My husband and I have been married for 15 1/2 years. We have a child together. We disagree sometimes. We make up again. We have been through some real trials and tribulations, but we have weathered the course and I can say with all sincerity that I think our love and our commitment to each other is stronger than ever.
With the marriage equality issue squarely in the limelight right now, I have devoted a lot of thought to the issue of marriage.
I’ve been delving into the scriptures, and I realized that I have the privilege of being married to my wonderful husband only because the State does not put Biblical constraint on heterosexual marriages. You see, I have been married before. I was married at age 19 and divorced some 8 plus years later. Both my first husband and I have moved on. We are each married to new partners. If, however, the State had taken the position that is consistent with the scripture, I could not have remarried.
In 1 Corinthians 10-11, Paul stated, “10But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11(but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.”
My husband and I eloped. The only “guests” at our wedding were the other people waiting at the little chapel for their turn to state their vows. We did not have to seek approval of clergy. We did not go through pastoral counseling (not that it would have been a bad idea), we just paid our money, said our vows and signed on the dotted line.
I have close friends in the gay and lesbian community. I attend services at a church that has taken an “all are welcome” stance on the issue. They have welcomed my divorced and remarried self with open arms. Their love has shown me what I have been missing in my life as I worshiped in solitary.
I have witnessed first hand in both my personal and professional lives the havoc that can result when a gay person marries a straight person who is unaware of their sexuality. Although those marriages are Biblical, they can leave broken hearts in their trail, and frequently do.
As a sinner, I leave the judgment to God. I have never attended a gay wedding, but I will if invited. Perhaps gay marriage is not sanctioned by the Bible. Neither is remarriage after divorce. Perhaps there are florists and bakers who would have refused to cater my wedding reception if I had planned one. They’re not making the news, though. I respect the right churches to refuse the rites of marriage to those couples whose unions are inconsistent with that church’s teachings. I expect we will see more on that issue soon.
I thank God for my husband. I thank my family, who may or may not have agreed with my decision to remarry, for accepting us and encouraging us. I realize that on this issue, we may not agree. I learn from them, and I am thankful for every opportunity for me to consider my stance on issues where law and faith intersect. They have always been respectful when disagreeing with me, and I am confident that will continue on this issue. I love them, and I know that they will continue to love me, just as they have in the past when we have disagreed.
I quietly celebrated yesterday. I have many men and women in the LGBTQ community who I am honored to call “friend.” They welcomed me with open arms into their circles. They did not care that I was once divorced, an unwed mother, or a morbidly obese person. They simply called me “friend.”
Just as they do not refer to me as their “obese, divorced and remarried heterosexual friend Betty,” I do not think of any one of them as “My gay friend Max,” or “My lesbian friend Sally” – they are simply my friends. I love them. I will celebrate with them.
I am an Ally. I am a welcoming Christian. I have chosen not to discriminate in my business or in my friendship. I cannot personally use the scripture to deny the right to marry to anyone whose union doesn’t comport. I gave up that right when I chose my own path.