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Opinion: Why I support gay marriage in Washington
A same-sex marriage bill passed Washington's House and Senate. Rev. Mike Denton approves.
February 8th, 2012
08:42 PM ET

Opinion: Why I support gay marriage in Washington

Editor’s Note: Rev. Mike Denton is a conference minister of the United Church of Christ working with congregations in Washington, Northern Idaho and Alaska. He supports gay marriage.

For an opposing view, click here.

On Wednesday afternoon, Washington's House passed a same-sex marriage bill, 53-43. The state Senate has already passed it, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has promised to sign it. Opponents of  the bill are promising to put the issue on the ballot this November.

By. Rev. Mike Denton, Special to CNN

(CNN) - It was a little more than 15 years ago when two friends of mine - I’ll call them Amy and Christine - asked me to officiate at their wedding. Actually, at the time, I’m not sure we called it a “wedding.” Fifteen years ago, gay and lesbian folks were still stepping gingerly around the words “wedding” or “marriage.” It didn’t feel safe and just didn’t seem to be worth the fight so words like “union service” or “commitment service” were used instead.

Amy and Christine knew this would be a service that wouldn’t be recognized by the state and, although that was a bit of concern, it wasn’t why they wanted to marry, anyway. They loved each other. They wanted to tell the world. They wanted to ask for the support of those who loved them and they wanted to do it in a public way.

The service was held on a beautiful October Saturday. In a church filled with flowers, music, family and friends prayers were said, vows were shared, tears were shed and, of course, the couple was lovely. The only big difference was at the end of service when I said the words, “You may both kiss the bride.”

I know that not everyone who reads these words will read them with the same sense of joy that others will. In particular, some of my Christian sisters and brothers will read this while shaking their heads or with a tight, growing knot in their stomach. I understand that. There would have been a time I might have been there, too.

I grew up in church but I don’t remember homosexuality being talked about all that much. I thought it was wrong because that’s just what I heard the most from those Christian voices that were best able to garner media attention. The same six biblical verses referred to seemed, at the time, pretty clear. The Sodom and Gomorrah story was one that came up a lot. Quotes from chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus, as well as the first chapter of Romans, too.

A couple similar to Amy and Christine

I was never anyone who would have protested against gay rights or actively worked to limit the rights of gay and lesbian folks. Suggesting someone might be gay was more in the realm of rumor than identity. As a teen, I did sometimes tell anti-gay jokes and AIDS jokes, like most of my peers. I was sometimes part of teasing people who some suggested were gay and I would call something “gay” as an insult. Still, I never really thought about it all that much. Being anti-gay was just what you did and what you thought and I don’t remember ever being told it was inappropriate or wrong to think this way. In my mind, I had included homosexuality in that set of sins that were in the realm of drinking too much or gambling. It was wrong, but there were worse things and it just didn’t have all that much to do with me.

It was sometime in my first year of college when someone I knew told me he was gay. When he started to tell me his story, I think I thought I was hearing a confession. As he continued to talk, I began to hear more and more clearly that this wasn’t a confession about what he’d done, but a story about who he was. Up until that moment, I’d never really understood that difference.

In the days that followed, I did a lot of reflection. I looked at the bible, again, and really studied it this time. I prayed. I prayed a lot. What first began to become clear was that, regardless of what I thought about homosexuality, my treatment of and joking about gay and lesbian people had been wrong. I had treated other people in a way I am sure Jesus would not have.

What was reaffirmed was that I was not, nor ever had been, a biblical literalist. For example, I had long ago set aside some of the bible’s descriptions about the role of women as a cultural description of that time and not a prescription for this one. I started to look at some of those biblical texts about homosexuality in the same light.

In the years that followed, this clarity only increased. I met more and more and more gay individuals and couples. I heard their stories of self-realization; falling in love; and their struggle for self, family and societal acceptance and realized how far they were from the deviant parodies I’d been exposed to while growing up. The identity labels began to fall out of the way as friendships began.

I learned more about the bible and the multiple ways in which pieces of it could be, and had been, interpreted and misinterpreted. When you looked at some of the original Greek and Hebrew, it became clear that these verses really weren’t talking about a loving couple like Amy and Christine, they were talking about the religious practices of other religions of the day or sexual relationships that were about power, not love.

I also met folks within the church who were working for the inclusion and acceptance of gay and lesbian folks in the full life of the church; not as “sinners” but as people created by a loving God. In 1999, I was ordained into ministry by a denomination called the United Church of Christ that for many years had welcomed and included the LGBT community and those who loved them in to their wide continuum of belief and practice.

The Washington state legislature just gave gay and lesbian couples access to the same rights that straight couples have under state law. This law also gives the state the ability to provide the same supports, as well as require the same responsibilities, of gay and lesbian couples as any other couple. As someone who, in a pastoral role, sees the stress and strain this legal ambivalence puts on gay families and the communities they are part of, I know how important this law is.  Also, regardless of what some may suggest, this law will not force pastors who oppose gay rights to officiate at the marriages of same-sex couples or sign a wedding license for them. However, it will allow me to treat gay or straight couples equally by being able to sign a wedding license for both.

I wish I could have done that for Amy and Christine. They are still married, 15 years later. They are great parents, active church members and regular participants in their community. Their friends, family and church still support their relationship, too. It’s only the government that does not.  I thank God for the fact that, slowly but surely, this is starting to change.

The opinions expressed are solely those of  Rev. Mike Denton.

Posted by
Filed under: Family • Relationships • Religion • Sexual orientation • What we think
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. who cares

    h omo s should all die with that G a Y desease they like to share with each other

    February 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Weren't you taught that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all?
      I know I certainly was.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chris Martin

    Anything to create MORE of a fatherless world. Thanks for sending the message. Also, there are, and have been more fathers wanting to be fathers and involved in their children's lives, than dead beat dads. A lot of these fathers who were "labeled" this, came from lazy women, who automatically got custody in court. This wasn't justice, this wasn't equal...so while you're trying to figure out what's fair for everyone, you need to back up, put "dad" back to work in America, and put "dad" back in the child's life. THE GLBT AND IT'S SUPORTERS DO NOT SUPPORT HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN...IN WHAT ARTICLE, OR COMMERCIAL DO YOU EVER SEE THIS KIND OF EQUALITY? YOU DON'T !!

    February 18, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. what1ever

    Well written article. I'm glad you came around to the side that represents integrity , decency, and human value instead of outdated hatreds and paranoid delusions.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse Walters

      I'd like personally to thank you for your support. The LGBTQ community values every individual who is willing to stand up for us despite the risk of being stigmatized by society. People like you give me hope.

      February 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Esu

    Read your Bible Mike, that should clear up the issue for you.

    Let me get this straight (no pun intended), sin talked about in the Bible is no longer literal? Therefore in your mind, do not murder etc. are more like moral suggestions?

    You either believe the entire Word of God, or none of it. You are in great danger Mr. Mike, you have both added and taken away from the Word.

    February 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kleb

      From your comment, I take it that you must be a serpent handler.

      February 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Alan

        Kleb – no dude, not a snake handler – just someone who believes the Word. I was born a "lustful" man – its still sin, just the same as ANY other sin (break one part of the law, break all of it) but I was set free by Christ, from the law of sin – just like anyone else CAN be set free. There are many "lusters" out there – no doubt. Its no difference about this – Jesus doesnt give anyone the choice of being 1/2 Christian – your either all in, or your not. But dont get offended by those who accept Him, if you reject Christ – its your choice alone.
        Its never too late – while it is still called "Today" to look into this, and find out for yourself! Find out what this means – "I desire Mercy, no sacrifice" It speaks volumes!

        February 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Ay, Esu – I agree. Mathew 7:21 is the scariest verse in the Bible, in my opinion!

      February 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BibleLoveVerses

    interesting point – Its hard to to interpret Bible verses, King David and Jonathan is a nice example too – take a look at the book of Samuel 1,18,1
    Jonathan loves David in such a deep spiritual way...is it Gay? I don't think there is a clear answer of that, nice blog with all kinds of Love, Wisdom & encourage bible vereses quotes is bibleloveverses.com but none of these kind of sites actually target this interesting subject deeply.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. J

    Thank you for this, Mike. It's people like you who will keep religion alive into the future, instead of being left behind.

    February 11, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Collin

    I'm confused. Both articles, both for and against, are written by ministers from Christian religions. How is it possible that they both have such contradicting views? I just don't get it!

    February 10, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • EnjaySea

      Because some Christians are sophisticated, and intelligent, and use common sense and compassion to form opinions instead of looking them up in the Bible.

      February 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • travisell

        That's a pretty closed minded way of looking at it.

        Both ministers are concerned for people but their perspectives differ in that:
        1) One is more concerned for people's rights whereas the other's concern is what is right for people
        2) One is more concerned about the here and now whereas the other is more concerned about eternal matters
        3) One is more trying to fit the Bible into his context whereas the other is trying to fit his context into the Bible (as anyone who holds the Bible in such a high regard as the Word of God should do)

        Both raise fair points but they hold different things at different values (i.e. mans rights, body vs. soul, the Bible)

        February 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Huh?

        "soul, the Bible"

        That's why there are gay clergy, gay churches, gay christians, the other preacher is only justifying their personal prejudice and spreading hatred, which against the very soul of man.

        February 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • EnjaySea

        Travisell, I'll take on your list.

        1) What is right for people, is human rights.
        2) The here and now is where we are, now. If we don't worry about the here and now, then we've wasted our lives. The hereafter is, as yet, a story until proven otherwise.
        3) The Bible says that the Bible is the word of god. I can type something out that says it's the word of god too. That doesn't make it so. We should try to fit our ideas into the context of our lives on earth because all we have is the word of man.

        February 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hyhybt

        Travisell: you *do* understand, don't you, the difference between not caring what's good for people, what God wants, etc and simply *disagreeing with your position* about what's good for people, what God wants, and so on, right?

        February 11, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael J.

      What's also interesting to note is that NO other religions and no atheists or agnostics were included.

      February 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Haas Ceburn

    Yo, You must be gay and work at CNN as you've blocked all of my efforts to reply.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Yo!

      "Yo, You must be gay and work at CNN as you've blocked all of my efforts to reply."

      Typical Christian, lying is a sin!

      February 10, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Kleb

      *facepalm*

      February 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. venecia fulvi

    Dont know alot about life, only in high school, but if a gay couple wants to get married, and ridiculed, let them. If they are willing to go through all of the harrasment, going through everone calling them bad names, then let them. They wou;dnt do it unless they truely loved on another. It may go against the bible, and it may go against some relegions, and as a matter of fact, it goes against mine, but if hey want to lead themselves down the dark path that being gay brings, then why not let them. Their choice, their life, and god sees everything, and if god wants them to go to heaven, then he will make the choice. But we have no right to go out and protest to gay people, you guys are acting like you are flawless, and the gays are sins. You arent flawless, and you have no right to open your mouth agaist gays. If thats what they want and thats what they choose, then let them live their life.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • You Crazy

      I hope all your children are gay. Then maybe you will have some compassion and understanding.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Haas Ceburn

    It takes a repentant heart and a true relationship with God, according to the Bible, before the Holy Spirit can grant revelation of scripture. Archaeology, verifies that the Bible is an accurate history of human existence and all creatures to include dinosaurs. In the beginning he created them male and female and instructed them to be fruitful and multiply which is an impossibility in gay relationships concerning humans or animals. He created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Yes mating is scientifically for procreation even though some unhealthy humans and animals are sterile. The initial instruction of the creator was to be fruitful and multiply...ensuring the future continum of the species.

    February 10, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Yo!

      "Archaeology, verifies that the Bible is an accurate history of human existence and all creatures to include dinosaurs"

      The Smithsonian disagrees with you an has even stated the bible is a religious book but it is NOT a historical document.

      February 10, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Yo!

      "In the beginning he created them male and female and instructed them to be fruitful and multiply which is an impossibility in gay relationships concerning humans or animals."

      Gays and Lesbians do have children which is why they need to have the same civil rights as straights and the APA has stated that children raised by them are just as normal as children raised by straight couples. Oh and no the children don't come out gay from being raised by gays because being gay is not a choice, it's not a mental illness and it can't be voluntarily changed.

      February 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Ravensun

        Being gay is not a mental illness any more than brown hair and green eyes are physical defects.

        February 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • EnjaySea

      Look, if he actually believes that there was a literal couple named "Adam" and "Eve", then there's not much point trying to convince the guy of anything that isn't written in the Bible. Case rests.

      February 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • mbjrp36

      With only two mating humans their offspring would be sterile in at most 3 generations, and the rest would be horribly deformed. Sorry two persons does not make a genepool large enough to last.

      February 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hyhybt

      Archaeology (and, for that matter, geology and astronomy) show much of what's in the Old Testament to be untrue in the literal sense. That doesn't make it worthless! It does, though, mean that if those stories contain truth, that's not the type of truth they contain.

      February 11, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • what1ever

      Nothing in the bible has ever been verified by archaeology...

      February 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. KBR

    Compared to certain little things like water, electricity, farming and such, this issue is not important. Yet from the words for and againstg you would thing it is the end of the world.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SOMguy

    These for and against articles are pointless when one tells a wonderful story of love and how it becomes stifled by allowing an unnatural union to be recognized by the state; and the other comes from a strictly christian viewpoint almost bashing gays. If only the highlighted descent for gay marriage came from a secular viewpoints Americans would listen. Honestly marriage should be supported by the state between a man and a woman so the population can continue and so children can be raised with both male and female viewpoints becoming well-rounded humans. The fall of marriage began with "no-fault' divorce laws and is further weakened when states approve gay-marriage. By the way gays are citizens so they already have equal rights. Advocating gay rights or comparing this time to the 60's civil rights movement is just plain ignorant.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zee

      "By the way gays are citizens so they already have equal rights. Advocating gay rights or comparing this time to the 60's civil rights movement is just plain ignorant."

      The people themselves have the rights of citizens. Gay and lesbian couples do NOT have the same rights as legally married straight couples (in states in which gay marriage is not recognized legally). Do you understand the rights of married couples? They have access to specific programs for married people (student loan reductions, joint insurance, etc.) whereas gay people do not enjoy these same rights (again, only in states where it is not legalized). In short, get your facts before claiming a certain group of people are ignorant, as you will often wind up sounding ignorant yourself.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hyhybt

        Most people's real objections to gay marriage stem from their religious beliefs. It's helpful, then, to see both sides from the perspective of people of faith. At the very least, it breaks down the persistent lie that there are no such people on the pro-marriage side.

        February 11, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Yo!

      :By the way gays are citizens so they already have equal rights. Advocating gay rights or comparing this time to the 60's civil rights movement is just plain ignorant.:

      You're the ignorant one because gay couples DON'T have the same rights as straights. Here is a list of right they DON"T have.

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      February 10, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
      • SOMguy

        did i say "couples" naw i didn't. but did you realize that; no you didn't. and i am right they are so obviously trying to make this a comparison to the civil rights movement. I know what rights married couples posses which only adds to the reasoning for gay couples to not receive those. I mean once you allow gays to marry what stops anyone from marrying anything or even polygamy. I mean the main argument is "love is love." right? love is one thing allowing someone to benefit from the results of an unnatural union is another. its just not right please don't get wrapped up in the rhetoric of this our country will suffer as a result of gay marriage being allowed just look at places where it is accepted and try to find how it benefits society it may in minuscule ways but honestly it does nothing for the greater good of non-gays. keep things natural...
        please

        February 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • SOMguy

        did i say "couples" naw i didn't. but did you realize that; no you didn't. and i am right they are so obviously trying to make this a comparison to the civil rights movement. I know what rights married couples posses which only adds to the reasoning for gay couples to not receive those. I mean once you allow gays to marry what stops anyone from marrying anything or even polygamy. I mean the main argument is "love is love." right? love is one thing allowing someone to benefit from the results of an unnatural union is another. its just not right please don't get wrapped up in the rhetoric of this our country will suffer as a result of gay marriage being allowed just look at places where it is accepted and try to find how it benefits society it may in minuscule ways but honestly it does nothing for the greater good of non-gays. keep things natural...
        please

        kmkmkmkmkmkmkmkmkmkmkdfnkjrfhaurehfiueafhqpu

        February 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yo!

        "I know what rights married couples posses which only adds to the reasoning for gay couples to not receive those. I mean once you allow gays to marry what stops anyone from marrying anything or even polygamy. I mean the main argument is "love is love." right? love i"

        No it's not, it's why pedophiles and others are against the law, what you are not comprehending it has to do with two consenting adults. You're grasping at nonsense to justify your prejudice, nothing more. Your post proves you're clueless on this subject.

        February 13, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Yo!

        "but honestly it does nothing for the greater good of non-gays. keep things natural..."

        Again, your stupidity on this subject is showing. The experts have stated it's totally natural and normal because it has to do with what happens in the womb and the brain. Gay relationships is found in over 1500 other species, so it is totally natural. Only prejudice bigots hang onto the pathetic arguments you are making that aren't founded in real facts.

        February 13, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Russ

    CNN: glad to see two dissenting opinions posted.
    Hopefully next time you can get more knowledgable representatives for both sides.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ran

    What I don't understand is how poeple can quote the Bible and state that God is fine with a man marrying a man and a woman marrying a woman. Why did God say 'It is not good that man should be alone, let Us create a helper for him' and create woman. Why didn't God just create another man? He could have made the two men procreate? Or better yet, He could have made one man and one woman, then made a 'helper' man and woman each for the pair He initially created.
    Creation attests to the fact that a man should be with a woman and vice versa. God created man to compliment a woman and vice versa, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, spiritually. God intended man to be with woman because she has virtues he lacks and he those she lacks, he has needs only she can fulfill and hers can only be fulfilled by man. God created man and woman uniquely to compliment one another. And when they are united in marraige the bible says they become ONE. With one complimenting the other, with one filling the gaps and voids of the other, coming together, God can now see them as one. I don't think you can say the same for a union between two poeple of the same gender, Reverend. We can look at translations and meanings of some bible verses that have now been stated to be 'controversial' regarding the g a y relationships, which may just continue in argument after argument. BUT i don't think you'll ever be able to dispute the intent of God when He created man and woman. This is the original purpose. And since God is eternal and unchanging, His purpose has not changed since creation.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      "This is the original purpose. And since God is eternal and unchanging, His purpose has not changed since creation."

      The original writers of the bible never intended the beginning to be about sexual orientation. It was more about how God created earth. So guess what God created gay people too, modern science and psychology have said so, scroll down and read Erik's post. God stated in Verse 18: "It is not good for the man to be alone" (NIV). This shows the importance that God gives to committed relationships. For a heterosexual, the only suitable companion is a person of the opposite gender. For a homosexual individual, the only suitable companion is a person of the same gender. To say that gays and lesbians should not form committed relationships is to say that it is good for people to remain alone. This is a direct contradiction of God's statement; it implies that God is a liar.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom-ay

      Really, god unchanged? He USED to think women should not be able to vote, or have rights. He USED to think interracial relationships were wrong. He USED to think slavery was okay. He USED to think that Men and Women were perfect since they came from him–we all know how Adam and Eve ended. If he is fully omnipotent he would have had everything figured out already. Read a history book on any change in religion and you will see religion also eveolves through the ages. Including Christianity.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hyhybt

      God is unchanging. People are not. One of the things we do is to learn. Not only directly, but by taking in what others have learned. In short, we *know* more now, and therefore have no excuse for not applying that knowledge to our understanding of God and what he wants of us.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • redwings55

      Anyone ever think that creating people to be biologically gay might be God's way of helping with our overpopulation problem? Maybe He is providing a way for two people to be in a committed, loving relationship and build a home for the unwanted children of the world. If gays want to have their own biological child, they can, it's called SCIENCE. A lesbian can have a baby that shares her genetics and a gay man can use a surrogate and have a baby with his genetics. So, technically a gay person can be fruitful and multiply, your argument is invalid.

      And by your argument, should sterile people not be allowed to get married?

      February 10, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jeramiah

    So the black guy is the bigot and the white guy isn't. Thanks CNN.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Hyhybt

    A great article. I just wish those who most needed to read it were open to its message.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Russ

    He said: "I had long ago set aside some of the bible’s descriptions..."

    I wonder if he feels similarly about Jesus' resurrection from the dead?

    February 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  18. yeahalright

    According to all you people against gay people living their life when their orientation – heck call it a choice and be wrong, whatever – they're going to burn in hell for eternity anyway.

    Isn't knowing that good enough for you people?

    February 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Inis Magrath

      No - it is not good enough for these bigots to believe the gays are going to burn in hell for eternity anyway. They want them to burn right here tight now.

      They hate gay people so very very much - their hatred knows no bounds.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ran

        Christians are not called to hate. If in their overzealeousness or while trying to act righteous, some have hated the gay or lesbian community, then they are wrong and will be judged accordingly. However, we Christians are called to follow the instructions in the Bible. Hom.se.uality is a sin. There is no trying to go around that fact. Just like murder is a sin. BUT we don't hate the sinner.
        Also, we human beings Christian or not are not in a position to judge anyone. The ultimate judge is Jesus Christ, who is coming in all His glory to sit on His throne and judge the world. However, we are called to point out sin. This becomes more difficult in a world of modernization and so called democracy and equality. But if it says so in the Bible, then that's what we should be preaching.

        February 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Really?

        "Hom.se.uality is a sin."

        No it's not what is a sin is worshiping a pagan god using sex, male prostitution and idolatry. I bet you don't even know they added the world homosexual to Corinthians do you? Christ never condemn the saved loving partnership of a gay person. If they are in a relationship with God then the scriptures that are being used to say it is a sin DO NOT apply! Read carefully now what it's really saying. It's why there are now churches, clergy, pastors, rabbi's gong on record stating being gay is NOT a sin.

        February 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        "However, we are called to point out sin."

        Someone needs to read Matthew 7:3 again. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

        February 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • yeahalright

        Ran – essentially what you're doing is getting to judge and feel superior by proxy. Just be honest, you think you're better than gay people.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  19. Tim

    Going against the long ingrained belief system of the majority of Americans is a tough row to hoe. The best bet is to keep chiseling away at all organzied religion. Who do they think they are, anyway?

    February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. yeahalright

    Great piece, thank you.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Haas Ceburn

    Scientifically, it takes a man and woman to produce children and sustain human existence. I don't think gay marriage is what the creator intended for the survival of our species, so agree with the pastor. I don't believe that gay is a race of people like white, black, or brown but a perverted choice comparable to pedofilia.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Troll....

      how many times have you posted the same post today, and somehow managed to break the laws of physics by looking more like a bigot each time?

      February 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Haas Ceburn

        I feel the love Craig....I have the right to post my thoughts. Name callining isn't necessary.

        February 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael J.

      SCIENTIFICALLY, it takes sperm and an egg to produce children. This can be achieved in many ways. The point is that It doesn't take a marriage to produce children, and moreover, producing children is not a requirement of civil marriage. One point down. Sustaining human existence is not a problem...quite the opposite since the earth is overpopulated and studies project not having enough food to feed future generations. Two points down. No offense, (remember that sweet Carrie Prejean?), but what you think the Creator intended has no bearing on WA civil marriage law. Three points down. There are gay people of all races, so gay cannot be a race. Four points down. Your belief that gay is a perverted choice is only your belief and is not shared by many professional organizations. Five points down.
      Looks like everything in your post is nothing more than unfounded ignorance. The good news is that there is hope for you.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Darnell D

        "Stustaining human existence is not a problem" lol Such a silly thing to say. I don't really care what people choose to do in there private lives but some of you guys say the darndest things. We defiantly do need to procreate in order to continue the human race.

        February 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dean k.

        You and Haas are why these forums are such a waste of time. Your both so wrapped up in your opinions and thinking your so superior than everyone else its sad. Haas really, you compare gays to pedophilla, disgusting, thats what gives christians a bad rap people like you always judging when they shouldn't. Micheal, your rant I'm sure made you feel superior but for someone who believes in God it does matter what he intended. And I would like you to list the many professional organizations who believe its not a choice, though it doesn't matter. By the way Haas doesn't think gay is a race either, so your point made no sense., of course his point was equally stupid. Your comment on sustaining human race and over population, maybe if there weren't so many children conceived outside of marriage it would be better, but thats another arguement. Look I'm a christian that believes why shouldn't they have the right to marry? Its not my place to judge them. I'm thankful here in CA the courts struck down Prop. 8. I think we should try to understand both sides of the argument.

        February 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      but Haas, youre an idiot-which creator? Zues? in 100 years, population went form 1 billion to 7 billion-no chance of humans dying out-imbecile-thank God (teh real one if he exists) taht your kind is dyign off-please do so-quickly

      February 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Haas Ceburn

        Sure Norman, let's through old Haas under the bus.

        February 10, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
      • Haas Ceburn

        Correction "throw".

        February 10, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Judge not....

      February 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      I don't believe gays are a race of people, either. If you think they can't procreate you are correct. Why are you obsessed about it? So they won't have children (good, 7 billion people will procreate, I assure you). So you think they will go to hell. That is God's decision, not yours.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Mike Johnson

    There are a few things I dont understand.....1. How would hurt anyone if gays are allowed to marry? 2. what ever happened to seperation of church and state?? Why does feelings of certain groups get to dictate who I love and should be able to marry?

    February 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeahalright

      1. it absolutely doesn't
      2. It is under constant assault by religious zealots. Never stop defending it. Never underestimate them.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Rev. Marvin Eckfeldt

    "Amen" Mike.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  24. jane

    Jesus loved all the children of the world. As an adopted child, both in my family and in my church families over the years, I know the love and blessing of adoption. I know what it meant as a child to grow up wiht the security of having a family with committed parents who loved each other and the children they adopted–and to be welcomed into the church where we grew up. Now as an adult, I wish that all children (young and old) could share that joy of loving parent or parents, joy that is committed in family, and joy that is recognized as a whole family, legally, socially accepted and blessed by God. The last has always been there. Maybe we are starting to listen. Hurrah for Washington.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  25. CINCEO1

    One more thing.......lets clear this misconception up as well. Being gay is a LIFESTYLE CHOICE. It is not a genetic disorder (excluding hemaphrodites) and it is not a race, creed or ethnicity. So why are we making laws that favor a group of people for their lifestyle choices? If this is to be the case then we should all ban together and fight for the rights of all the other people who have made different lifestyle choices. What we have done (and what everyone fails to see) is put a lifestyle on a pedestal and exhatled it like it is moral and righteous.....but the truth is, its all about getting another term in office. Sickening

    February 9, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike Johnson

      How can you say it is a choice? Are you a doctor?

      February 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
      • ntm91307

        He probably isn't. And my guess is neither are you. Which means you can't prove he's wrong any more than he can prove he's right. I'll vote for his right to choose at this point.

        My 2 cents...

        February 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jl.morgan

      Um, actually religion is a lifestyle choice. Being gay is not.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      A lifestyle choice is like "I will own two Mercedes and a huge RV and a speed boat and I will travel the country." A lifestyle choice is like "I will have tattoos and listen to goth music and pierce my whole body." A lifestyle choice is like "I am a Muslim and I will cover myself from head to toe in this sheet and only peer out from a little window." A lifestyle choice is like going to Catholic Mass every Saturday night or Evangelical church every Sunday morning. There aren't laws that prevent two people in lifestyle choices from being married. If being gay is only a lifestyle choice. There still is no reason why they can't be married.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike Johnson

        Very well put Jason!!

        February 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Darnell D

        Im against the idea of a gay relationship but Im not against people having the freedom to choose to do what they want to. With that said, well put statement it really kills that whole its a "lifestyle" choice argument. I don't want government telling people who to be with. Thats crazy

        February 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • cb

      How would you know that is a choice unless you want to sleep with men but choose to sleep with woman instead?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • ntm91307

        Ridiculous accusation couched in an even more ridiculous question.

        Reset.

        My 2 cents...

        February 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick S.

      Regardless if being gay is a "lifestyle choice" which it is not... You know what IS a "lifestyle choice"? Religion. You CHOOSE to be Christian. You CHOOSE to be Jewish. You CHOOSE to be Muslim... And you know what? There are laws that protect those "lifestyle choices". You cannot descriminate against someone for their religion in work, housing, etc... In schools, students get excused absences for ALL religions holidays.... So before you make your case about how being gay is a choice (is not), and how because of that it should not be protected.... How about you are fired because you're a Christian and your boss is a Muslim... Do us all a favor, and keep your hateful opinions to yourself, it shows your ignorance....

      February 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Primewonk

      OK, let's try this again. Folks like you have posted that gays choose to be gay tens of thousands of times. Yey each and every time we ask you folks to supply the citations to peer-reviewed scientific research that supports that contention, you refuse. On the other hand – we've posted citations thousands of times showing the multivariate biological nature of orientation.

      Thousands and thousands of requests. And not once has a single solitart one of you posted a single solitary citation.

      Why?

      February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • ntm91307

        Probably because they're too busy laughing at you to be able to respond...:)

        Yes, certain studies have purported to have isolated the various chemical and/or genetic factors that control orientation. Even if we all stand resolute that it's true...they really have found all the right pieces to that puzzle that does NOT mean it's a flaw idiot! These very same experts (along with hundreds of thousands of others) can also tell you what combination of genes and chromosomes come together to make your eyes brown (personally I think it's because you're full of it, but hey...I'm no scientist) but that doesn't make brown eyes a defect that needs fixing or avoiding and it SURE as hell doesn't make it fodder for any self-righteous, "holier than thou" numb-nut the right to criticize or ostracize or offer "repair and/or redemption".

        Don't you have some socks to fold or some other WILDLY more important use in this world?

        My 2 cents...

        February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael J.

      That you post is a lifestyle choice. So far, it looks like you're not making intelligent, informed, rational choices in WHAT you post.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      youre obviously uneducated-most bigots are-so let me educate you-ALL psychologists-yes, every single one, agree taht being gay is at least PARTLY innate-understand that? it means natural born characteristics-you cant help who youre attarcetd to-now hurry up and die off-dont need haters liek you in this country

      February 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeahalright

      You ever been somewhere with a couple friends, and get to talking about hot girls. Invariably one will mention how he finds some girl super hot and his friend/s will say "yuck she's disgusting, you know who's hot, this other girl." And for whatever reason, you simply will not agree on who's attractive and who's not. Is that a choice?

      Gay people are no more "choosing" to be attracted to people of the same gender than the people in the example above are choosing which girl they're attracted to.

      Besides, aren't they going to burn in hell for ever and ever anyway? Why isn't that good enough for you.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      "Being gay is a LIFESTYLE CHOICE. It is not a genetic disorder "

      Being gay is not a choice. I hate to burst any bubbles, but science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website:
      "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

      This is not an issue in dispute. According to modern science: baby, you were born this way

      February 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • yeahalright

        Far too many facts. One fact is too many for these people. Bible said it so case – and mind – closed.

        February 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Why?

        In the Philippines there are many uneducated squatter people. That is also the hard truth.

        February 20, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      RELIGION is a choice. Being gay isn't. If it were, we'd choose something easier, less prone to folks like you who believe anything you don't personally value or think or feel must be wrong for not just you, but for everyone.

      If being gay is a lifestyle, at what point did you select the straight lifestyle, and after what kind of research?

      February 11, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
      • John

        And really, if god hates gays, why does he make so many of them?

        February 11, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  26. Woodland Wa

    Nicely said, Reverend.

    In my 20's, I had a wonderful partner. He had two successful businesses and was well liked in his small community near Mt St Helen's. He passed away about 20 years ago. I still think of him. Truly believe we would be together today.

    I'm glad WA State has decided on this, positively. I now live in the Bible Belt of TN. Probably, if I continue to live here, will never see the day to join a loved one here. There is currently a lunatic in our State legislator's trying to stir trouble in school teachings here. These type of people are the most dangerous as they propagate unwarranted fear and ignorance with the already ignorant.

    There is enough misery in this life, loving a person, supporting and caring relationships are what we all long for. I'm grateful to have had one, in Washington State.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  27. RevDana

    Terrific article – would only comment that the church teaches that marriage is all about lifelong love and commitment-while the government is usually only interested in marriage as a means of figuring out how to tax you or treat you in some legal sense. Personally, I prefer the church's emphasis and wonder if government has any legitimate role in deciding who should be able to marry – other than protecting the right of all people to marry.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  28. Ousman

    Love must be free. Congratulation!

    February 9, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  29. A Known Filipino

    Finally some person with some common sense!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  30. Kenneth Prahara

    Amazing article, Rev. Mike. I wish all Christians are like you

    February 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Dan Waldmann

    And not to be misunderstood - I meant "a gay person, let alone a straight person "

    February 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Dan Waldmann

    Thanks, Reverend. I have never heard a gay person express it so eloquently - "As he continued to talk, I began to hear more and more clearly that this wasn’t a confession about what he’d done, but a story about who he was." You are an amazing intuitive man, something that I am sure serves you well in your ministry.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |