Don’t Hate Me For Asking….

Can I ask a question?

Of course I can.

I think what I really mean is, can I ask this question without offending anyone?  When the sole intention is actually to support those who may be offended?

Deep breath.

Here goes.

If “marriage” is defined as a union between “a” man and “a” woman, then why, if you are entering in to a union that is not “a” man and “a” woman, do you want that?

Whoa.

Hold on.

I agree we should all have the same rights.  Absolutely.

But if the world is so freaked out about changing a definition, why not create something better – for you.  And for many, many, others.

I don’t know who has the authority to make up words and then define them, and define them so that no entity ever can change that definition.   But personally, I am pretty sure that authority can just settle themselves down.  I, in regard to  that authority’s existence, defy you all the time.

I make up words to suit my purpose.  Why?  Because I need a word, and a definition, that works for me. 

And none of the previous word-making-up-definition-applying-authorities have made the words that I have needed.

So take that definition authorities!

I think those who do not fit in to that definition shouldn’t try fitting in to that definition.   They should come up with their own word, and their own definition.  And then put their powers to work to get the world to legally accept it, encompass it, and you know….even get jealous of it.

Who wouldn’t be jealous of something that is created, accepting, tolerant, and all encompassing?

I bet if someone can do this there will be an awful lot of married  people who are quick to want to jump the bonds of their marriage and join the forces of you.   You who love the idea of love.   You want your love to be as valid and as legal as mine.

So why not create a word to encompass what you already have.

Why not be forward thinking.

Instead of trying to fit in to a mold, why not create a mold.

If marriage is defined as that bond between “a” man and “a” woman and the world says you can’t have it because you aren’t those two very different things, there’s no shame in that.

I ask these things not because I don’t want you to have marriage.  I do.  But I see so many people fighting an unbending world.  And because so many don’t bend, they snap.   Whether I understand every single union between two consenting adults or not (I don’t!) I know I don’t have the right to tell someone their love is not as important, or as legal, as mine.

You don’t allow others to define love for you.

Why are you letting them define your relationship union?

Just as an aside but kindasorta similar.   Maybe not.  But it’s the closest comparison I could think of….   When I was in grade school there were a couple of kids that were bullies.  They said things to me.  On more than one occasion they literally pushed me around.   They tried to make me feel like crap.  And they succeeded.   I wanted the power I thought they had.  I wanted the authority they thought they had.   But I have to say, I never wanted to be like them.   I wanted to be stronger and authoritative within me.  For me.   It would have been nice if they had changed.  But there was nothing I could have done to change who they were and how they saw me.

So I grew up and built my own wonderful life.

I stopped worrying about them a very long time ago.

I know this goes much deeper than my very naive way of looking at this.  I know there is suffering and inequality for so many people.   Again, naively, I believe I can changes ‘things’ better than I can change people.   But in the process of creating better ‘things’ I always hope it looks wonderful to others and they like what I create.

I feel quite vulnerable putting this out there.  I know many people don’t “believe” in anything that is not already defined.  I know many will think I have over-simplified this.  In asking one another to accept our personal beliefs we should also be willing to accept those of old.  Those of new.  And those yet to be.  It does seem simple to me.

Deep breath…

114 thoughts on “Don’t Hate Me For Asking….

  1. I think, in a way, they want to be recognized. They need the world to look at their union as something acceptable (which in my opinion it should be!) And if they just label it something else, then the world will still sneer and will still laugh and call it a fake. But to be recognized as marriage, something everyone recognizes as legit, who can really naysay it? And even if they do, they have that protection of marriage.

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    • Ah. Yes. Well said MSampson. I guess my concern is that there is so much fighting going on. I will recognize a union between two consenting adults regardless of what it is called. Why do we sneered at our differences?

      Isn’t “marriage” by it’s own history, full of the possibility of failure, cheating, and do-overs? How many marriages do we see now that are “fake”. I see many marriages that are not ‘legit’.

      I want everyone to have the same rights that “marriage” gives married persons.

      But I think there has to be some forward thinking. Everyone is standing inside a very old box.

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  2. I agree with your point, but I do think that it can be very, very challenging to walk away from something that you have been denied. It’s hard not to fight for what you want and what you deserve, when you’ve been told you can’t have it. I suspect that no matter what you would call this union, there would still be people fighting against it. There’s just so much anger and fear in the world. This might be a step in the right direction, though. A new union, that is not quite marriage, and is certainly not less than marriage…just something new.

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    • I agree Shel. I do understand my point is very simplistic, and likely extremely simplistic. I don’t want it to look like I am disregarding the very thing you say.

      I, again very simply, wish for all of us to have the same rights. To have the same responsibilities to one another.

      I don’t want it to be different for anyone.

      Personally I have no issues with man marrying man, or woman marrying woman. But if we are asking the world to accept beliefs of everyone, we have to also consider the feelings of those who believe marriage is what they define it as. That may seem contradictory, but really it isn’t. We all have the right to our beliefs. We need to find a way to move forward to give everyone the same rights. Regardless of what it is called.

      Obviously there is no easy answer.

      I guess I just wish there was. And that is part of my naive nature.

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  3. I will just say only what I feel when I hear this argument for gay people wanting to be in a marriage…

    I feel that ‘marriage is defined by a man and woman being married’.

    I Feel gay people should have their own very special name for their marriage… so that when the word is say… ‘it’ll be recognized for what it means, just as when the word ‘marriage’ is said.

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  4. I believe if we have to create a new word for a union between people of the same gender, then we are asking for those people to settle, and that is unfair. We wouldn’t want for women to settle for making less money than a man by offering a new phrase to substitue for “fair wages” would we? Should people of color have a special place to sit on the bus because they are different? “We’re not discriminating…we’ve made a special section JUST for THEM!!” It sounds absurd once we start substituting other, more “acceptable” nouns for “gays” and “marriage,” doesn’t it? Beyond the gender part of the definition, let’s rewrite the whole thing. You can’t marry if you’re not in love, you can’t marry for financial gain, you can’t marry if you don’t plan to stay married. I think all of these things are way more harmful to the institution of marriage than who is getting married! But that’s just my opinion…

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    • Hello S.I.L.! 🙂

      I appreciate your opinion!

      Though I don’t think I’m suggesting for anyone to “settle”. A woman accepting lower wages for same work as a man, IS settling. And of course, not right.

      I WANT everyone to have the same rights. I want consenting adults to all have the same rights. To enter into a committed relationship and have all of the legal rights and obligations that all other consenting adults have when they enter in to a committed relationship. I am not asking for less at all.

      Remember, I am very aware that this is a “simple” thought, It does NOT encompass the depth of the problem. To me the battle is about equality. Not “a” word.

      I don’t want any person to be considered “less” than anyone else.

      If we are going to use words as an example…. here in America we call cookies: cookies. In Europe they are called “biscuits”. But if I go to Europe and eat a biscuit, I’m still having a cookie. Again, a very simple comparison. It’s just a word. And as a lover of words, I don’t want to lose who I am or what I have over a word.

      I want the cookie. Or the biscuit. Or the shommeywhop. As long as it is what I want. I don’t care what it’s called.

      I know there will be many many different thoughts and opinions on this. And this is how we get around to “fixing” our problems. Sharing them. So thank you. 🙂

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      • Okay…I see I didn’t really make my point. Keep in mind that I write for a living, so getting hung up on a little word is kind of the whole purpose of my existence! So…let’s try this way…How about voting, then? So, like, if you’re a woman, you can “mote” but you can’t vote. Voting is for men. That is how the law was written. And we, as women, would say, “But that isn’t fair. I want to vote, just like men can vote.” And the men would say, “Silly female! You ARE voting! We just call it something different. Now, go make my dinner.” That would bother you, right? (It would bother me, and I’m not a feminist…I’m a humanist.) Why does my voting have to be called something else to keep the men happy with the fact that they’re the only people allowed to vote. “Is my mote less important than his vote?” you’d always wonder. Do you see where I’m going with this? Either it’s the same or it isn’t. If it’s the same, we call it the same.
        I love you and your thinking, my Sister!

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        • I can’t help but chuckle. At me, not your response. Because I am still stuck in the same place. I am a bit …of a different thinker. I do like your word…not feminist but a “humanist”.

          Personally I wouldn’t care if it was “mote”. I’m not asking for anyone to settle for “less” at all. It doesn’t matter to me if the “word” is different as long as the meaning is the same.

          There are so many wonderful differences in the world. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrating many of them.

          But there are things that should not be different. Humanistic (I like your word) basic rights should apply to all.

          If we get stuck on ‘what’ we call things then we can’t get to what really matters. For right now, give EVERYONE the same legal rights/benefits/tax breaks/tax burdens, etc…. We’ll figure out the naming of it later.

          It’s how we treat one another, respecting everyone’s opinion.

          If someone believes “marriage” is one man/one woman, but they believe in equal rights for gay men and women to marry, are they “bad” or “wrong”. When they want the same rights across the board. But they are “stuck” on a word? They can’t redefine it for themselves, but they accept and support the rights of others. They accept those rights, will vote for those rights. But in their own heads, they cannot redefine that word.

          I will mote. Because in theory what I am talking about, the ‘word’ does not matter. It is the rights that matter.

          🙂 Ha! I can’t wait for the next family get together! 🙂

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          • The word is not the thing. Change the word and the thing it’s pointing to is still the same, separation based on beliefs and definitions, one being considered different (and in most cases less than or not in accord with-some word, belief, etc.). Your intentions are benevolent and I hear what you’re saying but it seems theoretical and on this one I agree with your sister-in-law, the writer. Sorry for butting in and please let me know if I ruffled… I’m stretching through my discomfort to write this.

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            • No ruffles here! 🙂

              I’m stretching right along with you Paulette. Huge “risk” is what I felt I was taking. But it seems such a small risk compared to what happens if none of us take this chance to speak.

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  5. Let me also say this. Marriage used to be binding. Til death do us part, but now there is divorce. SO MUCH divorce and disolution. If the basis of marriage can change in that, then why can we not evolve it to include same sex marriage? It’s just a fear that people can’t get past to allow this. The world is such a hypocritcal place!

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  6. For me, marriage means union of souls. I like to keep things simple. Who cares what anatomical bits two people entering marriage have. Maybe the answer is to abolish the whole marriage thing. That should simplify things even more.

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  7. I think it is time to retire the word marriage from the scope of government and from now on use the term lunion to legally define the contract between two consenting adults. The term marriage would be used to describe a social contract within the bounds of the social group preforming the event.

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  8. I agree with Yaz above here …. marriage means union of souls … then it doesn’t matter what gender they are. Have gay married friends and they have children too – and their families are so solid and so full of love and understanding. The only friends I have that have stayed with the partners they married. My hetero sexual friends has divorced and re-married again. I think love comes in many shapes and forms … and who are we to judge what is right or wrong. We should all have the same rights to manifest our love. In Sweden gay couple get married and I wouldn’t like it to be in any other way.

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  9. 1. Not everyone nor all things are created equal.
    2. The government and it’s staff, whom we elected, are left to vote for what is best for our country
    3. Man created the concept of marriage that included a piece of paper.
    4. Then we created “divorce” which ended a marriage with a piece of paper
    5. We have rules and laws for a reason.
    6. When a rule or law does not fit our liking, we yell, protest, blog, facebook, scream and kick until a new one is created to go with the theme of the times.
    7. Look how far we have come…look how far we have let it all go.

    …..Maybe this reply is not JUST about gay marriage.

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  10. Why on earth would ‘they’ want a ‘marriage’, indeed. Something new and something of their own, not something borrowed for lack of imagination. In France there is the Pacte Civil de Solidarite (PACS) which allows both heterosexual and homosexual people to have a lawfully recognised pact. It doesn’t give quite the same level of tax and legal benefits as marriage but it is a wonderful way for people to commit who can’t or don’t want to marry.

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    • Really? Wow, the things I do not know. I know many centuries ago there used to be “levels” of marriage in some countries. I don’t know how or why it changed. But apparently people of those times wanted it changed. But now, that sounds like a bit of a throw back to those times.

      I don’t think those who legally are not “allowed” to marry want anything “less” legally or tax wise. And I don’t blame them. I remember seeing a commercial years ago about the future. I think it was the Mormon church? I could very well be wrong about that. But it was a couple wanting to marry and a judge granted them a 3 year license. And it wasn’t what they wanted. They wanted their marriage to be a forever commitment. I get that. But yeah, the very recent past does not paint a good image of “marriage”.

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  11. Unfortunately to try and define marriage by its own means is quite impossible these days as we find the idea of marriage less a definable term in itself, and more a term that encompasses many semantic possibilities. In choosing a new word for marriage we would cause a disruption in that societal representation by furthering the “othering” already inflicted on the homosexual people. For example, it could be called Marriage, or it could be called, “Grapefruiting,” and although they still have the same meaning, the cultural, and societal understanding promoted within the word “Marriage” would be stronger if only in connotation alone.

    The battle for legalizing marriage is merely one front on an entire war fought over generations. It is not about the object itself, but about it’s representation in accepting the community as whole instead of fragmentary.

    Consider it like this, if we were on the playground and you had a red toy robot, and I had a blue toy robot, and both toys did the same function except yours was “better,” then how would one mediate the conflict to these kids? Not by explaining that each toy is the same, and that the worth is illusion (is a child going to understand that?), but to accept the kind of truths that sometimes (often) representation is stronger than the object itself. Therefore, we encourage the kids to share the robot, or play with the robot together. What comes of that then? No longer is there the difference of better, or greater, but rather both children become agreed on the illusion and benefited by it as well.

    Words are powerful symbols, and as such they are worth every battle we fight over them. Progress is slow (it always is), but there will come a day where Marriage is defined by love not by gender.

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    • PhiipPhop, thank you for sharing your opinion. I really appreciate it. This may sound “flippant” and I truly do not mean it that way. But in reference to the children and the robots …. I guess I would have them close their eyes. Put the robots in front of them. And choose which one is “better”. Please forgive me, I know I do come across as over simplifying things sometimes. But in this case, once you close your eyes, what is the difference between “red” and “blue”. That’s how I see it with Marriage and Grapefruiting.

      I am very much a lover of words. And you are so right about how powerful they can be. And I will be the first to admit that I often misuse words. Make up words. And sabotage words. So I ask that you forgive me if I mess up what I will try to say next.

      I believe in equality for all of us. That does not mean that we all have to be “the same”. What a dull world. I believe in equality, legal rights for everyone. I believe we all have our opinions and our rights to them. I support man marrying man, and woman marrying woman. But that is just “my” opinion. In theory I would like for us all to have the same legal rights. Which is really my concern with this post. But I know it touches on much more. People who support Gay Marriage are entitled to this, and they want the respect that all marriages are getting (legally). But to demand respect like this, don’t we also have to respect those who’s beliefs are that the word “marriage” to them is between man and woman only?

      As human beings we “want” and “expect” and “demand” respect. But we cannot demand it and not give it at the same time. That is hypocritical.

      I suppose in my naive stance I feel if we do simplify, and we all demonstrate respect for one another, we can come to a resolution.

      (I also apologize if my response to you kind of goes all over. Unfortunately I am reading all of the responses at once and many thoughts are running together in my head.)

      Thank you for your thoughtful response.

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  12. You’re a brave soul, to tackle this question on your blog. I tend to agree with the folks who mentioned that calling it something different would give a sense (or the illusion) that it’s not equal to marriage so if we’re going to change the name, I suppose it ought to be changed for everyone. I like Yaz’s answer, too. 🙂

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    • Thanks Robin. Yaz is pretty brilliant. She did try to kick me out of my “fixing the world” place yesterday. I think she has a lead on me here. 🙂

      I wonder where the word “marriage” came from? Who first used it? What was it a combination of? Or was it?

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  13. Language evolves constantly, new words are created and older words are redefined. Marriage is in the process of being redefined as a legal union between people who love each other, regardless of gender. I think that is a good thing.

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    • I agree JMGoyder. I sometimes think that simplifying things is best. But that also means a whole lot of people need to learn compromise and understanding. And adjusting. Thank you for joining the discussion.

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  14. There is no official universal definition of marriage that states that it is exclusively between a man and a woman. The religious right likes to say that is the case, but across time and cultures it has varied considerably. Some nations today, as you are probably well-aware, allow man and woman and woman and woman and woman (polygamy) marriage.

    Marriage is a versatile word. Gay men and women are saying we ARE included in the spirit of the word, despite the fact that the United States government and most states do not legally recognize that we are in a state of marriage.

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    • Thank you Angeloolegna, for reading AND commenting.

      I agree marriage is a versatile word. And I agree that there are many, MANY people who recognize it as such. I agree gay men and women are included in the spirit of the word.

      And I believe the “word” is used in many different contexts, including the business world (“our companies would make a great marriage”).

      I can’t speak for the gay community, for that matter I can’t speak for the “not gay” community.

      But I suspect that this is a multi-leveled legal and emotional battle:

      1. Wanted: same rights legally as marriage allows straight couples.
      2. Wanted: same respect as a couple that marriage allows straight couples.
      3. Wanted: same of everything that marriage allows straight couples.

      Pardon my simplification. Again.

      I agree we should all have these rights. TOTALLY. And if it would help for me to personally give up the word “marriage” and define what I have as a “union”, “civil union”, or whatever, I would do so. As long as my rights are not changed. Because the word does not define my relationship. It does define my union and my legal rights.

      I understand that being “refused” the right to that word is highly emotional. And for that, I am truly sorry for all who are being refused that right. It is not the way things should be.

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  15. I have read this blog now about…3 or 4 times, trying to decide on how best to frame my words. I have also read though all the comments to date. So let me start with …

    Good on your for allowing yours to speak to this. And good for you for allowing others to have their say, even if it might run counter to your beliefs.

    That people are civil in their responses is a good sign that passionate, yet respectful discourse can occur.

    Now … a few thoughts I have… (and this is a mini hi-jack of your blog post … and some soap boxing on my part. I apologize. Ack!)

    It seems to me that much of the debate surrounding same sex marriage goes beyond the need for equal rights. It seems that the need for couples to have the benefits and protections that comes with a loving, lasting partnership is shared by those both for and against same sex marriage. Whether tis called ‘marriage’ or ‘civil union’ … what both concepts are trying to bring about in a ‘legal’ sense is that need for equality.

    But … it goes deeper. Another issue is the need to have acknowledgement that ‘our’ relationship is true. That ‘our’ being together is valid. (No matter who we mean when we say ‘our’.) Because equality goes beyond just the legal benefits and protections granted to others. Equality is also emotional and spiritual.

    Words have power. Several have mentioned this. Words can be given definitions, they can change in defintion. What makes a word powerful is not it’s denotative meaning, but rather, the connotation that comes with it.

    Yes, we can use another word for marriage. We can use ‘civil union’ and arrive at the same point of equality in the legal sense. But for many, the unsaid connotation is, “You are still not the same as ‘us’. You are still not equal in my eyes.”

    In the event that we were to agree to utilize another word for marriage, my question then becomes ~ why should it be that those entering same sex relationships are the ones that have to use this alternate word? Why not have those who believe the concept of ‘one man, one woman’ use the alternate word? In fact, why would one group be entitlted to make this decision at all?

    Marriage has been in existance long before religion … it also exists in many religions … it exists outside of religion. So who is to say who uses ‘marriage’ and who uses an alternate word? I suspect that many would vehemently cry out, “You cannot take marriage away from me, it is special to us.”

    And to that I would say yes. It is special. It is special to all of us.

    Because words have meaning beyond it’s dictionary valye. Words have power.

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    • Hi Irish Katie. 🙂 I am going to use your endearing term and as I am reading your comment and agreeing nod nods. 😉

      I agree with you and the others (though it may not appear so) about the actual “word” and the sameness/equality.

      I certainly agree that words have power. Oh my do they!! Who of us doesn’t treasure a word spoken in love, commendation or kindness? And of the same of us, who doesn’t painfully recall a word spoke in hate or anger?

      I appreciate the conversation here. I appreciate the suggestions, ideas, respectful disagreements. This is how things get resolved.

      I know that I could never lead a discussion or a movement to resolve this. These are just my thoughts. I have a difficult time, an impossibility actually, thinking I have the right to tell anyone their love is not the same as mine. Or that it doesn’t deserve the same “benefits” (I think this can cover: respect, dignity, insurance, taxes, societal value, etc). I fully recognize that I do not have that right what so ever.

      On the flip side of that. I don’t think in asking for that respect, that dismissing other’s long standing view of the word “marriage” is beneficial either. We have to acknowledge the different feelings and word values. We certainly don’t have to agree. But I feel that any one “group” who automatically dismisses another “group’s” feelings, is not going to come up with a resolution.

      Someone, some where, needs to be wise (wiser than me for sure!) and address all of the feelings and sentiments.

      I agree marriage should be for all consenting adults. But that doesn’t mean I have the right to tell those who feel differently, that they are wrong.

      I don’t know that I make my points very clear and for that I apologize.

      Everyone wants “their” way. Of course they do! We are like that. I don’t think in dismissing anyone’s feelings, a resolution is going to be found.

      I find myself talking in circles trying to understand all of this.
      Sorry for the circles Irish Katie!

      I need to read more. Listen more. Process more.

      But bottom line….I cannot support discrimination.

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      • Actually, I DO think you lead the conversation well 🙂 … take a look at all the comments being generated here … and with incredible repsect for what each of us are saying. Taht is a testament to how your original blog post was written, and the way you have responded to the comments on here. Yah you!!!

        And also, so we are clear … I do not think anyone here believes you to want other than equalness. Hopes you know that 🙂

        Now … seeing your response to my comment. I do believe I did initially miss part of your point. That in saying same-sex advocates should be included in the marriage world, then those in support of that may be unfairly dismissing the beliefs of those in the ‘one-man, one-woman’ camp.

        *thinks on that*

        I’ll get back to you on it when I sort our my thoughts. I have an initial thought on why the same-sex advocate’s reasoning makes more sense to me … but I want to think of a counter-arguement to see if what I am thinking makes sense to me even.

        I rarely speak to issues like this publically … but,

        1) This is a day when discussions by the US Supreme Court begins deliberations on this very issue … so it is a timely conversation here too, and,

        2) You have made it feel safe to discuss this here. Thank you. 🙂

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        • Thank you Irish Katie (I can’t read your words now without nod nods 😉 ).

          I am such a “whimp” when it comes to expressing my opinion on things like this. Though many accuse me of being black and white, I really see so much of the world in greys, greens, pinks, and well, okay, all colors. Sometimes I’m not even sure what my opinion is!

          Thank you for saying it is safe here. That is what I want. And everyone has been fantastic. I learned in life that if you are yelling people do not tend to hear what you say, but speak softly and they are careful so they can hear what you are saying (hey, that kind of might be where my last blog came from??).

          I am very impressed with everyone’s feedback. And I hope there is more. It’s amazing to me how “one” subject can garner so many thoughtful opinions and responses.

          Thank you for going this route with me. 🙂

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          • I’m baaaaccckkkkk lol.

            Ok, so I have thought about this a bit. (Am I being pushy? If I am just toss crumpled paper at me and I will shush. But this topic has obviously energized the gabby level in me haha.)

            So words. And why to me there is importance in what we call the legal, loving partnerships and relationships. In a numbered list too. Not because a numbered list carries any more weight … no no … I am just nerdy 🙂

            1) To use separate, but ‘equal’ words will at the very outset place peoples into separate groups. And in this instance, when that happens, there is an automatic feeling that one has preference. Is there proof of what I say? Nods. Look at all the comments and the discussion. The very fact that so many are questioning the usage for or against is the proof.

            2) Even if a word were to be beniegn in it’s connotation, the very fact that one portion of the population could use the word in a way to make another part of the population feel ‘less than,’ shows that the usage of that word does take on significance beyond it’s dennotative meaning.

            3) What my comment is NOT about … just to point out. My comment is not about bigotry or homophobia. No, no. There are words that are just bad bad bad. Like the ‘N-word’ that some use to make derogatory comments to those of black African ancestory. Mainstream society is pretty much on board that using such words are not acceptable.

            4) So why bring up #3? Well, because conversely, the word we are talking about is ‘Marriage’ … which is quite the opposite in most cases. It’s a word relatable to many good things. And people on both sides of the debate WANT to use it.

            5) So what IS this comment about gabby Katie? Errr…crap, now I am talking to myself whilst I hijack this blog haha. Sorry Colleen. Anyway… so what this IS about is Exclusion. When one group of peoples are free to exclude another group from something … the right to vote, the freedom of choice, the right to be ‘married’, then a group of people has now become excluded.

            6) But exclusion in not discrimination. People exclude others all the time. If I don’t want to let people who own dogs into my house I don’t have to. If the nightclub I own wants to let in only people wearing Hawaiian shirts tonight it is my right.

            And those are true statements.

            In a private environment.

            When it comes to the public arena certain exclusionary actions are illegal. Example – All male schools are now open to women. Are there schools just as good? Just as equal? Surely. But it was deemed exclusionary when a state school was involved.

            So, in the public arena of marriage why would this differ? The United States does not formally recognize a State religion. So were I to go to the county office … what reason could there be for allowing me to be civilly unioned … but not married? And the only answer I come to is … exclusion. By the State. By the Government.

            Sorry so long …ack! But one more example … one closer to home perhaps.

            Say you were practicing martial arts. And you were good. Very good. You were at the pinnacle of your sport. But instead of giving you a black belt, you were given a pink belt. And of course, you were told that it was the same rank, meant the same thing. But since traditionally men were the ones doing martial arts, that the black belts should traditionally be for men. Women can have an equal, but different colour belt.

            I hope I am not coming off as ranting … I know this is long …please attribute that to my Irish nature 🙂

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            • Welcome Back Irish Katie! 🙂

              I don’t think you are ranting. I am glad that you feel comfortable sharing. And like me, this is not the ‘norm’, for me. So it’s good for both of us.

              Here’s the difficult part… while reading everyone’s feed back I am becoming so aware of the exclusion that is unfair by “using” a different word. And I do get that. It makes sense and I support that it is unfair to anyone to be excluded. Though my intent was to support others and ask why not take control and make good things happen, I see where “my” thinking is not agreeable to many.

              And I truly thank everyone for expressing themselves so well. I have learned much here. And that was what I hoped, for me.

              I think I am an anomaly. Because I agree with your points. Fully. BUT (did you see that coming? 🙂 ). I have had some major events, changes and lessons in my life. And personally, if I did all of the work to earn my black belt, but it was called a pink belt, and recognized as the exact same thing, but it’s a different color to point out I’m a woman, not a man….okay. If my instructors looked out at the class and saw a room full of black belts and pink belts and she or he recognized that we all did the exact same thing and the color of my belt only denotes my gender…okay. I know that this is not acceptable, however, for the discussion we are having.

              I know that calling it a pink belt is not acceptable for the masses.

              The reason I would be “okay” with it is my personal experience, and my personal experience ONLY. If all of the other females came up to me and expressed as eloquently as the people here their issues with it, I would get it. And I would support them. And I would work for change. Inclusiveness.

              Due to my personal experiences though, the world may call me a pink belt or a black belt. I know what I did to earn it. I know that I put the value on the work and the person I am. Not the world. And not the belt.

              But this goes deeper and off on a tangent that doesn’t pertain to this discussion. These are personal lessons that have changed my life and given me the ability to deal with ‘things’ that I wanted to master for me. And my self worth and my vision of the world is certainly different because of it.

              I support the rights. Fully support the rights. And much more clearly understand many people’s issue with the exclusion of using the word “marriage”.

              I wonder though, what word was used before “marriage”.

              I do see change coming. And I think it’s good. But it is obviously still going to be difficult.

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  16. It’s an important question, Colleen, and good for you for putting it out, civilly. If “we” can’t dialogue to help us understand then what? This question speaks to a very complex issue that isn’t just about “marriage” but human rights, equality, wanting to level the playing field and all it represents. Even though legal partnerships do exist that allow partners into hospitals as family there is a lot of history of suffering from partners or same sex relationships not being allowed at death beds or other legal spousal privileges, including being considered the legal recipient of an inheritance. I’m not advocating right/wrong here but understanding of the history that came before that factors into the emotional/psychological statement that motivates this answer. Also, it is not easy to change a law and believe me the preponderance of opinion was more aligned with what you’re saying which is why there are not more laws, let along creating a new law that names a horse by a different name, but it’s still a horse and the disagreement still exists against it morally and from a religious ground. To answer and understand this question is to understand the human condition, human nature, from the beginning of time. It also speaks to group think religious beliefs that are the foundation of lives. Try to unsettle those things and what happens? I am an advocate of tolerance and to each his own, if it doesn’t hurt someone why not? Therefore, definition aside, how is same sex marriage a harm to anyone, outside of the emotional reaction founded in one’s belief system? I think you spoke to this with your High School metaphor in saying you wanted what they had but not to be like them. Great dialogue here. We need more of this. Thank you. Paulette

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    • Thank you Paulette. The school metaphor was my attempt to make a couple of points, I don’t know how well it worked though. I did want to point out that I wanted what the bullies had (authority, power, perceived ability) but I did not want to be like them=bullies. That my life was not dictated by them, and that it was me who had the power to make change and decide my own well being. When I was hurt by them, it was because of my own insecurities that they played on. I needed to find a way to make “me” better and not give them that authority/power over me. And the more secure I became, did not mean I had power and/or authority over anyone else. It mean I was self controlled and motivated. I could expand on that and say that instead of growing in to bullying, in my personal growth I understood that I had no right to want to make anyone feel like that. And chose to live my life trying to not inflict controlling, hurtful things at others.

      You and others are speaking so well in regards to what “I” consider “the word”. I see things very clearly in your feedback. And I agree with the sentiment.

      I will be honest though. I am still stuck. Part of me just wants to say give everyone the same rights, right now! And we’ll figure out the word part later. We have so many words that are different, yet mean the same thing. I know, truly, that I am underestimating the value of this word to many people. But I hope it’s clear that I don’t want any PERSON’s value to be underestimated. I agree fully, in the equality. And I said somewhere else on here, I would give up the word “marriage” to use an all inclusive word. Or I would give “marriage” to any and all who want it and take another word if I have to.

      Sadly I don’t have that authority! 🙂

      And like you, I believe in tolerance. And acceptance. I like the simplicity of the comments that are based in: “how is my loving another human being a threat or danger to you?” I paraphrase of course. But how is love and commitment between 2 consenting adults an issue that any of us have the right to get between?

      Like

  17. Ah yes this so-called society and its self appointed regulating dictators! A very famous Canadian Prime Minister, who led his country for sixteen years, once said early on in his career as Canada’s leader, and I quote; “The state has no place in the bedrooms of our nation.” Which also suggests to me that it should have no right to discriminate in or dictate legalities on the basis of what constitutes a union, as in a marriage.

    One feels vulnerable as you suggest you are because you are living, as opposed to existing, among so-called humans who cannot in the full sense of the word be human. This due to being insecure about themselves, influenced by their umbilical attachment to their archaic world of archaic man made religious doctrine and beliefs. As they cannot let go of this kind of thumb sucking nationalism, in-bread over centuries of misconception and ignorance inherited from a time when man thought the world was square.

    Alas I firmly believe this categorizing kind of thinking about mankind’s sexual DNA, hetero or homo wiring, will not be eliminated until the ilk of those ancient societies with their beliefs die off like the dinosaurs they are.

    In the meantime we can but accept, and applaud the continuing slow but steady progress being made with the help of forward thinking minds on both sides of the equation. As well I humbly applaud, what you consider a naïve belief of being able to affect change. Be this of things or people, bravo, for as that worn out saying goes “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and we are witness to change, as hard fought it be, and as little and slow as it is. JJF

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    • Thank you Mr. Fournier for your feedback. And, wow!

      I appreciate the quote, and wish someone here would say it.

      I do wonder, sometimes, where some of these beliefs were created. By whom, and why. And why do we hang on to such “beliefs” when so many of us don’t even believe them?

      I suppose history has more stories than I know of, where a majority lie silent and accepted what they were told to accept. And we have seen the suffering as a result.

      I am encouraged by younger generations who are ‘more’ tolerant. More accepting. And willing to discuss what they have difficulty being told they must ‘accept’. Maybe even more so, I am thrilled when someone “older” than I is willing to listen to and discuss something that they have always held steadfast to because it is the way it always was.

      I do see change. It’s not fast enough for those who are affected. But it is occurring.

      Well thought out, informed and open discussion is key to all of this. I thank you for being a part of this.

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  18. What if we viewed marriage (perhaps this is what the Bible refers what marriage is), union between man and woman as each person having a union with their own male and female energy, having a balance…using your imagination and feelings to create, give birth to. I see within myself, the more I fight with what I don’t want…this is what I’m going to experience. We cannot change people’s views, believe me I’ve tried. Something else to consider is people aren’t gay or lesbians just as people aren’t alcoholics, addicts, homeless and… We put labels on ourselves and we identify with them and this is not who we are. What a person chooses to do behind close doors is their business. Why do we believe that seeing a father and son holding hands or exchanging a kiss in public is okay but not okay for an adult son and father or two men who have an emotional connection to each other…same for women. Through the years and generations we are having to learn we are all created equal and our world is not getting this! As for me I’m undoing just about everything I learned and was taught so I can know my true self which is like the Creator and every being on this planet. Our minds and bodies see separation because this is what we’ve learned and taught. We must all be willing to open our minds and see things differently. We are here on this planet to express love, learn, create, forgive, share and give unconditionally and does not matter who one chooses as a partner to help them along their journey…actually we are all here to help each other. Perhaps those who are against two men or two women being together or married are to learn about the true meaning of love and relinquish self-righteousness. While I’m on my journey of transformation, I continue to relinquish my self-righteousness and do my best to be an expression of love, forgive myself, express compassion, learn, open my mind, let go of fears, be courageous and give unconditionally.

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    • FeelingJoy, thank you. You speak to many emotions here. And do so with eloquence. You say “We must all be willing to open our minds and see things differently” and I wish this would happen. Why must any of us be so concerned about the relationship between 2 persons, that does not involve us? Why does ‘love’ between two adults instill fear in others?

      I know that many people will never “agree” with gay marriage, or “understand” a man loving a man/woman loving woman. They have the absolute right to not understand it, they have the absolute right to be confused or uncomfortable with it. But “they” don’t have the right to stop anyone from that love/relationship.

      I think that is where “relinquish self-righteousness” comes in. Yes?

      I do think it takes courage to “give unconditionally”. What a wonderful description of love. And tolerance. And acceptance.

      So much here to read, and re-read. I have to come back. My brain is on over load. And I’m thankful for it.

      Like

      • You’re welcome Chatter Master. Yes, we all have the right to confusion and feeling uncomfortable. I see how I’ve had plenty of both in my life. I’ve learned to ask myself questions, such as, why do I feel uncomfortable about…and the voice of love within me gives me the answer. I’ve learned to listen and be open to what I hear. And I agree we do not have the right to stop anyone from a love relationship and yes, this is where self-righteousness comes in. Thank you for your thoughts and response to mine. Since I’ve been on my spiritual journey, at times my brain has been on over load. And, like you, I’m thankful for it. Pam 🙂

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        • Pam, reading this gave me comfort. I have been reading and re=reading some of the comments. I sometimes have been so overloaded that I was afraid I wasn’t reading someone’s thoughts correctly. So many feelings and so easy to misread or misunderstand!

          One part of your statement “and the voice of love within me gives me the answer” is so beautifully powerful. I wish we could all hear that within ourselves. I will be honest to say I didn’t always, and I’m sure even now, I have closed my ears to that “voice of love within me”. And it’s through other’s that I sometimes have to be reminded it is there, and should be heard. People like you. Thank you.

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          • You’re welcome. I never paid any attention to the voices in my head until a few years ago. I wrote a poem that is on my blog, titled Voices. I continue to practice each moment…only listen to the voice of Love instead of my voice of fear. I grew up in the Lutheran church and I felt scared and terrified around our pastor. Our church was small. The only fond memories were the craft part of vacation bible school and some of the youth group activities…most of the time I didn’t believed I belong there. I wasn’t a child who asked questions because of my many fears. It’s only been within the last 7 or 8 years when I began to have questions about my life. While attending church, I heard about the Holy Spirit and again I didn’t ask questions. For me the Holy Spirit is the voice of Love. Hearing and acting from the voice of Love takes much practice and determination. I’ve learned and see when I’m listening to my voice of fear my life is in turmoil…filled with judgments, fear, anger and confusion. I truly believe we are meant to live joyful and peaceful lives while we are here on earth.

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  19. What a very interesting conversation, I have come to think of marriage as an evolving aspect of life. The term “Union of Souls”, sounds like a wonderful adaptation for the word marriage. But the continuing key element is that no matter what it is called, it needs to be applied universally. You can’t have couples that are defined “married,” and couples that are defined “union of souls.” Thanks for allowing my 2 cents, Bill

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    • Bill, thank you for your 2 cents. They all add up.

      I like so many of the terms offered up. And I agree that it “should” be an all inclusive word. I just hope/wish/dream that the rights would be there, and the wordage could be figured out and resolved. Even if it means later. Thank you!

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  20. Brave woman! Asking this question tends to tweak people’s values, which turns the dial up on their emotions–one way or the other. A rational debate is harder to engage in when people are impassioned about a topic.

    I am a sociologist. I can set aside (for the most part) my feelings about a topic and look at it as if I am a neutral observer of social dynamics.

    When you talk of redefining marriage, you are really asking people in this society (or any other) to change both their values and the norms (or rules of behavior) that reflect those values. The word is a symbol that represents both the values and the norms. Thus, the word is “loaded” with social meaning.

    Because people created the symbol (and the values and norms behind it), of course, people can change it. But will they? People tend to resist change–especially people for whom the status quo is working so well for them. The pro-change people tend to be the ones disadvantaged by the status quo. But change happens. Sometimes quickly (as in revolutions) but most times slowly (adapting to technology, for example).

    So it’s not really about the word; it’s about what the word means to various people–as you see in the various comments. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if changing values was a easy as changing words? Alas, it is not.

    All that being said, I believe with all my heart that every living being deserves respect and the right to a life free from discrimination. Fear and hatred has destroyed the fundamental bonds that hold us together as a society and as a human race who occupies this planet with other species deserving of the earth’s resources. At some point,all this hatred and fear is going to be the end of us, or the beginning of something wonderful–like an addict who hit her/his “bottom.” I just hope our collective “bottom” is close. I can’t take much more of this meanness between us as human social beings…

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    • Lorna, I like your Voice.

      Thank you for sharing this. I was very “scared” to write this. I have been wanting to write it for a long time. And I knew that it carried the potential for some aggravated conversation. But I have been so pleased to see the respect everyone is using to express themselves here.

      I thank you for sharing your thoughts on the values and societal norms. If everyone could clearly define what they value, I think there might be a better understanding amongst us all. I don’t think “we” can always clearly define our personal values, because yes, we tend to carry traditional, piped in to us norms. We accept them. They become comfortable to us. And change is scary.

      If we could shake off the dust of all of this, can we better look in to our selves and find the truth of our beliefs? I remember hearing a woman on TV years ago ask someone else, “how does my loving another woman hurt you or change your life?” It was that simple. I had never really thought I needed to form an opinion before that. Because it didn’t involve me. Right? (of course I was wrong). And I didn’t really “form” it then. But it was that simple to make me think about it. It goes against all of those traditional norms and values “instilled” in me. So I thought about it.

      Why would I want to stand in the way, or why should I be bothered, by love and commitment?

      And I don’t ever want to be the source of meanness between any of us.

      Thank you so much. I can’t tell you, or anyone, how much I appreciate all of these responses.

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  21. Wow, this has generated so much response. I’m not going to add any more Colleen, because I don’t know what to say at this point 🙂 but I read all that were up there before I came in. I’ll be back to see where the discourse will lead to. In the meantime, have a blessed Holy Week. – Mary

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  22. Reblogged this on Irish Katie and commented:
    This is the first time I have ever re-blogged someone’s post. (Ack…hope i am doing this correctly.)

    Anyway, rarely do I dive into politics, religion, or racial issues. Not because I do not have opinions or my own beliefs, but because…well…I don’t know why actually. Anyway, this particular blog post concerns the issue of same-sex marriage. And a couple reasons I am reblogging … besides the fact that it is a great blog piece I mean. But,
    1) Tis a timely conversation, as today the US Supreme Court is hearing arguements on this very issue.

    2) The blog post was done with care not to be divisive … and the responses/comments have been done with care too. It is a fine thing to see that such a highly charged subject CAN be discussed without name calling. Well done Colleen 🙂

    Like

  23. Creating a word to define a same sex union that is different, is segregation. Marriage is a union between two people. Tis a “legal” word to establish rights and benifits, but it goes on more than this. It defines a relationship. Establishing a new word or term for this same union will maintain/fuel the stigma that torments so many.

    So marriage is between a ‘man and a woman’. hmm perhaps once. Once a ‘wife’ was defined as a child bearer that kept house. Are we not moving on? Improving? Maybe we are but dragging one foot?

    When I see someone, tormented, torn, stressed, filled with anxiety, often times seeing a developing disorder… because of the fear of being open, coming out, even just telling loving parents. I become agitated at the thought of increasing segregation. Building the wall that surrounds them. Increasing their anxiety and the more serious things that follow.

    I suppose the theory is; face the new word with pride, make it your own. Why? Why would a couple not want to use the same word for the same thing? A union between two people? Openly declaring their love, their union.

    You introduce your loved one as your partner, delicately, so as not to increase judgment. Yet you are filled with as much love as any other couple can be.

    We are not being asked to join their union. Their marriage, this is a union between two that are in love. They are married. There is no other word for it. There should be no other word for it.

    “To create a word for what you have”.. hmm love?

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    • I am not able to speak for all people regarding this matter. Only for myself.

      I wrote this because I was caught up in thinking of so many people who are being wronged, daily, for loving. I “wanted” to express to them my support. I am not gay, and am fully aware that I do not know the pain and suffering they go through in our world. But I feel for them. I feel for anyone who feels, or others try to make feel-less than.

      I hoped by being honest and questioning-I could get feedback to learn from. To think about. To discuss with. I have had pretty good luck in getting feedback from others who are willing to share their thoughts and feelings. I ask, (even if it seems like a silly thing to ask, I ask because I care), I suggest, I ponder. I think about it. A lot. I want to learn.

      I have learned, here, that others don’t think like I do. And I am okay with that. My thoughts being, that I want to support the right to love who you want, and that all people have the right to marry. But in saying that, and asking the world to respect ALL people, don’t we then also have to include respect for those who are committed to “the” word and it’s meaning to them? It’s in discussing it in this manner, safely and without scorn, that we may hear one another? And others may learn, and maybe have a better understanding of what they are inflicting on others.

      I am a lover of words. I realize, from people here, the value that others put in to words. And I get that. But no matter what word is used, changed, added, created, or shared-my concern is for the people. The rights. The equality of us all.

      My intent is not to make anyone think like me. It is/was to get people talking. And listening.

      Thank you for your feedback.

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  24. I had a similar discussion with some married 30-somethings. I suggested a new word also, like you do here, which I thought a unique idea and still do. Thank you for your post. Because they are young-er I wondered what the feedback would be. The vote came back there should NOT be a new name for same partner unions.

    I agree with what you have pointed out here. Lovely to read and think of the possibilities…

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    • Thank you “Lets Cut The Crap” (still loving that name). I think initially I thought the idea was “unique” only because I had not really heard it discussed. But again, I haven’t been part of this battle either. And by battle I mean the political battle that is going on.

      I have been super impressed with everyone’s feedback. It has been enlightening and very respectful. A great atmosphere to listen in, and learn from.

      I guess I kind of though along the lines of what you just said…. “lovely to read and think of the possibilities”. I will have such great respect for the person or entity that can take this matter, address those who oppose it and get them to understand what they are asking of our gay brothers and sister by excluding them. And at the same time, get those who are in this battle, to understand the traditionalists tie to the word as well.

      I wait for the person or entity who can address this and make it right, for everyone. What I see happening though, is not magic. One comment-er referred to getting out of our antiquated times and mind set. What will likely happen is one day we will all be able to marry. And once our current generations no longer exist and the people who populate our earth have only known “the same” for everyone, then it will no longer be an issue.

      Again, thank you!

      Like

    • Thank you MyDailyMineField, that was how I felt when I wrote this. I am pleased with everyone’s attempt to say their piece and make their points. All well done. I wish the world could converse this respectfully.

      Like

  25. To me if your lucky enough to fall in love with someone…I don’t care whether it be man and man or woman and woman. It’s love and it’s free will and choice. You can call it marriage or whatever you like. Ignore the ignorant! hugs Paula xx

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  26. Hi
    Well I am so glad you are stepping out of yourself to share your heart, mind and spirit. This is a hot topic especially now. I am sure it will continue to course through the nation. Being one who does not support proposition 8, I risk as much as you do supporting it. Those primarily I know and there is a lot, who don’t support gay marriage, is for the reasons I share. And that is because of my religion. I believe in God and what His word says. And it is not supported by God. I know there are many who say they believe but to believe one must also act on those beliefs. Whether others feel it is old fashion or not to be a student of religion.
    I would never hate anyone who is of another sexual orientation. I just don’t accept gay marriage. It isn’t about not accepting what someone wants to love. It is accepting the fact that when the marriage amendment was created, it was created on scriptual foundations. And so now to change that would be to toss God out of yet another aspect of our world as we wonder why our world is deteriorating so quickly. I don’t hate gays or lesbians. It would be wrong to hate others. That too is not a Godly thing to do. I just don’t accept the behavior.I can see how some are as they claim, but it isn’t something I can accept as Godly.
    For me that matters
    Yisraela

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  27. Yisraela, thank you for posting your thoughts. It is risky to express how we feel when we know others will not understand, agree, or hear us out. I think this post was one of the, if not the most, difficult for me to post. I have posted about being molested as a child, about hate and love, about abuse of our eldery, drugs, etc…. I am not afraid to say though, that I did worry about posting this.

    I too, believe in God. Admittedly I am not a scholar of religion or the Bible. My faith in a loving God is what guides me in my feelings and opinions. I don’t know how to properly word this, so I hope it comes out right…. I can’t accept or refuse people’s love, it just “is”. I don’t think God created people and their love, and then wanted “us” to say it is wrong.

    I applaud you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so respectfully. And I respect how you feel. Which is part of how difficult this is for me. I tend to be “wishy washy”. Even when I have an opinion and feel strongly about it, I tend to be able to see, understand and ‘get’ the opposing opinion. Which makes blanket statements and decisions very difficult for me.

    In this matter, I do support a human being’s right to love and to make a commitment to the person they love.

    Again, thank you so much for joining the discussion. I appreciate your courage and convictions.

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  28. What fun! Good for you for speaking up. I’m in your corner. Gays and lesbians have been hooking up for all eternity, and we, as a society, should encourage people to commit to and support each other.

    Everything gets bolluxed when the state gets involved with questions of faith, so I’m for the government getting out of the business of marriage altogether. Marriage could be relegated officially to the faith domain and different faiths can battle out whatever definition they want. The legal (and cultural) recognition of people who commit to each other for life, and all the protections and benefits that go with that commitment certainly can have a different name. “Civil Unions” doesn’t seem to have satisfied the question, so let’s come up with a better one! All couples, gay or straight can be Sanctified. Wait, that’s religious. OK, Sanctioned. Partners can be called myrmidons instead of spouses.

    Good post, and thoughtful responses.

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    • Thank you JBW0123. I had to look up “Myrmidons”. And I think that is quite creative. And I like it.

      I tend to avoid politics and political discussion because I am never learned enough to speak to it. And by political I include government/law/policy/etc. But this is a matter of humanity.

      I’m pretty fond of humanity. And quite “bolluxed” (thank you for the word) by politics getting all tangled up in someone’s right to commit to another person.

      Thank you so much for the feedback and support. And another wonderful suggestion. 🙂

      Like

  29. I think EVERYONE should have the same rights!! In the bible it also says a woman should not enter a church if she is still bleeding after having a baby. Certain religions are not supposed to eat certain foods. It also says its ok to have slaves and you can beat your slave if you do not kill them. If you agree with what the bible says about homosexuality then you have to agree with EVERYTHING in the bible. You cannot give exemptions to certain things and not others. That would make you a hypocrite. And if anyone agrees with making people slaves STILL to this day, then I have no hope for people in this world.

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    • I was once, actually often, told that one should never use the Bible in debate. Because it can be used to cover, counter and confuse every single argument. 🙂 I think we’ve seen this more than once.

      Everyone should have the same rights. I don’t see an argument in that statement. So simple. So true. 🙂

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  30. Wow lots of comments. I think it’d be nice to just have some more equality, and recognition. I don’t care so much about the word marriage, tho it’d be nice to not be singled out and set aside, in some other category. Maybe the problem is religion is being mixed up in our government, after we all decided it should be way back when…

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    • Hi JamieAaron03. I can understand not wanting to be singled out and “set aside”. I think the fact that so many people here, though a small percentage of our population, can speak so reasonably – gives me hope. For all of us. I many are struggling with “religion” vs. legality and inclusion. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  31. It is clear I am late to this visionary party… but “Bravo!” and “Encore” come to mind. You have no vulnerability here, my Queen, except in your loyal subjects being late to the party… “Off with their heads!” as they say. Your expression of a simple vision leads one to very complex soul searching…

    Bravo.

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  32. Excellent, Colleen. No wonder it drew so many comments.

    Equal rights in all meaning of the words. Me, I’m a wishing for someone to luurv – anyone! 🙂

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  33. Wow, this did, indeed, cause lots of conversation. I have to admit, I don’t have time now to read all of the comments. However, I’m not really opposed to what you suggest. It’s an interesting notion, at the very least. Will have to give this some thought as I proceed to marry the woman I love this week.
    Hugs to you, my friend,
    Kathy

    Like

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