This post is quite thoroughly off-topic for this blog. But as someone who is openly religious and who
has written a number of posts that criticize Christian institutions, I get a fair bit of mail from cretins
who make demands that I speak up to defend their pathetic insistence that all religious people
must support discrimination. In the hopes that I can get these jackasses to leave me alone by
demonstrating that I’m so far beyond the pale that pestering me is a waste of time, I present this
I do not “support” homosexuality – because I do not believe I have the right to an opinion on
it. Who someone is attracted to, who they choose to love, is quite simply none of my business. To say that
I support homosexuality is to say that it’s a subject where I have a right to expect that my opinion has
value and relevance. I don’t think that I have the right to decide in general whether anyone
else’s preferences, attractions, or choices about who to love, who to have sex with, are correct or not.
It’s simply so none of my business that expressing an opinion on it is an inappropriate intrusion
on the lives of others. When it comes to people that I know personally, of course I have opinions of their
choices – and it varies by the couple. There are some heterosexual couples that I’ve known who I think
should never have gotten together, who will inevitably make each other miserable, who are absolutely
ill-suited towards any kind of permanent relationship. But I don’t get to tell them what to do. I’ve also
got homosexual friends who have some of the most beautiful, romantic, almost perfect partnerships that
I could imagine. And I don’t get to tell them what to do either. I’ve got my opinions about those, because I know and care about the people in them – but I don’t and shouldn’t have any right to put any legal force behind those opinions.
I support civil unions rather than legal marriage for gay couples. But that is only because I do not support legal marriage at all, for anyone: I also support civil unions rather than legal marriage for straight couples.
Marriage is really two different things which have gotten mushed together: a legal contract
recognizing a certain legal relationship between two people; and a declaration (possibly endorsed
by a religion, possibly not) recognizing a certain personal relationship between two people. Just as it is
involved in enforcing all other kinds of legal contracts, the government has a good reason for being
involved in the former. But it has absolutely no right and no justification for being involved in the
The two should be separated. The legal contract is a civil union; the personal declaration is
marriage. Any two people – or even any group of adults who wish to establish a common household should be able to register their relationship via the legal contract of civil union: a straight couple,
a gay couple, a group of people with no sexual relationship at all. The government should be permitted to
regulate the legal structure of civil union – but only as a legal contract between
The personal declaration should be completely out of the governments hands. They should have no more right to say who can be married or how they can be married than they have to say who can be bar-mitzvahed, or who can have children. When it comes to religious marriage, who can or cannot participate in a religious ceremony is no business of the government – it’s a matter for the religious community, and the government should keep its grubby little nose out.
And as a religious Reconstructionist Jew, I fully support religious gay marriage in the Reconstructionist community.