although my understanding is that it is ok to BE gay, just not ok to have the gay sex as it is not open to life. To this I have two things to say: 1. There are plently of people who are not gay who are married in the church who are having sex who are not open to life and we still let them be married...I mean that kind of detail is really between them and God so why should it be different for the Gays? and 2. How do we know that the Gay couple is not open to life? Sure science guarentees that it won't happen but that is true for people who are older, or for medical reasons CAN'T get pregnant and yet we don't look at those facts of science for THEM. We ask them to be "open to life" which is possible for any couple, gay or straight-but-100%-infertile...)
But I digress. My point is not to change the Church. As I promised when I was confirmed (remind me to tell you this story another time) I remain open to hearing what the Church as to say, to listen respectfully to Her teachings and prayerfully consider these matters, giving great weight to the Church. I do so and I will continue to do so. Luckily, I am not gay so in this case it is all academic. If I was a gay Catholic I imagine this would be a much more difficult road for me.
So. Church's (all of them...not just mine) can say yay or nay to who they marry. Not everyone is Catholic, however, or Christian, or even RELIGIOUS. In the Untied Staes we are lucky enough to have a little bit of crazy present from each belief system you can imagine, including the "I don't believe in any of the systems". Our country was founded on the desire to create a place in the world where that was possible...that while there are common laws to protect the common good no one, by God (or not) could tell anyone else what to think! Hazzah!
And the fact of the matter is there are people (and plenty of them) who want to marry other people of the same sex. And these people are consenting adults and citizens of the United States of America. They don't think or believe like you do nor do they require that YOU think or believe as THEY do. They just want to enjoy "certain unalienable Rights...among these are Life, Liberty and the persuit of Happiness." (Sorry, didn't mean to quote the Declaration there...got a bit carried away). When the government doesn't allow two consenting adults to marry each other (for reasons like religious beliefs, color of their skin, sexual orientation) they are infringing upon these rights. Religious groups don't have to like it, they don't have to perform the marriages if they don't want to, but we have (tried to) set things up in such a way that in our country religious groups don't get to tell others how they can or can't live. Nor can our government tell one belief system that it is better or more right than another. I mean, that was the whole POINT.
So that is the legal part. The government not only should allow gay people to get married, they are OBLIGATED to do so. If you don't like it then don't get that kind of married.
Now onto the moral part...People who argue that a gay marriage somehow undermines their own marriage. That gay marriage is somehow dangerous to children, to society, to the "sanctity of marriage". That somehow, allowing gay marriage is a danger to the "common good".
Respectfully, I call "Bullshit".
I'm not saying all gay men and women are upstanding members of society, anymore than straight men or women are. I'm not going to cite the many short marriages of straight celebrities that do more harm to destroy marriage in our kids eyes when they see THAT TRAIN WRECK on the news then most gay couples could do on their worst day. I'm not going to make a trite joke about how crappy married life is and that the gays are welcome to it.
What I can write about is what I know.
The gay couple that we love and respect so much we asked them to be Godparents to our kids. The gay couples that we know that show our family examples of real love, respect and commitement through good times and bad. The gay couples that we know that are wonderful parents. These friends who have made our life better, the lives of our family and our children better. These friends that are examples of the "sanctity of marriage". These friends that I couldn't deny "Life, Liberty and the persuit of Happiness" to just because they were born who they are...kind, warm, loving, strong, funny, intelligent...and also gay.