Friday, February 09, 2007

Marriage Matters

Next week is "Freedom to Marry" week. It's a national call for marriage equality for all.

I'm pleased to share that The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force asked us to write an "Article of Faith" on why as religious leaders we support marriage for same sex couples. You can read it at

They asked a variety of religious leaders to comment on the piece. I was moved by the diverse support, but nothing moved me more than this story by Rabbi Joel Kushner about his son. It offers the WHY marriage equality (and why not stop at civil unions) far better than I can.

Here it is:

I met my son when he was four and a half years old. He called me Joel and his father was Papa. When he was seven years old, I married his father in a large religious ceremony that he had an active part in. About a week before the ceremony, he started calling me ‘Dad’ and it was Dad this and Dad that in every sentence and question. A few days after the ceremony, as we sat around the table, he said, ‘Dad, remember when I used to call you Joel?’ as if it was years ago and not just two weeks. I said yes and asked what had brought about the change. He looked at me as if it were the most obvious thing in the world and said, ‘You got married to Papa.’ I smiled and thought about what had created family for my young son. Marriage matters.”

Marriage Equality matters.

How could any person of faith want to deny this seven year old this experience of love and family? Let me know what you think.


Cassandra said...

Opponents argue that same-sex marriage defies biblical tradition. But depending on which book you read, the biblical standard for marriage embraces polygamy, forbids divorce, allows surrogacy, forbids interfaith unions, regards women as property and makes adultery punishable by death.
I suppose you could read the Bible in this manner, but it seems like a haphazard reading. If you understand the New Testament to be a fulfillment of the Old Testament, I think the model for our sexuality is pretty clear in Matthew 19:3-9.

I don't doubt that homosexual parents are well-intentioned, however, I also feel that child has a right to have a mother AND a father. I don't think men and women are exactly the same. They each embody unique characteristics proper to their sex. I think these characteristics are integral to the development of the child.

Let's leave the question of sexual orientation out of it, however. What would you say is preferable? For a child to be raised by his two Aunts or his parents. I'm sure his Aunts would do a fine job of raising him, but do you think his parents have something different to offer or is it the same thing?

Pam said...

Does the child also have a mother somewhere in addition?

Christine Robinson said...

The real question, cassandra, for most kids being raise by two parents of the same sex is not, would be better for them to be raised by their own mother and father, but is it better that they be raised by one lonely parent or two happy parents of one sex? (the research says, it's better to have two). Is it better to be raised by a single person who has adopted you or by foster care? (no doubts about that, either.) It's not an ideal world.

Kenn Chaplin said...

Not sure if you've seen this - something very personal my 75-year old mother presented to her congregation in discussions last year around Canada's revisions to marriage laws (making same-sex marriage legal!).

The small-town congregation gave the green light, BTW :)

DeniseUMLaw said...

"They each embody unique characteristics proper to their sex."

Other than biology (you know, reproduction) I would sincerely LOVE to know what these are.

baby221 said...

I don't doubt that homosexual parents are well-intentioned, however, I also feel that child has a right to have a mother AND a father.

I assure you, Cassandra, that queer people have friends of alternative sexes :) Even if Heather has two mommies, she probably has a father-figure somewhere in her life: an uncle, a teacher, a pastor, one of mom's best guy friends, somebody who can embody those "unique characteristics proper to their sex."