If you follow the news related to the removal of bans on same-sex marriage, you should be watching the events playing out in Utah. That is because the same series of events may happen in Michigan in just a few weeks. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Judge Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan will hear arguments in a court case regarding adoption and marriage equality in Michigan. The judge may deliver his ruling that same day. One of the possible outcomes is that the judge will rule Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional, opening a window for a wave of same-gender marriages in the days following the ruling.
Equality Michigan is maintaining a database of clergy who will be available to perform marriages. At this point, I am the only minister in Midland on the list, and one of only four in Mid-Michigan. The anticipation of the joy I feel for that day cannot be measured.
Now, if the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage still sends you into a tizzy, let me challenge your thinking.
1. Legalizing marriage between partners of the same sex does absolutely NOTHING to hurt marriages between straight people. Those who argue for the “sanctity” of marriage should look to the real factors destroying the institution of marriage in this country, such as infidelity, domestic violence, income inequality, and the lack of necessary health care and family support services. And if you argue that marriage is only intended to support procreation, then why not ban marriages of infertile couples, the elderly, or those choosing to remain childless?
2. The fact that the ban in Michigan arose from a voter referendum is of ZERO relevance. A basic human right is exactly that – an inalienable right – and cannot be “voted” on by anyone. Two consenting adults committed to each other and bound in love have the basic human right to have their union recognized and respected. They deserve the same rights as married heterosexual couples.
3. Keeping gay people from marrying IS discrimination. Hundreds of laws make life extremely difficult for people whose partnerships are not recognized by governments. These exclusions are cruel, punitive, and inhuman, and they serve no social good.
4. The Bible contains nothing barring loving couples from joining in marriage. You don’t get to pick and choose from Leviticus unless you are willing to adopt ALL of its laws (no shellfish or meat cooked rare, no mixing of cloths, no tattoos or shaving, and hundreds of other common modern practices). Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed for allowing gays to marry. They were destroyed because they threatened the violent gang rape of strangers. And Paul was talking about depravity in general – not committed relationships between loving partners who wished to join in marriage.
5. Research shows conclusively that children reared by same-sex couples fare just as well as those raised by different-sex couples. And if you still think that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, then you need to read the scientific research before forcing your uninformed opinion on others.
If you are a gay or lesbian couple looking forward to getting married in Michigan, get ready. If Judge Friedman rules in our favor, the window of opportunity may indeed be short. The Midland County Clerk’s Office is prepared to offer licenses, and I would be thrilled to officiate at your ceremony!