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Marriage vote requires careful thought

May 23, 2012
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

The article on (Monday's) front page, "For gay marriage opponents, moments shape minds" was quite interesting, even if it was rather one-sided. Let's take a moment to review some of the reasons given for being opposed to gay marriage. John Tolo, for example, is opposed to gay marriage because of his personal experiences with "drug use and multiple sexual partners." Am I missing something? What do John Tolo's poor life choices have to do with gays and lesbians getting married? Tolo continues by emphasizing the importance of having both a mother and a father in the house, but this is a much better argument against single parenting than gay marriage, which may not involve parenting at all. Will Tolo want us to ban single parents next?

Let's turn to Jennifer Cockerham, who also opposes gay marriage. She argues that tornadoes and other cataclysms are evidence that "God disapproves of the way Americans are living." It's unclear how she knows that tornadoes are caused by gay relationships and not, say reality television, but she seems convinced. Cockerham, who is a nurse, also described a personal experience in which a gay man attempted suicide after a fight with his lover. She felt that his self-destructive lifestyle had led him to this terrible situation. Apparently, she has never treated a heterosexual suicide attempt, but isn't it true that straight people also have difficult, troubled lives? She seemed to have no trouble blaming the man's sexual orientation.

These are pretty flimsy arguments. Of course, the real reason John Tolo and Jennifer Cockerham oppose gay marriage is obvious, and they even tell us what it is in the article. They believe that God and the Bible are opposed to homosexuality, and that legitimizing it through marriage is an offense against Christianity. Tolo even suggests that this is like the government trying to "rewrite the Bible." Cockerham said that gay people made her feel "uncomfortable" and that they "needed the Lord." There are so many things wrong here, I don't know where to begin. Let's focus on the fact that most people who oppose gay marriage, do so for religious reasons. They usually cite passages from Genesis and Leviticus as proof of God's opinion on this matter.

I urge caution in using the Bible as a club against gay marriage. First of all, as far as I know, homosexuality is not condemned in either the teachings of Jesus or the Ten Commandments, which are probably the two most important Biblical guidelines about moral behavior. Second, there are many passages in the Bible that appear to prohibit all kinds of things but need to be interpreted with care. For example, Leviticus 3:16 states that "all fat is the Lord's" and that we "must not eat any fat." So much for bacon, which was already pretty questionable since it comes from a pig (Leviticus 11:7). Staying with Leviticus, passage 19:28 states quite clearly that people should not get tattoos. Why is it that there are there so many bacon loving Christians with religious tattoos who interpret these rules as somehow "negotiable," and yet oppose gay marriage on Biblical grounds? I find this fascinating.

In November, the people of Minnesota will vote on the issue of gay marriage, and whether or not our constitution should be changed in an attempt to permanently ban it. I hope everyone gives this issue some careful thought and votes with love and compassion, rather than judgment and condemnation. Isn't that the true message of the Bible?

Corey Butler




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