How Smartphones Paved the Way for Same-Sex Marriage

In the 1980s, anti-gay hysteria reached a fever pitch. By 1996, attitudes toward homosexuality had changed little, with only 27% of Americans in support of same-sex marriage. But by 2011, the majority of Americans favored same-sex marriage, with young people overwhelmingly supportive.

How does a culture transform at such an unprecedented rate?

Perhaps we hold the answer in the palm of our hands…

smart phones and same-sex marriage

Photo Credit: gailjadehamilton via Compfight cc

I grew up in a rural town in the heart of Illinois. Black people were an oddity, homosexuality was a locker room joke, and an immigrant was someone who moved in from one town over. Now, my sister is married to a Black man who is both a brother and a friend, and two of the most trustworthy and caring men in my life have been gay.

And in 2004, I met an immigration attorney.

I was completing my post-doc residency, a young psychologist eager to debate anything including immigration and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the small immigration law office down the street needed someone to provide psychological evaluations.

Someone cheap.

Like an unlicensed post-doc trying to feed a growing family.

Almost a decade later, I’ve completed over two hundred evaluations. And I don’t debate immigration anymore. Because immigration no longer exists for me as a concept to debate. Immigration is immigrants. Immigration is people. Immigration is a living, bleeding story.

Immigration is a man who came to our country legally. A man who works seventy hours a week to support a family in the U.S. and ailing parents back home. A man whose wife was brought to the country illegally when she was five years old. A man whose wife is now a legal resident but is being removed from the U.S. as a penalty for how she arrived. A man whose children will not be able to function without their mother. A man who is having panic attacks and lives his days powerless to hold his family together.

Immigration is no longer an issue I debate. Immigration is people I value.

And I think a generation of people is beginning to feel the same way about homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Homosexuality Isn’t an Issue, It’s People

Technology has begun to connect us in previously unimaginable ways. In my once isolated rural hometown, you can stand in the middle of main street with a smartphone and video chat with almost anyone in the world. Across the globe, our lives are becoming deeply intertwined and the cast of characters in each of our stories is expanding exponentially.

And it’s changing everything.

For many of us, our stories have become inseparable from the stories of our gay relative, lesbian friend, or our questioning co-worker or barista or Facebook friend or blog subscriber or Twitter follower or son or daughter.

When we let people from other “groups” into our lives—and even more importantly into our hearts—politics begins to fade, and we experience humanity in a whole new way.

As one.

This sense of unity was described by astronaut Frank White as the overview effect:

“I was looking out the window, and as I was looking down at the planet, the thought came to me, ‘Anyone living…on the moon would always have an overview. They would see things that we know but don’t experience, which is that the earth is one system, we’re all a part of that system, and that there is a certain unity and coherence to it all.’ And I immediately called it ‘the overview effect’.”

But I don’t think we need to orbit the earth to experience the overview effect. We merely need to enter into the cosmos of another person’s heart.

A generation of people has launched itself into the hearts of others, and there is a growing sense of unity and coherence amongst people. And as a result, for many people, homosexuality is no longer an intellectual or theological concept to debate.

Homosexuality is people we know and love and cherish.

Trading in Our Egos for Unity

In the next month, the Supreme Court is likely to announce its decision regarding the definition of marriage. The debates will be, I’m afraid, increasingly vicious and dehumanizing, because violent debate is the only kind of debate that exists between egos.

Our egos tell us our worth exists in comparison to other people. So our egos have a huge stake in maintaining a sense of division. Our egos will cling to our differences and strip others of their dignity, in order to clutch on to a fabricated sense of superiority. Our egos will relish the bitter debate.

But I hope.

I hope a generation of people who have experienced a sense of connection and unity and coherence will give birth to an entirely different kind of conversation.

I hope a generation of people will zip the lips of their egos and speak with the tongue of their hearts.

I hope a generation of people will speak out from the calm, quiet place within where fear is wilting, egos are withering, and grace is blooming.

I hope a generation of people will reach out to each other with grace.

Because grace is always an invitation.

Grace pulls us together, instead of driving us apart. Grace transforms our dialogue from a battle into a homecoming. Grace turns our most contentious debates into subversive acts of love and belonging:

They become an opportunity to love,

to joyfully enter into the story of another,

to make peace,

to listen with patience,

to reach out in kindness,

to give create something good,

to be faithful in relationship,

to be gentle in our differences,

and to control ourselves instead of everyone else.

Regardless of what we believe about homosexuality and marriage, I hope we will trade in our egos for that kind of unity.

I hope.

———

Comments: You can share your thoughts or reactions at the bottom of this post.                

Free eBook: My eBook, The Marriage Manifesto: Turning Your World Upside Down, is available free to new blog subscribers. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can click here to subscribe, and your confirmation e-mail will include a link to download the eBook. Or, the book is also now available for Kindle and Nook

Preview: Next Wednesday’s post is tentatively entitled, “Breaking News: Global Uprising, No Going Back.”

Disclaimer: This post is not professional advice. It should be read as you would read a “self-help” book. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor, who can become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Counselors can be located through your insurance network or through your state psychological association.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lisa Bartelt

    Yes! It’s amazing what happens when we’re confronted with a face or a story or an issue becomes personal. We just watched an episode of The Daily Show last night (it aired more than a week ago, I think) where they talked to a senator who changed his stance on immigration when he met a woman, now an adult, who had been in the country since she was 2 but was undocumented and couldn’t get a job. Of course, they treat the whole thing with humor, and brilliantly, but sometimes the truth hurts. My husband and I have learned this the hard way about people in poverty and on welfare. While he was in grad school, we lived on food stamps and other government benefits, which opened our eyes to a whole new set of prejudices we’d never been aware of. Especially as white, middle-class Americans, I think we don’t really understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of prejudice. So, yes, grace. And stories. 🙂

    • drkellyflanagan

      Yes, Lisa, “grace and stories.” I wish I could rename the blog that. : )

  • Ann

    Three weeks after subscribing to you you had to get political, very disappointing. I was inspired by your post to your daughter, and in many ways it has really changed the way I look at relationships. I thank you for that.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion and to share it where you please, but I will be unsubscribing. Political views are shoved in our faces every day, and I’d come to look forward to your post in my email as a break from all of this. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Dear Ann,
      I don’t do politics, either, and my hope was to point out this is a human issue, not a political issue, but I can understand if that is a hard leap to make. I’m so glad for the impact that the letter had upon you. Blessings to you on your journey!
      Best,
      Kelly

    • Laura

      Ann – Don’t leave. This is a human thing – not political and I would hate for you to miss all the good things that Dr. Kelly has for us.

  • Jo

    I have enjoyed your posts. I have friends and family who are gay. However, I do not think that marriage should be re-defined. I’m ok with gay partnerships, but marriage is between a man and a woman and I value that definition. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like gay people.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Good point, Jo. We can have opinions about marriage that are quite separate from how we care for the people around us. Thanks for expressing this so well. Exactly the kind of generous and graceful relating I was exhorting us to in the post!

  • keith feisel

    Jesus was described as being full of grace and truth. I’m afraid that in my desire to be like Him, I swing like a pendulum from one extreme to the other. Both are needed, in this subject as well; do I love another to speak the truth, sprinkled with grace, even though it may not be politically correct or even popular? As a Christian, that is what I am confronted with.

    • drkellyflanagan

      It messes me up, too, Keith. Especially how grace and truth are always pitted against each other in my mind, as if grace is somehow not true. And what if it’s the truest thing of all? It melts the mind and we do well to just hang on to that pendulum!

    • Laura

      Keith – I suffer the same as you and really appreciate you saying this here. Love Kelly’s comments too.

  • Lukose Pralayil

    Jesus too has clearly interpreted what marriage is, and I believe, since then that’s our belief and that’s to be the meaning of marriage for time immemorial. If ever we are confused with regard to interpreting anything, I suggest we decide the truth after inviting Jesus to our discussions and personal thoughts, and realizing how he would interpret, negotiate and decide if He was left to take a decision on an issue, knowing fully well that He doesn’t switch words in His own convenient way. Justifying same-sex marriage in the light of the smartphones! Rather, interpreting it, or anything for that matter, in the light of Jesus’ words! Sodom and Gomorrah had no justifications allowed anyway, and they kept running until they could find no refuge anywhere, only blind alleys, and had to fall dead. Responding with mercy to those people vulnerable to their ‘pervert’ emotions and fancies, could be Grace, but justifying their peculiar behavior is going against Grace. The Word of God speaks to the culprit as well as to the victim at the same time. Both have to listen to that Word and respond according to it.

  • Dan

    I’ve enjoyed several of your messages but I have to watch for influences that I believe are not biblically based. Marriage is one of these that is clearly defined to be between a man and a woman. Same sex attractions are a result of brokenness and sin. If our society wants to extend benefits to same-sex couples in a committed relationship it doesn’t have to be done by changing the definition of marriage.

    I’m unsubscribing as well. I prefer to have influences that encourage me to a higher standard, not one that encourages me to live according to the customs of this world (Lev 20:23).

    Leviticus 18:22 says “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” This lifestyle is wrong as well as this act. I don’t want to engage in foolish arguments (2 TIm 2:23-24) that will turn quarrelsome. We can be kind to homosexuals without shying from the truth. I would have liked to see this discussion centered more around tolerance, not acceptance, to treat people with respect but to show them where they are wrong. How can we share the truth of God’s word if we don’t speak the truth? To argue that some views are false or immoral doesn’t violate any meaningful standard of tolerance.

  • Ashley

    I was happy to see a few comments that are in line with my beliefs. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any. God is the one who defines marriage, not the Supreme Court. It’s unfortunate that something that is wrong has become so accepted in our society. Truth and tolerance are two sides of a coin. If it’s not balanced then only one side faces up. We should always understand and be respectful of the fact that everyone is free to choose how to live their life but that doesn’t make it right or without consequence whether in this life or the next.

  • Chance

    Jesus ate and drank with those considered the bottom of the social barrel described as tax collectors and sinners. He was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton. I don’t think they would have wanted to be around him if he was always telling them how sinful they were. My guess is, he enjoyed them because they were less pretentious than general society. Remember he called the political and religious elites, the Pharisees, hypocrites, that is “actors”.

    To those bothered by this post, if you think you are somehow closer to God by opposing Gay Marriage or Immigration reform, I don’t see anything in Jesus that indicates he would get involved in those or any other political issues. From what I can see Jesus introduced us to the idea that the kingdom of heaven is quite different from the kingdoms of this world. He was not talking about a future place but a perspective in how God views the world that he loves.

    Jesus never placed himself above those around him, and people from all walks were drawn to him because he loved them instead of judging them. If the CHURCH (all of them) were more like Jesus, their services would be packed full.

    Your ego tells you that you are better because you believe you do “the rules” better. Man uses the Bible as a way to exult him or herself. Jesus turned the rules upside down. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” and “he who has not sinned should cast the first stone”. Remember, “he did not come to judge the world but to save the world”.

    This was brilliant: “Our egos tell us our worth exists in comparison to other people. So our egos have a huge stake in maintaining a sense of division. Our egos will cling to our differences and strip others of their dignity, in order to clutch on to a fabricated sense of superiority. Our egos will relish the bitter debate.”

    • Dan

      Chance,
      While it’s true that Jesus ate and drank with sinners, it’s also true that he didn’t condone their sin. Someone else mentioned that Jesus was full of grace AND truth (John 1). These are not mutually exclusive. He set the example for us to follow. In John 8:1-11, He didn’t condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery but He also didn’t shy away from telling her to ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ He didn’t told her of her need to repent in a non-condemning way. That’s powerful when you love someone enough to not leave them in their brokenness.

      • Chance

        Hi Dan,
        Part of the problem is there is no clear-cut definition of what sin is. You gave Leviticus 18 to condemn homosexuality. Do you or anybody else actually live by the countless rules of Leviticus? I think not, it’s not possible. Deuteronomy 22 seems to condone rape of a virgin be rectified by paying her father 50 shekels and marriage, but only if I’m caught. What other ridiculous 3,000+ year old laws should we introduce into today’s society? If we are going to hold-onto our own definitions of sin so we can condemn the world, don’t you think we should be consistent and include it all?

        It too often seems that Christians think that they are in a position to impose their selective standards on the rest of society. I’m confident that if I knew you personally that I could find areas of your life, where you fall short (sin) as easily as you could find them in mine. The world would be a much better place if we restricted our righteous judgement to ourselves individually and loved the world unconditionally as I think God does…

        • drkellyflanagan

          Tough issues here, guys, but I appreciate the way you are handling it.

          I think I might have a “solution”: truth is important and it’s important to speak it to others, but what if we held off on speaking our truth to any given person until we’ve gone on a week long retreat with them, heard their entire story, shared our entire story, and become fully engaged with each other’s humanity. We may still share what we believe to be true, but I bet it would look a whole lot different.

          Dan, you mention the power of staying with someone in their brokenness. Hope you’ll change your mind and stick around here, even if some of the ideas seem pretty broken. We’d love to have you!

          • Dan

            Sorry for not replying sooner. Jesus didn’t wait but He’s the perfect example of how to respond to someone. In general, I agree that if you are trying to establish a relationship with someone, the relationship should be more important that ‘Getting the gospel off of your chest’. I’m not sure that waiting a week will help someone who can’t be gracious when speaking truth to others. (Col 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.) It might take longer for them to avoid damaging relationships they have invested in.

            I’ll reconsider staying but I’m not sure if my ministry should be here.

            • drkellyflanagan

              No worries, Dan, you are obviously free to do what you choose. But we’d love to have you if you want to hang around!

            • Nancy

              Dan, may I challenge you on your mentality of “your ministry.” Jesus did not declare, that I can remember “his ministry” to anyone. He merely lived a life that was conducive to loving humans (a love connector of sorts). Somehow we have a wrong mentality of the ‘Great Commission’ and as a Christian society have hung our banners of ministry out for all to see while picking and choosing where we will be that love connection to another.
              As a Christian I struggle with all the glamour of “my ministry” as I have seen it create more divides than bridges.

          • valvoice

            Dr. Kelly,
            I hear you . be sensitive to your fellow man. However the nature OF ‘truth’ ..anyones for that matter, but esp. Gods’ is that simply by taking A position, you place yourself in opposition to another segment.
            Sure spending time with someone..hearing their individual story..might look ‘different’ ? but the worser might also happen, by becoming more ‘subjective’ we would lose our objective sense of what Truth is, and therefore arrive exactly where we are on ‘this issue’…looking at it from Everyones perspective. I dont LIKE the seat belt laws in my state, but i am trying to follow them. One could make an arguement and most likely several very good ones w/ evidence (from eachs own perspective) that they cause injuries that may not have been there…perhaps they saved a life, but one will never know since we dont have the liberty of wrecking twice w/ and w/out said belt in place. point is.. ‘most would agree’ that seat belts ‘save lives’ whether we LIKE them or not.. but on this issue we are tending to ‘listen’ to the small percentage of people, whom like me dont like it the way it is and though there IS proof.. still want it there/ my way ! Further..driving in the car with me… shouldnt change what you know …IS best.

            • Amy Lynn Campbell

              “Sure spending time with someone..hearing their individual story..might look ‘different’ ? but the worser might also happen, by becoming more ‘subjective’ we would lose our objective sense of what Truth is, and therefore arrive exactly where we are on ‘this issue’…looking at it from Everyones perspective. ”

              I’m not sure that is what the Dr. Kelly is saying. To come at someone with truth without relationship is like running a cheese grater across someone skin. It doesn’t feel good and it only makes you hate the thing that hurt you. Without relationship, you have no buisness speaking into someone’s life. Someone else’s sin is not contagious and shouldn’t change your perspective on the gospel truth, but sitting in the pit beside that person to give much needed grace and a different perspective may help to bring that person out of the pit.

              • Nancy

                Amy absolutely agree! Your comment, ” sitting in the pit beside that person to give much needed grace and a different perspective may help to bring that person out of the pit” may also cause us to see that our way may not be the only way. I am often challenged to ask myself what would Jesus do if he were sitting here beside me? Would he deny someone the privilege of being loved and accepted for who they are? Would he cast them out to be devoured by others who feel it is there right to be the moral temperature gauge for everyone?

                Having experienced others critical judgements under the disguise of counseling from a spiritual perspective I found it very disheartening and painful, not at all empowering and loving. So with that experience I am learning to be more compassionate, less judgemental, and open to build relationships with whomever crosses my path.
                God’s unconditional love has no boundaries or stipulations. My journey is not going to look like someone else’s journey therefore, I should not expect anyone else to travel the same path I choose for me.

          • Nancy

            Dr K, I have to so agree with you here. Coming from a very strong religious back ground in my formative years I have had to unlearn some deep seeded prejudices and stereotypical thinking. It is very hard to live other centered with closed minds to the humanity of others.

            • Nancy

              This article as well as a couple of others I have read today has helped me to put some things in better perspective in my response to a social work assignment. Thank you everyone for posting your views. I will have to take a different stance on my thoughts previously written in my assignment.
              I love this format Dr K these are tough subjects and we need help as professionals in engaging in the humanity of others.

              • drkellyflanagan

                Nancy, welcome to UnTangled. You seem to embody the spirit of egolessness we strive for around here. Welcome aboard!

        • valvoice

          Chance,

          there definitely IS a clear cut definition of ‘sin’.

          ANYthing that isnt perfect, or holy.

          It is unreachable for mankind, which is Why we NEED a saviour who exchanges with us His Righteousness for OUR sin- missing the mark of Holy living.

          Left to our selves you are correct..each of us even in our limited skills of observance could ‘find’ that which IS sin.

          An exception is found however in your interpretation of perhaps of ‘selective standards’. Dan has given some(there are more) scripture as to Gods feeling/ commands on Homosexuality. By Him doing so ..YOU have put ‘Dan’ in the position of ‘judge’. He and now I, for that matter simply because we share something FROM God, does not make us responsible for what we share. it also doesnt even make us accountable to have mastered it ourselves…. much like ‘you’ perhaps being a constant ? breaker of speed limits… you TRY to not speed..youd tell your children to not speed..but YOU have a lead foot..over time..you’ll get it. thru the kindly reminders of your wife….or your kids looking over your shoulder and noticing your speed..and the occassional ticket… but you wouldnt turn to them and call them ‘judgemental’ for having told your or reminded you of that which is true. You wouldnt be a hypocrite for telling your kids the next day ‘after’ receiving your ticket..to NOT SPEED..youd be a bad parent if you didnt.

          Being a Christian accepts that IM NOT PERFECT, and also that I can with Christs’ strength be more of who He designed me to be… He ‘gives me the choice ‘ to NOT speed so to speak..where prior to accepting HIS ‘way’. I did it my way without hesitation or need of excuse.

          by ME ..or Dan… or anyone trying to follow Christ sharing His truth with you doesnt make US ….your judge or anything.. I guess if you had to say anything it makes us is ? directors…ie giving directions. I was lost..here’s how i found MY way and perhaps these ‘directions’ could bring YOU closer to where you’d find more True Happiness as well.
          Seeing someone stepping awry or going off course.. well you could ‘mind your own business’ ..but if theyre taking the same road you did, and you KNOW the ‘bridge is out’ …well you could just let them go…or .. because you care.. tell them. if they choose to go that way…there’s ‘road hazards’ ahead… hopefully by me trying to ‘help them’ …they wouldnt see me as their …judge. :o) but its all in the person receiving the ‘helps’ perspective.

          • Chance

            valvoice, Please see the response above.

        • Dan

          There are moral, civil and ceremonial laws in Leviticus. It’s common for people to discount the moral laws by pointing out ceremonial or civil laws that don’t apply any longer. Please don’t take this personally, it’s not always clear. We have to “accurately handle the truth of the word of God” (2 Tim 2:15). Biblical hermeneutics points us to the correct interpretation which the Holy Spirit has already inspired into the text, but ultimately it’s the Holy Spirit who reveals the meaning of God’s word. Study alone is not enough.

          God’s love IS both unconditional and universal He has compassion on both believers and unbelievers who often scoff at His laws, but unconditional love doesn’t mean He won’t judge us because of our sin (Rom 6:23 wage of sin is death). He also forgives us (1 Jn 1:9) if we confess our sins. He desires for us to be set free from our sin. Please don’t misunderstand what sin is and what their natural consequences are.

          Christians aren’t here to judge(condemn) the world yet (1 Cor 6:2,3) but we are to make a judgement (determination) about sin with the goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences, which is in Christ.

          • Chance

            Dan, Please see the response above.

    • Nancy

      I so agree couldn’t have said it better.

  • Ashley

    I i no way believe that I am better than someone who practices homosexuality. No one is perfect; we all sin. And why shouldn’t we get involved in politics? This is the world we live in so we should be allowed to say what we want. Jesus did get in involved when he cleansed the temple of the money changers. And when the woman who was taken in adultery was brought to him he did not excuse the sin. He said go and sin no more.

  • Craig

    What a beautiful reminder that behind the diffrrences and politics is people who feel, have stories, love, and hurt. We as people are much better, more loving, more compassionate, more understanding when we are in honest and empathic relationship with others. Thank you for creating a space for us to consider how we can open our lives a little more to one another despite our differences and diversity.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank YOU, Craig, for coming into this space and being a part of it.

  • Maggie Pinque

    I was born in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up on Long Island and now I live in Westchester County – about 50 minutes north of NYC. I was raised by absolutely enlightened parents who introduced us to every known religion on earth and taught us about tolerance and bigotry by not only talking the talk, but more importantly, walking the walk.

    I start with that because I now have friends from all over the country and truly, NYer’s are a different breed. We tend to be more liberal and god knows, we are always in a hurry and usually always believe we are right. 😉

    With that said, I have a 16 year old daughter and a 17 year old son who have their iPhones surgically attached to their hands. We have had many discussions about all of life, but especially with regards to this issue, as it hits home to many of our friends. My daughter summed it up best when she said, “Mom.(eye roll) To us, this is really no big deal. It’s about love. And you have told us over and over and over again, you can never have too much love. It’s YOUR generation who has the issue.” (I’m 52 for what it’s worth.) My kids are my hope.

    GREAT post Kelly. It is a pleasure to have met you here.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Maggie, It’s a pleasure to meet you here, as well! And I think you capture it beautifully. My post may have depicted it as if young people are engaging in some kind of culture war on behalf of their friends. But they’re not, are they? To them, this is a non-issue, no big deal. You have good reason to hope in your kids, Maggie. Blessings!

  • Preston

    Radical love and relationship … Not that there is anything wrong with that! Great post!

  • Vanessa

    I really appreciate this post, and I think that if more Christians actually thought this way, you would see more people coming to Christ. The way I look at it is that it is irrelevant what my religious views are concerning marriage. Our country is not run by the church, so this very political question should not be made (or unmade) based on religious beliefs. Moreover, our country is proud to offer freedom of religion to all who reside here, and yet we do not check with every religious group to ensure that each considers a legislative ruling “moral” according to their religion’s standards.
    People have the right to be Christians, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, agnostics, or practice any other belief system of their choosing. As such, we must respect other people’s human rights to decide what is moral for themselves, so long as it is not actively harming or impinging upon other’s rights. I don’t think that a gay couple getting married impinges upon a straight couple’s rights. Do you?

    How about an example: some Christians feel strongly that divorce is a sin. However, many churches now accept divorce, and divorce is now legal. Is divorce not more harmful to marriage than gay marriage? Two same sex individuals marrying does not affect your marriage, but divorce might. Why is it ok for legislation to allow for divorce, but not for gay marriage?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Vanessa, Skye Jethani has written more along the lines of what you are saying about how Christians encounter others in the “public square.” You might enjoy looking him up. Thanks for sharing!

    • valvoice

      Vanessa,
      Our country was founded on freedom, esp. religious freedoms free FROM the tryanny of Governent interferrence or legislating the spirit of humanity. You cannot and should not ‘rule the spirit’ by law. Which is why this issue is so important and illicits so much energy pos./neg. But its root is because the aforementioned is trying to be done…when it is in actuality already settled. the reason it is a ‘political issue’ is because those that do not agree with it cannot take their argument to whom they do not believe and get the response the desire. When we take issues like this one and put it in the ‘hands of men’ rather than just agree w/ God as it is already settled in heaven, then we get what we are getting- confusion- when we ‘listen’ to every persons wants and opinions. It reminds me of CHILDISHNESS…i do not know if you have children or not ? but if so..you know whether you have 1 or several ( as I did) that as soon as you ‘open’ the issues at hand to allowing the children(s) opinions to ‘legislate’ …the child then becomes the parent. ONE man ONE woman IS Gods’ way..it is the best way and that is all we need to know. It shouldnt even be open for discussion,,,but like my illus….now that it is.. we have what we have because no Longer do we Honor the ‘father’ as knowing whats best..for US…the children
      n just fyi.as to your ? ..its not ok for them to legislate on Divorce either…and your use of it demonstrates exactly why….since they have ..one ‘wrong’ now seems to be a usable justification for…yet another.
      and now.. Gay marriage is much more harmful. it will affect everything from actuarial reports for insurance, health, life, automobile and rates of everything that has seen ‘marriage’ as one man one woman, along with adoption laws, pensions and the list goes on. Not to mention it literally ‘creates’ a new socially acceptable norm, by THE smallest segment of society that is only FOR/beneficial TO that segment.. not ‘ government by the people FOR (whats best for ALL) the people’. “impressionable’ Children deserve to be brought up in a world that demonstrates to / for them that which is inheriently ‘good’…. so that THEY in turn can live in accord with all people and make decisions based on something that never changes- truth.

      • Laura Dijksman

        Our country was founded on freedom, esp. religious freedoms you say. That does mean freedom for ALL people, not just religious people right? Non-religious people have a right to freedom too. That is why the constitution says that it’s not allowed to make laws based on religion. Your standpoint is purely based on religion. There is no scientific or social report supporting that standpoint. Scientifically we gays are born that way, like there is homosexuality in many other animal species. Socially there is proof that gay parents are as good as straight parents and that gay people are as good as straight people. So, I don’t mind allowing you the freedom to think what you want and to live according to religious rules. But there is no justification for you forcing ME to live according to your religious rules.

        Based on something that never changes- truth you say, really? truths never change? So you don’t eat shellfish? So you don’t wear mixed materials? So you stone adulterers? Truths change with societies. And people change with them. Opinions change. Rules change. Truths change.

    • Nancy

      Vanessa very interesting point.

  • Laura

    Oh my…you have touched my heart again. I am a Christian who struggles with the big political questions. I am a Christian who only desires to love all others – all over the world – regardless of race, color, creed, etc. I have had exchange students over the years from so many countries. These people are now my family and I cannot hate a nation or a race that has my family in it! I once hosted a French student who said “I hate all Asian people.” I just looked at him dumbfounded and had to ask – “You hate over half of the people in the world?!”. I will never forget that and how it made me feel. You cannot “un-know” the beauty of another person from another culture. You cannot spend time with someone “different” for very long before you start to realize that you are more alike than you realized. They share so much of the worries, joys, love and sadness that we do. You are again so right and such a wonderful voice for so many of us. Thank you – I am sorry to take up so much of your time. You obviously struck a chord with me (again)! Laura

    • drkellyflanagan

      Laura, thank you for adding your voice hear. I love this: “You cannot ‘un-know’ the beauty of another person…” I truly couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Kevin

    Puppy dogs & baby ducks… a very simplistic view of the world and one the author as a professing Christian in a ministry dealing with redemption should know better. News Flash we live in a sin cursed world. It is the type of article John Lennon would be proud (Imagine there’s no heaven…). It is also one of those articles that denounces judgments while making judgments against anyone who disagrees (seems the only egos are out there). The last line is telling “Regardless of what we believe about homosexuality and marriage, I hope we will trade in our egos for that kind of unity.” Regardless of what we believe… unity? Unity is based on what we believe! (Let this same mind be in you, how shall two walk together unless they agree, I and the Father are one… etc. etc.)

  • Chance

    Dan & Valvoice,

    Obviously we are not going to agree here. I would challenge you to consider that the Bible was written and edited over at least 1,000 years in multiple languages by multiple cultures and authors. It is not clear-cut on any subject as can be seen by thousands of traditions, sects, denominations, religions, and individuals. For every scripture that appears to say one thing there is another that will send you in a different direction. Translations, there are hundreds in the english language alone. The idea that God would use a book as his primary means of revelation when we live inside of his creation seems absurd, like walking around in a great piece of architecture but only able to focus-on the engineering plans. Hermeneutics, both Jesus and even Paul would have failed a modern test on systematic theology. So I challenge you, if you want to know God in a way you have never experienced, to step out of your comfort zone. Get to know someone personally that you disagree with, read a book from another perspective, attend services outside of your comfort zone. I promise you if you can open your mind to the possibility that God can not be contained in the box that you have placed him in, what you will find will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Take it from one who use-to be closer to where you are. Believe me, God has not left me, just became more wonderful than I could have imagined…

    • Maria

      I agree that God cannot be contained in a box, and that we as a society in general are very lacking in the gift and grace of knowing, loving and understanding one another.
      And, at the same time there is a grave danger in placing our relationship with God and who He is and what we learn from Him on the same level as what we can learn from one another.
      Of most importance is that we get to know God personally, and His mind and heart, and base our beliefs and understandings in life on this rather than another persons experiences.

  • Maria

    Thank you for your openness in sharing. I agree that we have a long way to go in general in learning to better love, understand and relate with one another.
    And, at the same time, as a Catholic Christian missionary, I also believe that true relating and true ecumenism among faiths), must include being true to who we are… not compromising our beliefs just because another doesn’t believe them. This is the whole message Jesus shared with His Apostles and disciples before ascending…”Go out through all the world and tell the good news.”
    The good news is the truth that He came to bring us, for which He was crucified… And, he was crucified because He couldn’t compromise the truth of who He is.
    I think some posters have been judgemental toward christians, saying it is the ego that motivates. Maybe for some it is. But not all, and not true disciples of Christ.
    If we as Christians are living the message of Christ, we are not able to separate ourselves from the truth (He is the way, truth and life). This doesn’t mean shoving our belief on others… It may mean not sharing it at all in certain situations. It depends on how the Holy Spirit is inspiring one to relate with and share with others.
    But the Holy Spirit cannot be put in a box… in order to please another person. There are times when our love is “tough” because truth is tough to hear. But it is love just the same.
    Blessings

  • Kari Swenson

    I know I’m late in joining the conversation, but I like this post a lot. About setting aside the politics and religion of the issue and looking at the people that are among us that this affects. I’ve seen people on both sides of this issue and my hope is to see people respecting each other’s beliefs. Churches be allowed to decide if same sex marriages are accepted by their own congregation and not some law. Gay/lesbian couple allowed to have the same rights as a legally married couple.

  • Julie

    Dr.flanagan believes in grace. Grace to me means love. And love is acceptance of those from all different walks of life. All the rest is simply fear. When I read all these posts about what Jesus did or did not say, do or believe, all I hear is fear; Fear of what it means about you to accept or love someone who is different- what others might think or say. Grace is love and love is acceptance. It’s not complicated. Keep it simple.

  • Beth

    I enjoy these posts and find the perspectives on marriage, love and commitment to be gentle, inspiring and helpful for me, as I work and reflect with my husband on how to strengthen our marriage. Our friends and family include many gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships, some with very strong and loving relationships and some needing some more work (like mine and my husband’s). We also have real-world friends and family who disagree with gay marriage based on religious views, strongly held. We do try to tell the stories, if we have permission, of our gay and lesbian friends who have cared for one another through illness or crisis and have supported the needs of so many others in networks of family and friends. I appreciate the humility, simplicity and bravery of this particular post and certainly will stay a subscriber. I also think (and hope) I would not have unsubscribed if I read one post with a different view from my own on an issue that so divides our society. My husband and I belong to a church that is not actively “affirming” of gay and lesbian couples, but does fully include gay and lesbian members. Some church members view gay and lesbian sexuality as sinful. Together, we are a church that worships, follows Jesus, reaches out to meet the needs of our community and cares gently for one another, with as much grace as possible.

  • Hansraj Jain

    I personally believe that the basic foundation for all our views ought to be linked with not our understanding of God and how we think He operates but from what the Bible reveals HIM to be from the beginning to the End (Genesis through to Revelation). I find that basic fact remains constant through the millennia – His Holy Person and Character. All attributes flow out and work out from this. Hence the theme is constant – Be Ye Holy for the Lord your God is Holy! This was said in the Old Testament and this is said through the New Testament that concludes with Revelation where this is powerfully demonstrated for us. Hence all our human behaviour that is contrary to the character of God falls short of the glory of God and that the Bible Calls SIN. Offer of Grace is not delinked with demand for holiness and holy living – first primarily with the Lord and then with one another as children of God. Otherwise we are in danger of misrepresenting HIM and HIS revelation of HIMSELF to us in the BIBLE. This is not left to our interpretation etc.

  • pjr

    Dr Flanagan – I know I’m late to this particular party, but I couldn’t help but post some observations, and thanks. Two things struck a chord for me, in your blog post: Frank White’s overview effect, and your commentary on ego.

    I believe those who are allies see the world clearly through this overview effect: how can we truly be interconnected when some have less rights than others? There is no unity, coherence, or equality when some – from whatever base they stand on – have or feel that they have more rights than others. Allies then work towards unity, towards interconnectedness, truly through seeing another person simply as a human being with all the same needs, wants, desires, and potential equal to their own, and with a fervent desire to be connected to the greater world around them.

    Your commentary about ego was spot-on. When we feel “less than” the ego drives us to find ways to feel “more than”; oftentimes, that means finding someone, or something, to feel superior to. When we value ourselves, not in relation to others, but in relation to the person in the mirror, the ego then has room to accept the differences it finds in others, without needing to feel “more than”. Beautifully put!

    Thank you for your keen observations and lovely writing style – I’ll be sure to bookmark you and check out further posts! Be well – P

    • drkellyflanagan

      P, thanks for your thoughtful comments about this post. It was more divisive than expected and it’s nice to revisit it in this way!

  • mominvermont

    I also hope for a “sense of connection and unity and coherence” between children and their mothers which is impossible when we exclude mothers from the lives of children simply because their dad is gay. Loving homosexuals means we treat their children the way we treat straights’ children: with a relationship with their mom and their dad. Let’s give them an opportunity to love and joyfully enter into the story of their mom and dad. Male “marriage” and female “marriage” exclude moms or dads.

    Support pro-gender marriage. Because gender matters to everyone, including homosexuals and their children.

  • Rachel

    I’m new to your blog and ran across this article. I am a conservative Christian. I have a family member who is a lesbian and is engaged. While I love her and truly care about her, I don’t advocate gay marriage. I think God gives us admonitions for a reason while giving us freedom to choose our own paths. If this was only a matter of personal choice, then I would not be opposed to gay marriage. But, how it affects society concerns me. For example, my son was taught about homosexuality in his 5th grade sex education class in Colorado without my knowledge and permission. While he has been grounded in biblical teaching, I would not have given any school permission to show him this or pornography or how to commit adultery or any other sexual sin. How we educate our children matters and influences their choices. While we are all coming to the table in unity, I would like to know how gay marriage advocates propose to respect the boundaries of those of us who choose not to expose our children to gay sex as a part of public school curriculum? I don’t see this as an ego problem, but a moral one. I want my children to feel safe and protected just as much as a parent with homosexual child does.

  • May

    Interesting board of thoughts! There are some amazing writers who have great clarity in getting their ideas across, with most using grace. This board is intelligently exhilarating and exhausting!

  • Sara

    A wonderful book on dealing with homosexuality is by the Orthodox Christian, Father Hopko called Same Sex Attraction. It is even employed by homosexual professors teaching on the subject. The great part about it is that rather than making hateful or condemning arguments towards their views, it deals with the person as an individual. Do I agree with homosexuality? No. Does it mean that I get to hate the person? No. We are called to love our neighbors. What if our neighbors are two men? I wouldn’t go around supporting their view but I would still love them.