Spiritual Affirmation

Advancing Equality In Love And Marriage

by Bishop Allyson Abrams

Love is one of the things that makes us, as a people, thrive. We love our families. We love our friends. We grow to love those in our communities. We love those in our church. And we even love those who are in our schools. Love is a matter of the heart. Most persons who have found love can testify that it was heart over mind, a feeling over teaching—spirit over doctrine.

Therefore affairs of the heart are not always what we predict them to be or outline for our lives.

The Bible describes love in 1 Corinthians 13:4 as being patient, kind, not envious, not boastful or proud. It also says love does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, does not anger easily, keeps no wrong-doing record, does not delight in evil but rejoices in the Truth. Nowhere in scripture does it say that love can only occur between a man and a woman, as so many traditionalists try to promote on today.

The Bible says that love protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres—it never fails. So when love is real, there is nothing you can do about it. When love pounds your heart, there is nothing you can do about it. Whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transgender, if you have a heart that God created, when love fills it, there will be nothing you can do about it.

We are in a time where marriage is being debated in many traditional institutions and draconian communities and cultures. It is my understanding that marriage has always been for two persons who profess their commitment to one another, proclaim their undying love for one another, and their desire to spend the rest of their lives together as one—in every legal and spiritual aspect of the union.

It was only when same gender loving persons attempted to marry that states began legislating marriage to be between man and woman.

We saw this in 2004 when 15 states passed sweeping homophobic legislation banning same-sex marriage—a way to maintain old draconian practices and keep a conservative community. Many states however, have now become progressive in their thinking and with their laws. The problem we see today is that persons promote the separation of church and state when it is convenient, but want the practices and beliefs of the church to rule the law of the state in controversy.

Spiritual beliefs and practices should never dictate what persons can and cannot do with the states, cities, and communities where they reside. The spiritual practices and beliefs of one group of persons in one community should in no way affect what is allowed by the state or cities. If we truly believe in the separation of the church and state, we should keep the church and religious doctrine, principles and belief, out of the lawbooks of the state.

State laws are about protection of individual rights of the state, and it is a violation of the human rights of individuals to not be allowed to marry the one that they love, because of the spiritual beliefs and practices of others, within the state.

Considering rights of individuals, marriage is a human right to every human living on the planet.

One thing that is often misunderstood with marriage equality states is that every church and every pastor will now be required to perform the ceremonies—this is not true. Only those who are progressive in their doctrine and beliefs will officiate these ceremonies.

Many same gender marriages occur outside of the church as many same gender loving individuals have been wounded by the church, hurt by the ugliness of those who call themselves Christians, and devastated by the error of teaching about scripture and what it says about same gender love, that they have no desire to be anywhere near the church—even though they have every right to be.

It is my belief that many pastors, overseers, ministers, bishops, apostles, and prophets, will have to give an account for all of those persons they have wounded and hurt due to their own ignorance about the truth of the word of God regarding same gender relationships. Many ministers today don’t want to know the truth about what the Bible means in those “clobber scriptures” because then they would have to return to their congregations and admit they were wrong in their teaching, wrong in their preaching and wrong in their counseling of same gender loving or transgender individuals.

It is better to admit you are wrong, give the correction, and help people understand they are loved by God, than to never admit the truth, allowing people to die in pain and hurt because of your error.

As we look across the country today, many states have realized their human rights violations against those in the LGBT community. 

Today we see laws that are in place for marriage equality, same-sex couple adoptions, hate crimes against LGBT individuals, transgender students in schools, and healthcare for same gender couples. Over 43% of persons in the United States live in a state that either has marriage equality or honors out-of-state marriages of same sex couples. Many states have recognized that violation of human rights is something that is not acceptable in this country.

It is important for everyone to recognize that LGBT persons are so much more than their sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identification. Persons who are heterosexual believe they are more than who they sleep with, so why is it, those who are same gender loving aren’t treated as they are more than who they sleep with?

The focus too often is upon sexual preference once individuals find out someone is same gender loving. However that person is gifted, talented, loving, energetic and so many other things. They could be a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a best friend, niece or nephew. They could be a teacher, a preacher, a scientist, a lawyer, a doctor, a counselor, a police officer, a politician, or even a television anchor. But the draconian community treats them as if they are nothing more than a sexual being.

How small minded we are today.

We must begin to realize that same gender loving individuals are individuals who have just chosen to love another way than traditional expectations. And because they have done that, it doesn’t mean they should be reduced from all that they are, to simply their sexuality.

Just as heterosexuals fall in love and marry the one that they love, same gender loving individuals fall in love, and should have the right—by the state—to marry the one they love.

Let us as a people stretch in our thinking, get an understanding, realize God is much larger than what we have limited God to be, and begin to love all of God’s children affirming that God resides in each of them.

There should be equality in love and marriage all across the land.

Photo via flickr user Dennis Skley

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Nedrea Scott


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