“Is it possible to achieve a win-win on the issue of Same-Sex Marriage (SSM)? I think it’s not only possible, it’s imperative.
The recent success (and subsequent furor and church protests) overProposition 8 in otherwise reliably-liberal California shows just how divided we are over this issue. Want to start an argument? Bring up same-sex marriage and watch the sparks fly and the tempers rise.
Because, at least at this point, neither side seems willing to try to see the issue from the other’s perspective and look for something other than a binary, yes or no solution. And where will that lead us? Certainly no place good. Look for more protests of churches; more accusations that those who speak out in favor of the biblical understanding of marriage are “haters;” and fewer and fewer gay men and women even giving the gospel a hearing, because—in their minds—the church simply doesn’t care about them as people.
In order to avoid exacerbating this cultural war, some common-sense compromise is going to be necessary; each side is going to have to give up something for the sake of the other.”
…the state needs to get out of the “marriage” business. It should recognize that as long as it uses that term and continues to privilege certain types of relationships over others this issue is going to divide us as a nation and is only going to become more and more contentious. We need to move towards the system used in many European countries, where the state issues nothing but civil unions to anyone who wants them, and those who desire it may seek a marriage from the church. When I pastored in the Netherlands, couples got a civil union certificate at the courthouse and then had a marriage ceremony at the church. This division largely negated the culture war aspect, and allowed those churches who objected to same sex marriage on biblical grounds not only to opt out, but to be able to continue to teach their biblical view of marriage unchallenged by the state….
I think Bob lays out here the only realistic way to move forward on this issue. Even though I’m on the affirming side of the issue, I don’t begrudge those who have a traditional view and I don’t think they should be forced by law to alter their conviction. If we remove the government from the role of validating marriages, then we can allow any couple to attain a civil union while leaving marriage for the Church to sort out. Those churches who want to remain on the traditional side of the issue can do so and are protected under the law. And same-sex couples can find a church that is affirming of their relationship and be married. I can live with that. The most formidable obstacle I see with this approach is whether or not conservatives on the traditional side of the issue can get over being called bad names.
I would be curious to hear from the gay and lesbian readers how they feel about this.