• May 2012: Recognising Gay Marriage

    The past month has seen a vast amount of news coverage and debate about the topic of equal marriage for gay people. I must admit that whilst I was fully in favour of Civil Partnerships, which we have had in the UK since 2004, for a long time I could not see the need for gay marriage. On the contrary, knowing that this could cause offense in some quarters, I felt that it would be better to keep the name “marriage” for heterosexual partners. I did feel strongly, however, that it was very important for the government to end the prohibition against having a Christian celebration of Civil Partnerships in those churches that were open to offering such a service.

    However, the fundamentalist rant against gay marriage in recent weeks has changed my mind! None of them have presented any rational, coherent reason for explaining their opposition to the commitment of same-sex couples in marriage. And I have never heard of a single heterosexual marriage that has in any way ever been upset or undermined by the knowledge that a loving committed same-sex partnership could also be called “marriage”. On the contrary, I do not believe that any couples who have experienced true heterosexual love would hesitate to recognise the love and commitment that can exist between two men or two women. It is the total lack of understanding, lack of Christian love and overarching bigotry on the part of the fundamentalists that has convinced me that my sensitivity towards the feelings of heterosexual people about the use of the term marriage has been entirely unwarranted. Nor can I see any biblical reason whatever for opposing gay marriage, unless you oppose gay relationships based on a traditional and, I believe, deeply flawed interpretation of scripture.

    So thanks to the fundamentalists, I am now fully in support of gay marriage and especially commend the Coalition for Equal Marriage campaign; indeed I highly recommend you watch and pass on their moving short video.

    Much good stuff has been written about this whole subject, and I highly commend Rev Benny Hazlehurst’s blog and his writings on the Accepting Evangelicals website, see for further reading.

    Personal media exposure:

    Over the years, I have usually done my best to keep out of the media whenever possible, as I have never known it do any good for Courage. However, I took a risk in agreeing to be interviewed recently by Leise Spencer, who wanted to write my story for an article in The Guardian Weekend magazine. Many people have written to say how much they appreciated it. The story, published on the 21st April, can be found at The Guardian website.

    The appearance of this article prompted another lady called Liz Ray, who made a video-taped interview with me at my office in April 2011, to put up her interview on a new website about Spiritual Journeys. This is especially useful as it describes in my own words the journey that Courage has made, from “ex-gay” to gay affirming, and why. There are 3 excerpts on the website making up just over half an hour’s interview.

    As “Courage” draws to a close (this September), I hope that I shall have many more opportunities—not only in the media, but more especially in churches and to Christian groups—to be able to share the journey we have been on. Whilst there remain many church leaders who resist change, I also know there are many evangelical Christians at grass-roots level, who are less than convinced by the traditional views and are genuinely much more open than ever before to hear the stories of LGBT people and understand the issues better.

    If anyone reading this knows that their church or leadership team would be interested in hearing a short talk and helping to create the opportunity to discuss the issues raised, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01483 301411 or by e-mail: himself@jeremymarks.me.uk. Or through the Courage website which is still active at the present time, and will be until the “new Courage” has set up their new website.

    And if there is anyone who would like to join us for the final Courage Retreat on the weekend of 15th – 17th June in Suffolk, please contact me: himself@jeremymarks.me.uk.

    Jeremy Marks

    13th May 2012

    2 Comments

    • 1. May 14 2012 7:23AM by Peter Leeson

      My support for same-sex marriage has been linked for a long time to my travels. When a couple has a "civil partnership" but are not married, should they travel to another country, their legal state is just "not married". If you move to a country in which same-sex marriage is legal (Belgium, Spain and many many others), you will be "not married". If your partner has an accident you may be refused visiting rights as you are not recognized as next of kin, but only as a partner - possibly a business partner. This aspect has been largely ignored in the debate, yet, aside from this, I believe a civil partnership is the equivalent to a registry-office wedding.

    • 2. Jun 17 2012 12:41PM by Tim Warner

      My objection to gay marriage is based on several points.

      I firmly believe that marriage is an institution which is established by God since the beginning of mankind. There was no provision made for two men nor two women to covenant together before God as there was for a man and a woman.

      I firmly believe that down through history the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman has been recognized in every society as the single, unique, and sole accepted and sanctioned expression of a union between two people, man and woman.

      Jesus had every opportunity to speak out in favor of gay marriage during His three year ministry. The closest He came (as recorded) was when He said that "for this reason a man shall leave his father and cleave to his wife..."

      I firmly believe that the current debate in America and elsewhere in the Western World has more to do with a rejection of an established and accepted morality which foundation is Biblical, and which has endured and dominated throughout western societies until at best the past 30 - 50 years.

      I firmly believe that to support "gay marriage" is to reject scriptural values, and socially established morality. I also believe that in addition to an act of defiance and violent rebellion against society, it is an action which is completely and violently a rejection and defiance of God.

      I know that gay marriage is wrong. Beyond admitting that this is a "feeling" or a "sense" that I have deep within my soul, my heart or my conscience, I cannot further explain how or why I know gay marriage to be wrong.

      Those who desire gay marriage are attempting to do something that will imperil western society. I can say it no more clearly than to say that it is "thumbing the nose" at God. It is a desperate attempt to act in complete disregard of God's will for mankind.

      There is no one more sinful than I. I am aware of my sin(s) and it is against God that I sin. To alter the government's laws concerning marriage is an attempt to alter God's laws concerning the institution of marriage. In other words, if I won't stop sinning than I have to a) deny God's definition of sin,as written in scripture, or revise and obfuscate scripture to support that which I want to do ( hath God said...?) Or I have to admit that I am a hopeless sinner whose only recourse is the mercy of God and His power to bring me out of sin. But my responsibility is NOT to say that what God calls sin is actually NOT sin nor God has changed His mind.... If I am arguing with God, I ultimately must agree with God.

      If I could find proof that gay marriage is "ok with God" I could be persuaded to change my mind.I have never heard that proof.

      There are other things regarding my homosexual condition which I wish God would sanction and permit, but He hasn't and it is unlikely that He will change His mind to allow me unbridled, promiscuous, constant sexual activity. I have to accept that, and when I fail to keep that standard I am painfully aware that I have sinned against God. That is just the way it is.

      Now --- where am I wrong in my thinking? Realizing that this is my predominately subjective analysis of gay marriage, I need to know where I am in error...

      Tim

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