Gay Marriage and the Moral High Ground

The debate about gay marriage took an interesting turn last week when the President of the United States said he supported it.  I think most people would agree that Mr. Obama is a very thoughtful and intelligent man.  Up to now, he has admitted his discomfort with the the idea of same sex marriage, and I believe that had he found a single valid legal or moral ground on which to legitimately oppose it, he would have done so.  But like everyone else, including those who vehemently oppose it, he could find none, beyond his own irrational and very human discomfort with the idea.  But, his resistance notwithstanding, what he and countless others in this county have come to realize is that the moral LOW ground is in creating laws to prevent it.  That’s because they seriously hurt people.

Real moral dilemmas have at their core the question of who gets hurt?  Abortion, for example, is a very contentious moral debate because, either way, there is a party who gets hurt — the fetus if you do it, and the mother who is forced to go to term when that is not her choice or in her best interest, if you don’t.   So, people legitimately take positions on the issue and do their best to argue it out.  That’s true moral discourse.

Making same sex marriage legal would hurt no one. Therefore it doesn’t count as a moral issue in my mind.  The only thing it asks us to do is to overcome our natural resistance to the idea that the term marriage might be applied to anyone regardless of gender.  The extent of our pain around it amounts to nothing more than our being willing to give up a long-held habit of mind.  That’s not moral discourse.  It is rigidity of mind and a lack of compassion.

Who would deny that slavery was the result of a long-held habit of mind among white Americans—that the negro race was inferior and sub-human and that they could legitimately be bought and sold as slaves?  Look how long that habit of mind endured, not just by a few bad people but by the vast majority, at least in the south.  Same thing with the Germans agreeing to exterminate the Jews.  How long would that have endured had the Germans won the war?

I have to ask my African American brothers and sisters who voted to ban same sex marriage on the grounds of what is in the Bible, if they were to find a reference in the Bible (written many hundreds of years ago and translated many times since it was written), that slavery is justifiable, would they be willing to be enslaved again on those grounds alone?  I doubt it.  Then why deny homosexuals the freedom that your ancestors fought so bravely for and that you enjoy today, simply because of what you read in the Bible?  Jesus taught us to love and accept each other, not to hurt others in defense of our own righteousness.

Today, when we look back at how we justified 200 years of slavery and Jim Crow discrimination against blacks, we are all deeply ashamed.  We cannot imagine, today, how people could have thought that that was OK.  I believe the children and grandchildren of all the people who have voted to ban gay marriage in all the states that have done so up to now, thereby depriving gay people of their civil rights and their freedom to be who they are, will carry the burden of shame on behalf of their parents in much the same way for many years to come.

88 thoughts on “Gay Marriage and the Moral High Ground

  1. Jane Besmehn

    Very well thought out article. I agree. The only place I don’t agree, and it isn’t that I don’t agree, but that struck me as a glaring omission, is mentioning slavery without acknowledging what was done to an entire race of people who occupied this continent before the coming of the Europeans. We carry a lot of cultural guilt from what was done by our ancestors and continues on to this day on the reservations and off. As far as gay marriage goes, they, we, are all human beings and the high moral ground would be to honor that and practice kindness, compassion, fairness, generosity, willingness to share and much more.

  2. Karla Phillips

    Phenomenal Message Colin, and eloquently expressed!
    I would like to share this with my network of friends on Facebook with your permission.
    Karla Phillips

  3. Yvette

    THANK-YOU for this provocative and clear commentary. I agree whole-heartedly and believe it takes great courage (which you have!) in today’s polarized climate to take a stand. Thank you for both writing and posting this!

  4. Nina Utigaard

    Your article regarding same sex marriage was very inspiring for me. Thank you for the respectful way in which you explained the evolution of other social issues and our seemingly innate need to control others or put them into boxes. The “pursuit of happiness” is a right we all have and when we provide openness to support this for others in our community, everyone wins.

  5. D Curtin

    Thank you, Colin, for this very thoughtful essay. If any of us be denied civil rights, it disempowers all of us. You may be preaching to the choir, but as I do know many African-American gay men and lesbians whose families do not accept them, it may still be a powerful issue among your readers. I just know that radical forgiveness asks each of us to forgive ourselves and one another, and to follow the only two commandments Jesus said were truly basic: Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. I am very grateful for your words and blog message.

  6. Holly Heilberg

    Thank you for your words of wisdom and compassion. At the core of this argument is the notion that homosexuality is a choice. This is like believing that being black is a choice, or having green eyes, or anything else that our biology chooses.

  7. thomas

    Colin, people can argue back and forth and try to convince the other person or party that they are right and you are wrong, as we all know you have not won anything debating except another enemy, an opinion is only truly changed when it is changed at the heart level for true lasting change, not an intellectual decision or arguement, for all it would take to change someones opinion is a better arguement, and a persons values change from moment to moment.
    So to try and convince you that human beings or any other animal was not designed by the creator to procreate that way nor have pleasure with one another either. It saddens me deeply when humanity agrees something is okay and all right to do because they are consenting adults and not hurting anyone.
    I will keep you in my prayers Colin.
    Remember, God loves a person no more or no less because of their chosen behavior, but the damage it does to ones heart is where the deceit comes in.
    My wish is you would ask God to show you His opinion on this.
    Love ya as I do all people

  8. Deborah Gibbs

    Dear Colin,
    I applaud you. A loving commitment between two consenting adults is beautiful. I have seen gay men who loved each other so strongly that it actually brought tears to my eyes We are in a country that divides religion and state. Let’s keep it that way.

    Deborah Gibbs
    Atlanta, GA

  9. Wendy Sailor

    I couldn’t agree more with what you say. I loved the logic of equating the current situation with slavery. Had thought about the topic for a long time…always coming to the conclusion if two people love one another why shouldn’t they be together (or even if they are marriages for legal and financial security) why is that any different for same sex unions than heterosexual unions. It seems such a waste of time and a generator of negative energy for this to even be an issue.

  10. Nico

    The argument that I hear from the African American crowd who are against gay marriage is that they are convinced that being gay is a choice where as being black is not and that is why they don’t see that the ban on gay marriage is the same as the ban on interracial marriage or slavery.

  11. Jill Hileman

    Beautiful post, and effective arguments as well. I am not aware of any time in which compassionate understanding and acceptance of differences would damage the sanctity and institution of marriage. It seems at times the humanity of the human race evolves in fits and starts, and it is damaging to our integrity when we look for reasons to exclude a group of human beings from the benefits of a society. I’m guessing there isn’t a clause in tax code that exempts gay people from having to pay their fair share. If we all have to follow the same laws and rules of a society, then we all should equally benefit from being a part of that society, which is why I do not think civil unions are enough of a concession.

    When a culture seeks to marginalize anything, it seems to be a sign that culture has a damaged set of priorities. Inclusion needs to be the goal before any real progress can take place.

  12. Cathy Blackburn

    Thank you, Colin, for your leadership on this issue. It is not easy to confront my own righteousness. I am reminded of a coach suggesting “give up being right – especially when you know you are.” In giving up being right, a space of love and peace arises, where anything is possible. On the gay marriage issue, I am sure I’m right that gay marriage is just fine and people should “live and let live.” And from that righteous space, I can make no difference with the people who disagree. The only way to make a difference is to forgive – give up being right – and have a conversation for what is possible.

  13. Patrice Dickey

    Thank you for this thoughtful commentary, way up there on the moral high ground! Also, thanks for tapping into the emotion that any formerly oppressed people might understand better. And don’t we ALL, pretty much, spring from formerly (or currently) oppressed people? One cannot overturn prejudiced objections with logic–only with emotion, so by tapping those deep emotions we can see how the formerly oppressed becomes the oppressor. It’s time to break the cycle. Thank you for all you do! XO, PD

  14. Irena Polkowska Rutenberg

    Colin Tipping. You did it again,
    As usual, the simplicity of your arguments, specially when you mention the Bible, is undeniable and just what this country needs right now.
    Irena Polkowska Rutenberg

  15. Sharon Wilkerson

    I agree that we human beings do create stories that can be false beliefs vs. truth.
    An abortion in the first trimester is ending a potential life not hurting a viable life. A moral dilemma is when we want to do one thing but consciously do not feel it is the right thing to do. When we have the strength of character to demand that we do what internally we know is the right thing we evolve into a morally mature individuals. The belief that we have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body is morally wrong. We are making a decision that do not involve what is truly the right thing for her but our judgment and then that child may not be given what is needed to become a morally functional adult. Children require a tremendous amount of love, time, attention and responsibility to guide them into healthy maturation. If more woman made conscious choices about bringing a child into this world we would all exist on a healthier planet. If you are concerned about valuing life, contribute to the needs of the children that woman have had, make it easier on woman to have children and abortion would not be such an issue. Put love into action and stop fearful judgments.

  16. Jennifer T. Grainger

    Hi Colin,
    I really agree with you and appreciate your pointing out that this is not a moral question. I had not thought of it that way. I also like how you pointed out the biblical passages that are ignored by those who quote the bible to back up their stand and brush off those that don’t.

    From a Radical Forgiveness point of view, how do we see that nothing bad/wrong is happening here?

  17. Yolanda

    Being raised in Catholic Schools, Baptist Churches, and attending a Christian University, my upbringing mandated that I oppose gay marriage. Being an African American woman with a post-graduate degree, I understand your reference to slavery and the ignorant justifications thereof based on biblical and other principals that go against the universal love written in our hearts — regardless of cultural, religious or other influences. I didn’t choose to have the experience of being gay in this life and don’t envy those who have chosen that as a means to experience separation in this life (I’ve chosen my fair share of opportunities to learn and grow). There is always the moral and legal question as to whether we can legislate morality. From my legal education and religious indoctrination, I don’t think that is our domain. Laws are to protect citizens and govern conduct that affects others. Gay marriages affect the couple and legitimizing it will not stop those who will judge the legal status as immoral. People are entitled to their opinions. It is there journey and it is an act of love, tolerance and understanding to allow each to follow their own path. There are already states and organizations that allow for status of “Registered Domestic Partners” which give rights that have traditionally been reserved for married couples. These distinctions do not raise taxes or impose any burden on society. So there is no benefit to society by disallowing legal legitimacy. Gay marriage may not be something from which I will personally benefit; likewise, it is not something that will personally affect me or others in any way. As such, let’s reserve judgment for those persons and their god and be more mindful of our own journeys… Live and let live!

  18. Georgia Feiste

    Colin, thank you for your wonderful blog supporting gay marriage. Here in Lincoln, NE, we are voting at 3pm to disallow discrimination in employment, housing and services for LGBT people. It has been an ugly discussion, with right-wing politicians weighing in from every direction, and Family Matters taking a stance as well. The Lincoln Independent Business Association also weighed in, stating that it needed to be put to the vote of the people…. I would love for every one of those people to read your blog. I’m sure that will not happen, even though I have sent the Link to our council man, but I would love for you to send your prayers and good thoughts our way.

    Blessings, Georgia

    1. Dennis Flynn

      Rejecting your religious belief and bias is not “bullying”.

      Preventing you from getting married, because we think your religious belief violates an arbitrary made-up “law of God”, would be bullying.

      That is the difference.

  19. jan brown

    thank you for expressing this so eloquently, Colin. Where is the moral high ground in judging others and making them wrong? One of the gifts I have given myself is the right to give up being “right” about anything. I extend the invitation to others to give themselves the same gift.
    I love you and the work you do. BTW, just experienced the 25th anniversary of Kandy’s murder on the 12th. What a gift she was and still is. How incredible to have taken full responsibility and never participated in the shame and blame game, no matter what others thought or wanted me to do. As you know, my healing has been continuous and long and arduous. But, so worth it! How free I feel today. Thank you for any part you played and continue to play in my healing, Colin.

  20. Veronica Banghart

    Thank you for your thoughtful words. I would like to copy and paste a portion of your comments on my facebook page. Please let me know it that would be all right.

    Thanks again!

  21. Lee

    The voice of reason is often ahead of its time, thank you for an insightful and practical commentary.

  22. Charlie Frangos

    Hey Colin,
    I agree with you on the social front that Obama’s acceptance of gay marriage is a giant step forward. Unfortunately, Obama’s economic policies have had the equal effect of enslaving us to mountains of debt and growing inflation. To be fair, Obama is just completing a trend that Washington has embraced since the 70’s (and even earlier!) and is political party neutral. Until we decide to live within our means and change our total path of empire building, foreign intervention, deterioriation of rights and liberties, we will start to really feel the effects with economic and supply chain disruptions. This will make riots in Greece and Spain look like a walk in the park! We are finally starting to look for foreign property in Central America. Next on the list is the elimination of capital punishment, stopping the imprisonment of non-violent drug addicts and the end of the Patriot Act! Hope you are well.

  23. Berte

    This is a wonderful, well thought out argument. Brilliant, dear Colin. Absolutely brilliant. Personally I must admit I’ve never understood the problem some have with gays – why is it a problem that people love each other? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the ones who spread hate, and try to help them find a different way of life, than being bothered by people who love each other? I’ve been met with arguments like “so men who love young girls, that’s ok too?” No, it’s not, because it’s not mutual. Gays who want to marry are adults, above the age of consent and choose their partners of their own free will. And like you point out, their getting married doesn’t hurt anybody.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently.

  24. Joy Joseph

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful and splendid article. It will go in my save file. May there be more and more people who look into their hearts about this issue and react with knowledge, not fear.

  25. Sara

    I just wanted to thank you for your words regarding gay marriage. Well said, thank you for promoting tolerance and love for all people.

  26. Celeste A. Frazier

    Dear Colin:

    I respect your column and your writing, but your last offering triggered something in me that I must express. I preface this with the fact that I am a gay woman. However, I am also African-American. In every “category” of my identification, I have not been in the acceptable category, and yet none of these things state who I am.

    When you chose the African-American community as the ones who should look to how they felt being marginalized when thinking about same-sex marriage, it felt like another abuse of the already abused. As much as I dislike many African-Americans’ homophobia, unless and until a non-Black person has experienced this kind of racial hatred, that person should first try to imagine themselves in that situation. Black men were castrated simply because of their race. Black families were torn apart in America just so that they could be used for laborers on different plantations. There is a whole dehumanizing that has occurred with this group of people while the oppressors have little sense of what effect that has on the Black race after hundreds of years. You can look at Jim Crow laws, but you can also look at high divorce rates, Black-on-Black crime and more as the effects of the dehumanization and the low value placed on their lives. Please ask the privileged, ever protected class what it might feel like. They will never know why there is even a thing called protected class because they never knew that we needed protection. But African Americans surely do know. And, like many who have been abused, Blacks as a people have not been taught how to respect life. Thank God, we have an innate sense of respect for life and that is the reason that we have not become extinct. We have taught America more about unconditional love than many Americans have been willing to learn. Please find another method to address the insensitivity. This one will not heal the pain that is already here. But if you as a Caucasian can find a way to relate to oppressed people that does not involve furthering the pain of those already oppressed, you may truly be the salvation of your own race. Peace and blessings, Celeste

  27. Maria

    Wow! Amazing insight, Colin! I’m quite sensitive to this subject, having been raised that homosexuality was wrong but then being blessed with raising a gay stepson. I love him dearly and he melted away those rigid thoughts you write about. But your comparison to slavery in the Bible touched me even more so, along with all else you say, to remind me that love and compassion is ultimately what is needed. Thank you!

  28. Leonore

    THANK YOU for such a thoughtful blog—hopefully it will be food for thought / seeds planted for those who have thought differently in the past.

    On another note . . . THANK YOU for all your work on Radical Forgiveness / Self-Forgiveness and Radical Manifestation. I am using the Radical Forgiveness worksheet regularly and I am seeing wonderful shifts in my life!

  29. Pat Marrone

    I agree with you 100%. You said it so very well and I thank you. We are so into practicing ONESS and all that it entails, we must use it in this situation of controversy, although I don’t understand why there would be any question to ponder. Many blessings to you Colin and all that you teach and practice. Pat

  30. Brenda Adelman

    Thank you Colin. As a former ‘straight’ woman who fell in love with another woman 11 years ago I know how unconscious even some ‘straight’ people who are supportive of gay friends can be when it comes to the issue of equal rights for marriage. I’m ashamed to admit that although I had many gay friends I truly didn’t even think about the fact that they weren’t treated equally when I was ‘straight.’ It’s disappointing that homophobia is so ingrained in the culture here that people who feel they aren’t bigots can actually at the same time deny equal rights to gay people. Just felt I needed to address this group. Your article is thoughtful, centered and steeped in Truth. Thank you for addressing equal rights for gays. It really does take the people who are not in the minority that is being oppressed to tip the scales with their courage. Blessings, Brenda

  31. Jan

    I’m a redneck Canadian. My country vote for gay marriage years ago. It was the right thing to do then and it’s the right thing to do now. I believe that being gay is like having blue eyes or freckles. You’re born that way and you won’t change no matter how hard you try. We don’t discriminate against freckles; that would be silly.

  32. Adele

    Thanks for your insights and I love your work; it is so helpful and cleansing! I am for marriage between loving souls and for the right to choose. To clarify one concept in your message, the fetus gets more than hurt. God help us because abortion is such a complex issue. Thanks again for your work!

  33. Randy

    I agree with your statement Colin of mindsets and beliefs. May we also look at it this way, we are spiritual beings a having a human experience where unconditional love is the order of the day …
    Now let me ask you this, if your in need of help and you called 911 does the operator ask you what your race, creed color or anything else before they dispatch help .
    Do you before ask the operator the same questions ?
    If the first responders show up wearing purple tights do you go back into the fire and wait for another color that appeals to you better NO
    When you get to the hospital and the doctor is Gay do you wait for another doctor to show up ?
    So why are we so concerned what people do with their private lives in regards to marriage ..maybe it is because we lack the true love within our hearts as you mentioned “Jesus taught us to love and accept each other, not to hurt others in defense of our own righteousness”
    Lets us remember that the source of light is of one color but when we put a prism between the light and our eyes we see all the colors of the rainbow just as we are in the universe and that what makes the world go round .

  34. Dinny Evans

    Great blog post! You “nailed it” Colin, with no reference to the Bible intended. Passing judgements on others can become quite a slippery slope. Love as always, Dinny

  35. Shel

    Thank you, Mr. Tipping, for a beautifully written and very thoughtful approach to a subject that is sensitive to so many. Many blessings to you!

  36. madhurima malladeb

    …. isnt all this a proof… that the collective consciousness of the planet is shifting… and we are moving towards a society that is freer n fuller!!!

  37. L Miller

    Having read your Bio I admire the work you have been doing in so many ways. After reading your entry on Gay marriage and the moral high ground I feel sadened by what I read. We have not yet seen the consequence of same sex marriage and children born into such relationships. This is not about civil rights at all and in fact completely ignores the rights of children to have both a father and a mother. Should gay marriage be legalised I believe we will see a new generation of people with deep identify issues.

  38. Sophia

    Thank you for this post. I appreciate it and I really want to share it with some of my friends on facebook who keep posting hurtful messages about this topic. Can you make that possible?

  39. Pauline

    Thank you so much for your views so beautifully put in writing. I knew in my heart how I felt but found it difficult to put it into words and give examples when discussing it with anyone. You have given me those words.

  40. Jenna

    I respect your opinion and thoughts Colin; however, I wholeheartedly disagree. I believe that marriage is ordained of God between a MAN and a WOMAN and that does not change with the flow of time or with a simple change of the mind. As time goes on, morals do not change, peoples attitudes and beliefs do change. And the core of real moral dilemmas are not based on “who gets hurt.” People will get hurt, when there is a action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There is a consequence for every action someone takes- to take that away is to take away agency. The core issue behind moral dilemmas is what God or our soul (our true and higher self) has to say about it. And God has made it clear- no matter how many translations there has been in the Bible- that cities have been destroyed because of homosexuality. There is an equal and opposite response to every action. And I believe that modern day revelation from God has continued to support that God does not change. And neither does HIS ways. The foundation of society is the FAMILY and when we dismantle the family we dismantle society. That affects me, that affects you and everyone on this planet. The purpose of the creation of man and women were to become united and create a whole, or therefore to become more like God. Two men and two women cannot create that whole no matter what you believe. To the body and to the spirit men and women are different and will forever be, and 2 women or 2 men cannot fulfill what 1 man+1woman fulfills. That is not to disrespect any homosexuals- it is just a law of the spirit that is unalterable. Now I believe that no matter what someone actions include that we must love and appreciate them AS A PERSON, however that does not mean that we must love the actions that they take. I know and love many people who choose homosexuality- however, I do not agree with their lifestyle and never will. And some may argue that they are not religious or do not believe in God and so this reasoning does not apply or agree to them. However, this is not an issue of religion, this is an issue of the soul. I take my stance on gay marriage not because my parents took the same stance, I take my stance because that is what I believe and know to be true. There is right and wrong and that does not change with the tide of society. Yes people may label me as unaccepting, or close minded- but that’s just what it is- a label. And it is more important to me to be true to the truths of God (and the universe) than care about the judgments that will be placed on me. I will forever stand for truth and righteousness in all times in all things and in all places.

    1. Dennis Flynn

      Morals do change. If they didn’t, Bible believers would still be stoning Sabbath breakers today.

      My own moral values have changed. I now find religious sanctimony much more morally repulsive and repugnant than gay marriage could ever be.

    2. Joshua Abraham

      I am sorry but how do you claim to know the truth of God assuming he even exists? If God is omnipotent as I am sure you believe he is, he would not have destroyed an entire city because they were practicing homosexuality, in fact, he would not be destroy at all. Secondly, the matter here is not religious, it is just whether same sex marriage should be legal, it is a completely political matter. Homosexuality does not harm anyone, and it should be legal! If the God you claim to believe in exists he would probably want people to have their free will so enforcing a law that will not let you marry a person of the same sex is stupid! If it is a sin, and there is indeed a hell, then it is the members of the LGBT community that will suffer not you!

  41. Bonnie

    Colin, thank you for your words. Somewhere, somehow, with love and light and knowing we are who we are and where we are as right and perfect, as a race – as a species – we need to come to the realization that if we peeled away our skin, we would all look the same. Love is love. That, to me, is what should be honoured. Sharing, caring, giving – all the things that we as a a people want, need and ask for, should be acknowledged and honoured every single day. It doesn’t matter what colour we are, what our faith base is, who we love, how we love. GOD is love, and we are the manifestation of God, every one of us. President Obama, in one of the interviews I saw, said his children were the ones who really opened his eyes. We need to see the world through the eyes of loving children, and accept, and give love with whole hearts. Thank you for the opportunity to express myself as a result of your words and thoughts.

  42. Jay May

    Well, Colin, since my message appears to have been taken off. It seems that you only keep comments that only agree with you. I think your Radical Forgiveness program is wonderful, but that doesn’t mean I have to share in your opinions on topics such as these. I apologize if my comment seemed negative, I was trying to give a different perspective; it’s not always about agreeing with everyone, but about standing up for your beliefs. We are all different and can be respectful to others without sharing their beliefs. Those who are against gay marriage have as much right to fight against it as those who believe in it and want it.
    I stand my ground that Jesus does love everyone, but does not agree with ALL the choices we make. As the popular song states, you’ve got to STAND for something or you’ll fall for anything.
    I will allow others to make their choices, just as I want to be allowed to make choices-that’s what it’s all about. We all suffer consequences for our choices whether they be good or bad consequences-that’s life!

  43. Maurice

    I guess if someone like me disagrees with a point made in Colin’s post, and replies using appropropriate language, then the reply is simply eliminated. I don’t see it. Shame on you.

    1. admin

      Look down the list and you’ll see other who disagreed. The only ones I chose to not approve used inappropriate language. I don’t recall yours, so I can’t comment. But I welcome fair debate and counter arguments.

  44. a opponent

    I so sorry!

    But, after 25 years of marriage, my now, exwife moved on to an alternative lifestyle, knowingly leaving behind two teenagers and a broken home.
    The president, will perhaps never live this experience and so i say this.
    ” by what measure in his world does he live by, ?

    1. admin

      Seems to me, irrespective of his politics and his color, he’s a great family man and a compassionate caring individual. How about you?

  45. Amber

    Its interesting to see different points of view. My mother who is on this path of consciousness still finds it hard to accept it, whereas I find absolutely nothing “wrong” about it. I honestly think its generational. I find that many of my younger peers have no problem with it-not unless they were raised under a strong religious background where they still have a lot of beliefs that spring from it (catholic, baptist, ect). I am African American, so this is a hot topic in my community. I hear many arguments. One, that being gay is a choice-which is an assumption. How could you know that for sure? I’ve known a few gay people and they always felt that attraction, even at a young age. Also, despite my open mind, I am a woman that’s only attracted to men. Could it be that some souls came forth to be exactly as they are? To transcend this duality? -To transcend this disapproval and refusal to love people as they are. To release every belief, opinion, assumption that separates us on this earthly plain and to know ourselves as we truly are: infinite love? Or two, the bible states against it. I was raised as a Christian and found myself confused with the message. Later, my mother joined a new thought church, which may have contributed to my openness. What amazed me were the many missed interpretations of the bible from the original King James. Also, how we found that a great many people in that day sought control (like the government, only then it was the church), where their thoughts and opinions were magically inserted in the sacred text, when the main message was unconditional love. From my observation, I really feel that this is a fight for survival. If everyone is “allowed” to marry the same sex, what happens to us as beings? Survival is of the ego. The ego doesn’t know that its more than this time-space reality. Or it knows it intellectually, but cant “feel” it. It doesn’t know that its not this body and flesh it so cherishes or these morals and beliefs its been taught to accept. So really, this is an “egoic” debate and when people are seeing through the eyes of the ego, where is the truth and love in that? We even made an “egoic” God that loves us one day and disapproves of us the next-which slightly resembles a bi-polar disorder–but they will still hold on to the idea of an “all” loving God. Confusion is of the ego. A God that creates and “knows all”; however, is prepared to create you to send you to hell. The ego thinks and cant find that Love through its thoughts, but if people can begin to view it from their hearts, I think they will begin to evolve. I think they will find their way back “home”. I see my mom and accept and understand her, knowing that the way she feels is simply a belief. A belief she still struggles to get around. However, all is well and she will, because there is no mistake in the timing of this. Evolution is constant. Change is inevitable.

  46. Dennis Flynn

    Thank you, Colin.

    I spent many years in the bondage of religious fundamentalism until I recognized it for the fear-based fraud it is. My change of heart was gradual but cemented by the birth of my daughter.

    In her, I recognized the power and potential of unconditional love. There is nothing that would ever cause me to withdraw or withhold my love from her. Especially a selective “sin” pulled from some ancient religious text of questionable origin.

    That unconditional love, I realized, can only come from God.

    Anything less than that comes from a god that doesn’t exist.

  47. Candace Cable

    Hi Colin I hope you are well and thank you for your words. I agree that people should have the choice and the “legal legitimacy. I do disagree with the person that wrote this in her response, “So there is no benefit to society by disallowing legal legitimacy. Gay marriage may not be something from which I will personally benefit; likewise, it is not something that will personally affect me or others in any way. ” There will be a benefit to all people. We will gain great leaps toward tolerance and inclusion in this country and this world which will create massive growth of our heart energy. I have used a wheelchair for mobility for 36 years and have experienced much exclusion and many superstitions based on old beliefs. When we understand that when one goes forward we all go forward we all will a much bigger way then ever imagined. On another note there is a way of speaking that is all the rage now. It’s called “people first” speaking the person first creates the focus on the person not the characteristic, so it would be person who is gay or person in a wheelchair and not gay person or wheelchair bound person. I wish you many blessings, Colin in joy, Candace

  48. Amy

    I really appreciate this article you’ve written – you made a great point, and from a unique perspective that I hadn’t considered before, so it was very interesting to me. I couldn’t agree more with you on this, and even more so with your follow-up post. Even though I completely disagree with some of the responses I’ve read here, I also appreciate everyone who commented because I think we can all learn from each other.
    OK, I have a lot to say….

    Just to be clear, and honest…sometimes it’s impossible for me to imagine how anyone could argue for banning gay marriage, effectively denying an entire sector of people the civil rights guaranteed to EVERYONE by the Constitution, whether you agree with the “lifestyle” or not. Obviously discrimination is a global/human issue, not just a US/gay American issue, but it’s actually in this narrow context that I’ve had the hardest time understanding the “other side’s” point.
    In the same way that morality is not derived from religion, the law in this country is explicitly separated from religion, and therefore any argument against gay marriage based solely on religious doctrine is invalid and has no place in a discussion about legal rights. I think the law at it’s very best consists of “good moral values,” – just like we would hope for religion to include, as well – but it’s not realistic to assume that one has anything to do with the other. There would be way too much room for differing human (aka flawed) interpretations, and nothing to protect against injustice if the purpose of our legal system was to be good and moral….we hope for that outcome, but that’s not the point of it.
    The laws in this country exist to protect the rights of the minority against the rule of the majority. It’s so simple. And looking at just the legal aspect, which is the only thing that should matter regarding the issue of gay rights, any reasoning that opposes gay marriage can be eliminated completely. It’s unconstitutional to deny anyone their civil rights, which means it’s unconstitutional to ban gay marriage…whether you agree or not, whether you think your God agrees or not. It’s un-American to even be voting on civil rights issues in the first place – it’s not up to the people to decide who gets to participate in the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness part…it’s guaranteed to everyone. I know the DOMA/gay marriage ban is a losing battle because it’s legally ridiculous, and I fully expect the Supreme Court to overturn every ban on gay marriage simply on this basis; that while states have the right to govern themselves in pursuance of US laws(!!!), the Constitution is the law of the land, and states do not have the right or authority to deny any citizen their federal rights.
    I know that the “fight” is just the nature of progress, and it’s all good, even when it feels slow and frustrating. But honestly, it’s exhausting to me that this argument has complicated something so simple.

    The “soul”/”spiritual”/”Jesus” etc. side of the issue, while very interesting and worthy of debate, has nothing to do with civil rights. The only way I can resolve the tension of 2 very conflicting opinions regarding the morality of homosexuality is to try to consider that the people who believe being gay is a choice or that it’s a sin, immoral, hated by God etc., must feel just as strongly convicted by their beliefs as I feel by mine. And as much as I pray that we all continuously experience spiritual growth, and along with that – greater peace, and compassion, and acceptance of others, and capacity to love -I don’t expect that we will all easily come to a agreement about tense issues involving tightly held beliefs. I hope to become more understanding, tolerant, and accepting of those who believe that there is something wrong with homosexuality (…but, again, my own personal beliefs and moral compass shouldn’t be considered when it comes to gay marriage).
    I can say from my experience of the Holy Spirit in my life, and what I know about the life of Jesus, I tend to believe that anything that is not love, isn’t God. I don’t know much, but I feel pretty sure about that. I think the Bible is an amazing resource, and it’s a great attempt to explain an unexplainable God in the form of words – but I don’t think the Bible IS God. How can we say with 100% certainty what God thinks? God never showed me the guest list to heaven so I don’t know for sure whether or not he’s decided that gay people are too disgusting to get in….thankfully that’s not our problem to worry about. And I don’t pretend to understand all the contradictions and varying interpretations of the Bible because there are no definitive answers to put any of it to rest, and making somebody right and somebody else wrong seems like a movement further away from the truth of God than closer to it. At the core, Jesus preached about love, and he loved everyone without judgment.
    I think Radical Forgiveness has an amazing application here, and anywhere else we find ourselves excluding or judging other people, and separating ourselves from each other by our beliefs. With greater self-acceptance and compassion for everyone, ultimately the concept of whether homosexuality is right or wrong, or if every verse of the Bible defines God accurately, or whose version of morality is best for everyone – it all becomes irrelevant. Freedom to live your own truth, whatever that it, is the birth right of everyone. There’s only one life force within all things, who ever you believe did or didn’t create it…we are all the same.

  49. Geri

    Beautifully written article Colin, and fabulous comparison used.

    I love the way that you put forward the point that many people use the bible as reference as to whether or not certain practices are ‘moral’. You quite rightly point out that the bible was written many centuries ago as well as being translated many times. I would like to add to this point and say that first of all, many people do not seem to realize that God didn’t actually write the bible and that it didn’t suddenly materialize in its current form magically!! It is a very human book. It was written by men, mostly it is by men giving their perspective on experiences. In addition, since there were no printing presses back then, each copy was made by scribes, and as most humans realize, there is such a thing as human error. There is also such a thing as human opinion, and scribes were quite able to change words, sentences and stories at will, if they did not agree with what they were copying, or simply to make it say what they believed it ‘should’ say. How can we possibly know what the authors actually wrote since there are no original copies??
    Since childhood, when I was brought up in the Church of England, I questioned who wrote the bible, and suspected ‘it was all made up’ by someone. Well, perhaps it is not all made up, but I do now truly believe that although there is a lot of great guidence in the bible, and fabulous stories about Jesus and all the things he taught his followers, that we do not have to live by this book and it’s information. We are all intelligent beings and we know what is right and what is wrong – we know what hurts others emotionally and physically, and what does not. Basing decisions on what was written by certain men hundreds and hundreds of years ago is simply ridiculous!! Let’s live and let live and stop judging others.
    A great book ‘Misquoting Jesus’ by Bart Ehrman, extensively researched by the author, is a great place to start when looking to understand the history of the bible.

  50. D'Marie Mulattieri

    Support a New Equal Rights Amendment prohibiting the US and states from denying or abridging equal rights under the law on account of sex OR sexual orientation. We can do this! The ERA passed by Congress in 1972 was only 3 states short for ratification. We can now protect against sex discrimination AND discrimination against members of the LGBT community. Please SIGN AND SHARE.

  51. John

    In the UK most people have had absolutely no problem with gay people entering into civil partnerships, which over here accord them precisely the same legal rights as within a Marriage. It was long overdue and welcomed in most quarters, within a modern civilised society. So i don’t understand the comments about gays not having the same civil rights unless they marry. Are ‘civil rights’ in the US different from those in the UK? Marriage, however, is between a Man and a Woman with an expressly implied purpose of procreation and perpetuation of the human race. It is undeniable that this is the natural order of life, regardless of religious creeds. Marriage celebrates the coming together of man and a woman with the undeniable natural prospect of issue to follow and a future life. ‘Hence, by definition, with no prospect of procreation, the joining together of gay people cannot be a Marriage. I do not believe this diminishes the value of gay relationships. It simply diminishes procreation, which is a major part of the purpose of marriage. Thankfully, gay people now have the same rights here as heterosexual people, but, like any ‘club’, you have to qualify to join. Perhaps gay people can try to accept that they are actually different from heterosexual people. At least in one way. Is is too much to ask? If so, why?

    1. Amy

      What does procreation have to do with marriage? Can you not procreate outside of marriage? And what if you want to get married but don’t even want to have to kids? Or what about when an 80-something year old heterosexual couple gets married?…clearly they don’t have a shot at procreation. My aunt and uncle got married and fully intended to have children but suffered years and years of infertility before using donor eggs and in-vitro fertilization to conceive. Should I call their relationship a civil union? And couples can “procreate” too, by the way – a lot of times by using the same means as my aunt and uncle. 
      I think this procreation-based definition of marriage is antiquated, and it excludes way too many people, gay or straight, to even make sense. 
      Also, in the US, contrary to the current same-sex marriage situation, “separate but not equal” is not equal. If that wasn’t enough, which it should be, we’re not even just talking about “civil unions” with the same legal rights as marriage vs. “marriage.” And obviously civil unions mean something different in the UK than they do here. In the US, a civil unions is a state granted legal status, and in some states it is meant to provide the same rights as marriage, but only on a state level. So they do not provide federal protections, nor the power and dignity unique to the classification of “marriage.” This means they aren’t portable – you could be legally married in one state but in any state with bans against same-sex marriage, your marriage or “union” would be unrecognized (so don’t get into an accident in one of those states Bc the hospital can’t deal with your spouse). There are more than 1,000 other federal benefits and protections awarded to married couples that “civil-unioned” couples do not receive. Civil unions are a disaster for tax code purposes and any other family benefit issues like pension plans and provisions of insurance, because they aren’t respected federally and differ so much from state-to-state. Civil unions don’t fit in any of the “please check one boxes” as either single, married, divorced, or widowed so even just filling out forms in the giant bureaucratic labryth of our society is a problem when companies can deny/reject/prosecute anyone for any information that could even be considered fraudulent. 
      So it really is, in the US, a serious civil rights issue. 
      And the whole idea of trying to define the purpose of marriage is just too subjective and personal. I already have the right to get married just because I happened to be born heterosexual, but I don’t want anyone else telling me the purpose of my marriage. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business. 
      Basically, I just think, why reinvent the wheel? Marriage has already been legally established, instead of complicating it so much, just allow for it to include same-sex marriages. And if you don’t believe in gay marriage then just don’t get gay married.

  52. Gay Purpura

    What an excellent response and distinction between religion and ethics.
    much love, Gay

  53. Mark

    There is no argument and I absolutely agree that all individuals regardless of their sexual preference should not be discriminated against and should enjoy the same legal and constitutional rights.

    However, I am and I believe that the biggest majority of the Heterosexual community (especially the Religious Right) are indeed tolerant of Gay’s and do not want to deny the Gay’s legal rights. They do however have problems with them using the term “Married”, “Marry”, “Marriage”. I am single now, but was Married to a wonderful Woman who has since passed, and we held our “Marriage” extraordinary and sacred (no religious context here). I feel that Gay’s using the term “Marriage” demines the meaning of Marriage. It would be no different if an individual wanted to “Marry” a Sheep or a Chimpanzee! It is also no different than people referring to me as Gay, this is not who I am!

    Why doesn’t the Gay community come up with new “Term” (that could be used as a noun, verb and adjective) to describe their “Union” that would replace the word “Marriage”? I believe most people including the Religious Right would understand and accept this. The new “Term” would be extraordinary and sacred to the Gay’s, carrying the same technical meaning as Marriage, along with all the legal rights that Marriage offers. The new “Term” could then be presented to the Congress attaching all legal rights as Marriage. I believe that it would have an excellent chance of being passed not only by the Federal Government but by all States because no one would object because they are not using the term “Marriage”. Again, this new “Term” would give Gay’s the exact same rights that Married people enjoy.

    If Gay’s are afraid of “Labels” that would define who they are, this doesn’t make sense. We all have “Labels” and the Gay community already uses “Labels” that defines and separate them, Gay being one of them!

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  55. Serene

    Dear Colin,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful and well reasoned post. It breaks my heart that people continue to discriminate against others based on their sexuality – out of fear, out of ignorance, out of a misguided notion that they are “right”, or have the right to decide how someone else should live, or judge who is worthy of love and of having their love recognised. I totally agree that this is not a moral dilemma. Two people who love each other and want to commit to each other don’t hurt anyone else. It affects no one else. It doesn’t take anything away from anyone else. It doesn’t stop anyone else being able to marry if they want to. And gay couples may or may not want to marry anyway, but they should definitely have the right to do so, the same right I had to marry the person I love. Me being married affects no one else, so why would two of my friends who are gay being married affect anyone else? It doesn’t.
    It upsets me when people insist that it is a choice to be gay. No one would choose to be disowned by their family… to be persecuted and harassed at home and at work… to be denied basic human rights that others take for granted… to be told they are wrong, evil, not good enough… to be denied the chance to tell the person they love how much they mean to them and make a legal commitment to them.
    To those who question the effect of having gay parents, several studies have actually found that children of gay parents do better at school and equally well in life as anyone with straight parents. You can read a very moving article from some of these children here: Love is the most essential element of parenting, whether you are brought up by a single parent, adoptive parent, step parent, gay parent or straight parent(s), and love is by no means restricted only to the latter. (Maria, your love and acceptance of your stepson is beautiful and sadly all too rare. I honour you for having the courage to follow your heart despite what you’d been brought up to believe. It is so frustrating that so many religious people cherry pick the bits of the Bible they will follow, and discard the rest. We have evolved enough to recognise that slavery is wrong, that stoning people to death is wrong, that selling your daughter into slavery is wrong, despite what it says in the Bible. This seems to be the one last thing people won’t let go of…)
    I am so happy that the American President has evolved his thinking, and spoken in support of marriage equality. Not because he has vowed to actually make it happen (he hasn’t, as he sees it as a matter for the States), but because his words, and his acceptance, have the potential to save lives. Too many people who are gay are driven to suicide by the constant message that they are wrong, that they are less than, that they deserve to die. Too many parents still reject their children for being gay because society has told them that they should. Mr Obama’s recent comments may not change the legislation, but they will go a long way to changing attitudes, to telling people it is okay to be themselves, to love and be loved, and that one day (soon I hope), we will no longer be judged on our sexuality, our race, our gender or anything else but who we are inside, and that equality applies to all people.
    Thank you so much Colin for helping to open a few minds, and for adding your voice to the call for love and equality.

  56. Joshua Abraham

    I really like your blog post Collin and agree completely with what you said! I just want add that most of the religious people who want gay marriage banned, again because of their religious beliefs are people who believe in a God that believes in the existence if free will. God himself, assuming he exists would want people to do things not out of fear but of love, which is deemed one of the most blessed virtues by the bible. Even assuming that God is an old man with a book of accounts, it is the gay people that will have to answer to him and no one else, and therefore not allowing same sex marriage in the name of religion is absurd! Especially when the decision is a political one and the country is a secular one!

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  58. John

    I hope that my comments will not be altered, shortened, or taken off after ‘awaiting moderation’. It is vital that those who are against the aberration of gay ‘marriage’ are allowed to say so without hesitation, and without fear of any any kind of censorship. One of the greatest problems today is ‘political correctness’- which has cowed the majority to the point where they feel they will be wilfully branded by minority groups and those who support them. As a result of this, minority groups continue to play their sympathy cards with an ever increasing fanfare of trumpets and false allegations. Whether in public or private life, it is time for the silent majority to speak out. We can and should be different, accept our differences and love one another. Thankfully, gay people have made great strides in modern times, so have disabled people, and many other minority groups of people. Minority groups need to now just stop pretending that we are all the same, or that we all have the same entitlements. We are not all the same, nor should we be treated as such. I have a great relationship with and love my mother, my father, my brother, my sister, none of whom i can Marry. There are others i am not allowed to Marry. So loving someone and developing a great relationship with them does not qualify you to Marry them. Just as being disabled means there are certain types of career which the disbled person may not qualify for. Gay people have no prospect of family creation, that grand design and natural purpose of life, hence they do not qualify for Marriage. Civil Partnerships give them equal status and protection in the eyes of the law. With the world in it’s present parlous state, supporting gay marriage is one of the least important matters to be addressing right now. Those who are engaged in it at the present time are doing so for their own cause- be it political or commercial.

  59. Sue

    Thank you Colin, for the wonderful blog. When 2 people love each other, they should be able to be together, to get married, raise children. When the children see the love & respect the parents show for them and each other, it teaches them to do the same. So whether the parents are male, female, 2 males, 2 females, black, yellow, purple or blue, it doesn’t matter. What does is having the love, compassion, and respect for one another. You go Colin!

  60. Lee Stevens

    What I am about to say some might find a bit controversial, hopefully it will provoke thought. I am responding to bits and pieces of Colin’s writings in both this blog and his latest email messages. I read Colin’s first book about 10 years ago and it started a great transformation of my life, I must say a much needed transformation, and to this day and for me, it is the best book ever written.
    I think the problem with most mainstream religions is that they try to create a literal interpretation of a spiritual writing. Which in turn creates this culture of right vs. wrong or someone is better than another. If we truly believe that there is infinite supply and that God is good and omnipotent then how can we stand in the face of judgment towards another? We must look deeper than face value on the situations put before us.
    Fairness and morality are judgments as these experiences are different for each person, although many may share the same judgment they are judgments none the less. As in Radical Forgiveness in the beginning the events were seen as not fair or unjust but as in the end the experiences were great teachings and experiences that help us grow, there is a greater reason for everything. When we feel discriminated against or we think that something is not fair then that is a calling for us to grow personally or do something greater with the experience. Not to tear someone else down or make them pay because they have more stuff and or appear to have it better than another. Resistance is pain and there is a reason for the pain, our job is to figure that out and do something with it. That something could be many things like, acceptance, forgiveness, growing, learning, teaching, letting go of the past no matter how traumatic or horrible the experience, etc……..
    Homosexual Marriage / Civil Union, does it really matter what you call it? As long as the two people are united in their commitment to each other then what difference does the title really make? I am heterosexual but in this day in time I think that homosexual people are the most discriminated against group of citizens and they should be allowed to legally unite.
    Racism, you think or feel that someone is better or worse than you because of the color of their skin, this of course a judgment. As long as you look at another and see the color or divide yourself from another because of their color then there will always be racism. This is terrible and such a waste.
    Love, being married and divorced 3 time before I was 30 years old kind of made me think that I really didn’t know what this was or what it was about. That started a quest to find out what this “Love” thing was really all about. After a lot of research, study and different experiences I found that in my youth what I thought was love really wasn’t love at all. In fact most people in this society really don’t know what Love really is. Believe it or not True Love has nothing to do with emotion or feelings. If you love yourself, I hope everyone does, all relationships should have boundaries; notice I said boundaries not walls. There is no such thing as unconditional love or at least what most people think is unconditional love. This subject is something that everyone should truly explore.
    Self Esteem, Caroline Myss in one of her teachings talks about how self-esteem is or the lack of it is an epidemic and if you look at the reasons for many of the decisions that people make you have to agree that the lack of self- esteem is the basis for many issues in this country and the world. This is an extreme problem that we as a people need to overcome, it will resolve the duality that we find ourselves in.

  61. John

    Gays (above), are the most discriminated against group in the world?? I think not. Here in the UK only last year reports stated that there were over 20 instances where grandparents over the age of 60 were denied the opportunity to raise their own grandchildren in favour of gay applicants. Apart from these examples being just a touch galling to the children’s grandparents and family, other examples show how world famous gay applicants who were over the age of 60 succeeded in acquiring a child. (no prizes for guessing who).

    This is the same kind of systematic discrimination that is taking place at airports in the UK right now. That is, we now have systems in place which are scared of being called ‘racist’, or ‘homophobic’ etc., etc: at the airports the system must single out a large number of (usually caucasian) holidaymakers for strip and search routines simply for effect, when the real target they have already positively identified belongs to a dodgy minority group. It’s done to avoid being labelled as discriminatory.

    In fact, the fear of upsetting minority groups is so great, and the ensuing political correctness so damaging, that the silent majority are nowadays cowed into submission.

    You think that people fought in wars to preserve freedom of speeech? You think you can have your viewpoint and express it freely? Not any more, because too many people today will tell you they are offended!

    Well, what’s wrong with being offended? Be offended. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Better than going around whispering and game playing in a climate of fear which is where we are today with the twin terrors of Political Correctness and Human Rights issues.

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