Today the Supreme Court of the United States voted (only just) in favour of same- sex marriage being legalised across the United States. Read more here. I’ve made my personal views and what I believe the Law should represent here. I’m glad because I believe that this ruling represents a just civil system for all citizens of the United States. In my home country, New Zealand, we’ve already made the leap.
We won something today, but we did not win the War.
Here’s what I’ve seen in countries where this legislation has already been put in place: not a single one of the stupid arguments I heard has come to pass.
- Nobody has yet married a pet or an inanimate object
- Polygamy is still not legal
- The divorce rate hasn’t increased or decreased, inside or outside the church
- Domestic violence hasn’t increased, nor decreased
- Juvenile crime rates haven’t increased
Here’s what you’ll probably be afraid of next.
Considering the amount of vitriol, bigotry, hatred and fear represented either truthfully or under the guise of free speech on Facebook, blogs, Christian columnists and the like today – I thought I would cut to the chase and help you figure out what to panic about next.
Freedom of Gender Choice
It’s inevitable that choice of gender/gender neutrality and/or expression will soon fall under the microscope. It’s possible we’ll give birth to children who have the freedom to self-select their gender post-puberty or even before.
Renewable Marriage Licensing
Now that everybody has the right to divorce, we should probably streamline the legal and economic efficiencies of that. I suggest marriage licenses that require renewal after the first five years with full dissolution of marital property right up to that point unless there are children. Then every ten years following. Less anniversaries but with more significant meaning.
Separation of Spiritual and Civil Marriage
You should probably begin to be concerned about an onslaught of Christian couples ‘living in sin’. Without the careful separation of legal ceremony to make the distinction between civil and Biblical marriage, pastors will more likely be asked to bless non-legal unions than to perform same-sex marriages in their Churches.
What a beautiful indulgence offered by the liberty of democracy and relative economic security.
It’s all about choice.
- Gay men now have more rights in the United States than women do in parts of Asia, Africa, Europe and … oh, EVERYWHERE.
- Gay men are now more likely to be esteemed into positions of spiritual leadership in affirming churches than women in most mainstream denominations.
Collectively, the decision made today and throughout a debate that has cost upwards of $20million in the United States alone is a decision about choice. What a beautiful indulgence offered by the liberty of democracy and relative economic security. We have spent years fighting for choices. What choices to allow people, what choices to withhold from people.
Should this argument be had? Yes. Absolutely. The importance of this conversation is not any less important because of what I’m about to say. But truthfully, those of us who believe in justice and those who believe in liberty (‘Merica!) should orient around these important truths, especially the most liberal of progressive Christians.
The risk is the same-sex marriage, gender and sexual expression debates will overtake the true intent of the social justice movement. The decisions of others to express and honour their same-sex relationships will never impact your own spiritual fate or expression. To believe otherwise is to be deceived and distracted from the real justice issues that daily plunge human lives into darkness.
Be prudent and wise with the battle you choose to fight. The West (and the church) has been distracted with this issue at a time when the ideals of justice and liberty are at risk in the majority, developing world. We need to get back into the business of the poorest and least.
What about those who remain choice-less?
- Today, more than 5000 people will be trafficked and sold into slavery or sex work throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. They have no choices.
- More than 50million people are currently classed as refugees throughout the world, as reported by the UN Refugee Agency on the 20th of June, 2014. They are displaced both externally and internally due to famine, genocide, political and civil unrest and war. They have next to no choices.
- Women make up 80% of all global refugees. They have the fewest choices.
- Each week, refugees drown trying to make their way across the Mediterranean, or to Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia. THe Rohingya are currently the most persecuted refugees in the world. Meanwhile Australia refuses refugees by the boatload or inters them into camps that are closer to prisons than refugee quarters.
Meanwhile, men and women who break the vows of fidelity and honour in their relationship will still sit in church on Sunday. They will even preach from the pulpit. We will wear clothes made in the sweatshops of Thailand, India and China but we will Instagram our supercool organic, gluten-free meal choices. We will choose to ignore the underpaid, uninsured illegal workers that underpin industry in the United States, we will continue to say nothing at all about colour or race and yet daily make choices based on stereotypes and misogny. We will get worked up about 50 Shades of Grey but do nothing about sexual abuse and domestic violence in our homes, churches and communities.
So, we have won something but it’s not the War. What will you fight for next?