Last night in New York, the Marriage Equality Act passed: read about it here.
For some people, this is welcome news. There is a lot of celebrating going on in a lot of households this morning. For others, today is anything but a day to rejoice. As yet, I have not heard anything rude from my liberal friends (perhaps along the lines of “Boooo-YAH! In your face, you stupid conservative JERKS!”). But I have seen some pretty hateful things posted to Facebook from my conservative friends. I have some advice, if you’re willing to listen.
First, be aware that everything you put up there is public. If you put it on Twitter, people can re-tweet it. If you put it on Facebook, people can copy and paste it into their own status updates. At that point, it’s no longer even just you venting to your own friends. You have unleashed your anger on the world. Maybe you don’t care, but that’s one reason I am highly aware of what I put out there in public. That kind of venting can come back to bite you in the rear if you aren’t careful.
Second, try to understand that not all Christians agree, even on the issue of homosexuality. It’s really not a major point of doctrine, and whether we agree on the subject is not important. We are still brothers and sisters in Christ, and we ought to treat one another accordingly. Keep in mind that spewing venom isn’t going to further your relationship with your fellow Christians. I saw some pretty hurt and upset people this morning. You might think that “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” is a clever little saying, but is it really necessary to say it?
Third, try to put yourself in the place of the GLBT people in your life. Perhaps you believe you don’t know anyone who is gay. Maybe you’re really sheltered and you actually don’t know anyone. I don’t know. But we need to try to get outside ourselves and imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. If you put nasty things up on Facebook, do you imagine that no one is going to be hurt by your words? Even if you don’t personally know anyone gay, a lot of us have loved ones who are. Think how the nasty comments might hurt us, too. (Note: It’s not about disagreeing, it’s about being spiteful with it.)
Fourth, marriage between one man and one woman is not going anywhere. I’m attending a wedding this morning with my husband. They are getting married, we are still married, and those people with wedding bells in their future can rest assured that they will be able to carry out their plans. In fact, if you read the Marriage Equality Act correctly, it only applies to civil marriage. Churches are not expected to perform same-sex marriages or provide use of their facilities for such. Religious institutions (and, apparently, other non-profits) can’t be prosecuted for refusal to perform same-sex marriages. Much of the hostility is probably about fear. Relax; no one’s marriage is in danger here.
Finally, above all, remember that this is not about you. This is not a personal attack on your faith, your beliefs, or your relationships. These changes have already come about in Canada, and the world has not blown up (yet). This may be a great day for some and a lousy day for others, but in time, it won’t be something we think about much anymore. Let’s try not to say things we’ll regret next week.