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Other Articles By John H. Campbell:
Let it Begin With Me
I feel that fostering a climate of peace does not require attending protests of war, of writing a thousand letters to the government, nor anything else drastic or on a grand scale. No, I would like to propose that it starts with the individual; in developing a sense of inner peace, of oneness with God, in peaceful dealings with one another, and clearing out conflict which creates the opposite of peace.
The fact is, as humans, we may have the potential to be as loving, as forgiving, and as selfless as Jesus Himself was, but we don't always hit that right on. No one is always perfect in the way they treat others. No one has all the answers. No one can always do the right thing, as much as we may try or as much as we would like to.
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Imagine a song with only one note, A rainbow with only one hue;
A world where people all look the same, and everyone sounds alike too.
Then look at the colors around you, thank God for each various shade;
Tune in to the beautiful voices, all part of the world that God made.
Imagine ignoring the touch of a breeze, refreshing and different and new;
Keeping our distance from any idea that challenges our point of view.
Then open your heart to the riches, that each child of God has to give;
The One Loving Spirit has shown us, we need one another to live.
The life you lead is different from mine, we each sing our own special song;
Itís not always easy to understand, but differences can make us strong.
So open your hear to the riches, that each child of God has to give;
The One Loving Spirit has shown us, we need one another to live
"Imagine," Words and Music by Ruth Sandberg
The above hymn is among my all time favorites, and is frequently sung at the church I belong to. Perhaps a few of you have heard it, as it is in many hymnal books. It is not really not done full justice without hearing it with the music that accompanies it, and a church full of people singing the words like they mean them, and knowing inside that they are sincere. But for the purposes of what I have to say in this article, they will suffice.
As a bisexual in a non-traditional
relationship, living a radically different lifestyle from many
in the LGBT Community who are also Christian, I often feel misunderstood
and a little like one of the ones mentioned in the hymn that is "not always easy to understand;" I often feel as if I and my partners are, in singing our own "special song" that
many in the community feel as if we are discordant and singing
too off key for the rest of the choir. However, there have been
such moments of feeling unconditionally loved by God and by others
who we encounter despite the differences of lives, opinions and
ideas we share with others that they far outweigh any feelings
of not belonging. Singing this hymn with a group of people who
have made different choices than us is one of those times when
we feel we can harmonize with anyone beautifully, despite whatever
differences we may have.
It does not matter that others may or may not agree with the way we understand God and the Bible, life and relationships, covenants and commitments. All that matters is that we are all children of God, and all of us have a purpose in the world. And that, in my opinion, is how it always should be, and always would be, in a perfect world; if each and every one of us were to put our undivided trust in God to handle the intricate workings of the Universe, and trust God to take care of the details and the issues we ourselves may not be able to understand on an individual basis, rather than trying to dictate how we ourselves wish it could be run.
It is a shame to me, and probably to Jesus as well, that there are so many among the millions who have chosen to follow His teachings that there are still so many bitter disputes over things which we allow to divide us. One issue that still creates a rift, even now more so than ever due to the current climate in mainstream culture among Evangelical Christianity, is the topic of same-gender relationships, same-gender intimacy and sexuality, and especially same-gender marriage.
I guess I should start
of by saying that I comfortably reside in the denominator that
I have heard many gay and lesbian people, as well as "hardcore heterosexuals" (as I have come to call those who are unnecessarily homophobic to the point of announcing in nearly every conversation how "straight" they are) berate when it comes to the topic of same-gender marriage. I am a polyfidelitous bisexual with two partners, a bisexual woman and another bisexual man. I have heard those opposed to same-gender marriage use people like me as "the reason why same-gender marriages should not be condoned or accepted," using the argument that "if we allow two gay or lesbian people to get married, then a bisexual will want to marry a partner of both genders" (as if that would be a bad thing; I say to myself, "And? What would be wrong with that?" - but more on that later) and those in the gay and lesbian community who say, "Bisexuals who are not monogamous and who do not marry one partner of one or the other gender are a 'threat' to the acceptance of same gender marriage, they're going to fight for multiple partner marriages and ruin it for the rest of us." If
you find yourself in either one of those camps, you may not wish
to hear all I have to say, but then again, perhaps some of the
things I may say will be surprising to the assumptions you may
have, and may even foster more of an understanding.
I guess I should say
first of all that despite the fact that my idea of marriage does
not fit the standard "mold" of what marriage has come to be defined to be in this day and age, I am 101 percent supportive of the right of anyone to share in a covenant of marriage. That includes both opposite-gender and same-gender marriages, unconditionally. But before I delve too deeply into that, perhaps I should define what the concept of "marriage" means
to me. I honestly think that many people brought up in the oppressiveness
of how a great portion of Christianity has allowed itself to be
defined choose to marry for the wrong reasons instead of the right
Much of the Christian definition of marriage has, in my opinion over time, become less of what I truly feel in my heart that it is supposed to be about, which is a lifelong commitment to another person and a bonding of souls on a spiritual level, a partnership that stands the test of time and the sometimes turbulent and stormy and sometimes pleasant weather of life, and a decision to make a personal commitment to another child of God before God and more of a contract of ownership of another persons will, thoughts and decisions or a legally binding demand for sexual exclusivity. While for many people these two factors, more the latter than the former may be necessary to their definition of what a marriage should be, I think that the focus on these above all other factors a commitment to another, made publicly before God and in God's Presence, to stand by one another through the good times and the bad times, the trials and the blessings, through the sometimes distressing but always wondrous adventure known as the human experience. I feel that there is one reason, and only one reason why a same or opposite gender couple or anyone should marry, and that reason is love.
Love Casts out Fear
see a great many gay and lesbian couples as well as male and female
couples who want to get married for all of what I feel are the
right reasons. They have found a kindred soul and a God-given bond
with one another, and they make a conscious choice to make a commitment
to each other in the Presence of God, and others, to publicly proclaim
their devotion to each other for life. They do it for the right
reason: Love. As I have said before, I feel that Love is the root
of all that is good, where as fear can be the root of bad.
are other couples I have seen (more opposite-gender than same-gender
couples) who have grown up steeped in Biblical literalism and repressive,
archaic beliefs about the body and sexuality, and I see them get
married out of fear. They are told, quite inaccurately, that celebration
of one's sexuality and sexual expression, be that by oneself or
with a partner, outside of a church sanctioned heterosexual, monogamous
marriage is wrong and "offensive to God," and that the only way God will accept their sexuality is if they are married. They want it to be "okay" for
them to be sharing love and intimacy. In some cases, teenage youth
are asked by pastors to make a pledge not only to remain sexually
inactive prior to marriage, but also to refrain from any type of
self pleasure, which I feel is a recipe for dysfunction later on,
or at the very least unwanted pregnancies and possible transmission
of STDs for failing to educate them about the consequences of unprotected
sex. Many couples, both opposite and same gender, end up in marriages
that they were not fully emotionally prepared for due to this fact.
These marriages often come to a tragic end later and can create
trauma and emotional scars, as well as a potential separation of
both birth parents during the childhood of their offspring.
Many of these fears stem from the misrepresentation modern Conservative Evangelical Christianity offers of the Bible and sexuality. As the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the generally ignored book of Leviticus, ignored save for the verses that some use to justify homophobia while discarding the rest-are used to condemn same gender sexuality, relationships or acts, the commandment against adultery is often reinterpreted to extrapolate a commandment against sexual activity before marriage, or for those who choose, consensually outside of marriage after marriage. The Biblical injunctions against adultery actually offer some surprising facts upon closer study, just as the other verses in Leviticus do (most of those people who condemn two males engaging in sexual intimacy and cite Leviticus as their support in doing so regularly violate other laws in that book, such as eating shellfish or pork products). In Old Testament times, when a husband took a bride, she was considered property, and for a man to engage in intimate conduct with another man's wife was considered a violation of his property. It was not the fact that there was intimate conduct taking place, but rather the idea that another man's property was being violated. Adultery, to me, has never been in reference to physical intimacy outside of marriage or prior to marriage, but rather about betrayal of a trust.
There are also issues with those who marry before they truly know themselves, who they are, and this can often lead to problems later in a marriage, when a husband or wife comes to the realization that they are bisexual or homosexual and has pledged monogamy and fidelity to one person of the opposite gender. Rather than work through the issues with a qualified and understanding pastor and/or counselor, and discuss the possibilities of expanding their definition of their vows to allow one to live this part of their being, all too often the result is one partner engaging in a secret betrayal of the other. Although I was blessed in knowing and accepting myself as bisexual and needing both opposite and same gender intimacy prior to a marriage, I talk to a great many bisexual men and women who were not, and rather than confronting the issue and dealing with it in a manner which is loving and respectful of their spouse or partner opt to live a double life of betrayal, secrecy and shame. How can there be the kind of trust and intimacy which a marriage requires when one lives in fear that they must hide a part of their being, of who God created them to be from one who they are committed to?
I feel that fear is
never a good motivator for anything; just as some marry out of
fear that their sexuality is sinful and not condoned outside of
marriage, it is akin to those who come to God out of fear of hell
and damnation rather than a desire for meaning, purpose, and a
Oneness with God's Love. Just as I feel that God is about Love
and not Law, so do I feel on the issue of marriage; people, in
my opinion, should not marry out of fear of Divine retribution
nor out of fear of "losing" another. I have seen people who view marriage with the purpose of "capturing" another in some sort of contract, making it a security measure and a symptom of co-dependency than a celebration of love for each other. Marriage should not be to say, "this woman/man is my sole property" (or in our case, were we to marry, "these persons are my sole property").
To me, marriage for any other reason than a public declaration,
demonstration, and celebration of love and a commitment is for
the wrong reason.
Although the majority
of same-gender couples I know who desire marriage or have entered
into marriage are doing so or have done so out of love and commitment,
I have seen some who desire to marry out of fear. Not fear of non-acceptance
by God, but fear of non-acceptance by society. Marriage becomes
as it does for many heterosexual Christians a way of "justifying" or "sanctioning" intimacy,
but I have also seen it a way to placate the anti-LGBT crowd by
emulating the no intimacy before marriage rules and assimilating
into a similar mindset out of fear and a need to conform rather
than following their heart or their true feelings. Before I go
any further though, let me state that I feel that those who choose
to save intimacy for one special person, and then remain with that
person always as their sole partner is a very honorable aim and
I have the utmost respect for that. But only if it is done out
of a choice, a desire to do so and not out of fear and repressive
Marriage in my opinion
should not be "so we can have sexual relations and it will not be seen as sin," or
to get government benefits such as tax cuts or legal benefits,
but rather as a celebration of love and commitment made with God's
Blessing and proclaimed with confidence for all to know, not hidden.
It should never be an obligation entered into out of fear or to
bow down to dogmatic thinking, but rather a conscious choice and
decision. It should be not to justify a relationship, but because
both want to create a deeper meaning to an already solid relationship.
It should not be to placate one's parents or family, but rather
to pledge a promise to another; not to save face in the event of
an unplanned pregnancy but to plan for a life together. It should
not be to cater to a societal expectation, but to rejoice in catering
to each other; not to sanctify, legitimize, or justify sexuality
but to affirm a bond as sacred. It should only be to satisfy a
longing for one four letter word: L-O-V-E.
society has made great leaps and bounds towards the greater acceptance
of the LGBT Community, it seems to me to be suffering
from a level of discrimination against the LGBT individual more
so than in recent years, and non-acceptance and persecution has
become even more of an issue in recent years with the issue of
same-gender marriage being one of the most prevalent issues.
A look at a recent message board on a popular online service discussing
the same-gender marriage debate which I saw after voting in the
poll in favor of same-gender marriage was quite honestly a little
frightening, with young people, some as young as 14 or 15, speaking
hatefully against not only same-gender marriage but the LGBT
in general right alongside the adults, whose churches are zealously
teaching that said hatred is vital to the Christian doctrine
and that such a view of LGBT individuals as inferior, sick and
is necessary to be a "true" Christian, and in some cases a "true" patriotic
Despite the victory in Canada and more recently in Massachusetts for
same-gender marriages, and the recent congratulatory letter from
the President to the Metropolitan Community Church for maintaining
a manifestation of and safe haven for Christian faith in the LGBT
Community (although this was followed shortly thereafter by a public
statement that he would support a Constitutional Amendment to ban
same gender marriage-and to think people call bisexuals confused),
there seems to me to be a level of hostility and resistance to the
idea of same gender marriages more than ever before. Several days
ago, I was devastated by reading a poll stating that the majority
of Americans are adamantly opposed to the idea of same gender marriages,
and not merely content to state their opinion, are going so far as
supporting an Amendment to the Constitution to ensure that marriage
is defined as "between a man and a woman," thusly nullifying same gender marriages and rendering them "unconstitutional" and "un-American." This utterly sickens me. Is this life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Is this "Freedom?" Definitely
not to me.
The audacity of the
term "defense of marriage" personally repulses me. Defense from whom? Regardless of whether or not such a (in my opinion) fascist "amendment" was ever passed, it might "nullify" existing
same-gender marriages in the eyes of the government, but I feel
that it never will in the eyes of God. It is one thing for a particular
church or denomination to decide they are not going to participate
in same gender marriages, but it is another altogether for the
government to seek to create a ban to exclude specific people.
Being Mr. Inclusive, I cannot stand for that kind of thing, no
matter whom it is being done to, and especially not to LGBT brothers
The reason most often
given for the need to "defend the sanctity" of marriage is generally the same as the reason given by those who perpetuate the persecution of the LGBT Community in general: "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it." To
me, it is a tragic case of human beings refusing to evolve spiritually,
intellectually, and emotionally, and move away from the apprehensions
that were held by those who lived in the age when the Bible was
written. They have difficulty comprehending that although those
times have long since past, the message of Jesus and God's Love
is truly timeless. To discard the societal beliefs regarding human
sexuality and sexual orientation of those living prior to the understanding
God has gifted us with today does not in any way, shape or form
negate the reality of God, the Wisdom of Jesus, nor the spiritual
teachings pointed to by Scripture.
A common argument against
same-gender marriage is, "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" (Which leads me to wonder, just who the heck is Steve, anyway?!?) If one chooses to accept the Bible as a literal account of how the world came into being, one could easily assume that this is the case. One argument given against same-gender marriage (or same-gender anything, for that matter) is that it is "against nature as God created it" as
same gender couples cannot naturally procreate. But an inability
to procreate does not equal an inability to love deeply or to commit,
or to want to share a life with another person. By the same logic
that a Biblical literalist would use to deny same-gender partners
the right to marry because they cannot procreate, or the argument
that sexual sharing is strictly for procreative purposes, the right
to marry could be denied to couples who are infertile. One might
argue that these are the couples that should adopt, while simultaneously
denying the right of a same gender couple to adopt a child. I have
seen children who were adopted by same-gender couples, who have
received an equal amount of love as they would from a traditional
opposite-gender set of parents.
Another argument used
opposing same gender marriage is that same gender marriage or relations
are "unnatural." However, it is said that the only thing human
beings can do which is unnatural is something that is impossible.
To me, both same-gender and opposite-gender sexual and emotional
relations have always seemed equally very psychologically and physiologically
natural and a part of Creation, despite what the opposing views
would say. For the record, I do not think that sexual orientation
or needs are a choice but the way we are Created, and even if they
were a choice I feel that it is the choice of the individual to
make and not to be left to the judgments or opinions of others.
feel that there was a victory in the Supreme Court decision (that
I feel was the result
of many answered prayers) earlier this year which deemed archaic "sodomy
were unfounded as being based on Biblical concepts in the first
place, considering that the real sins of Sodom had nothing to do
with any type of sexual expression between consenting adults, but
rather inhospitality) as un-Constitutional. On one hand, I feel
that decision was a major step towards a greater acceptance of
the LGBT Community as it stated that the government has no business
dictating the sexual choices of consenting adults. However, I know
many people who wholeheartedly supported that decision who are
adamantly opposed to the idea of same gender marriage.
I hear them saying is that "You can do whatever you wish in
private so long as it is among consenting adults-but keep it behind closed
doors and don't flaunt
your 'lifestyle' in front of me." (Please
take note: I agree that any type of physical sexual intimacy should
only be in private, regardless of the genders involved. I am speaking
of the right of same gender couples to show affection in the same
way which is commonplace for that opposite gender couples; the
freedom for a same gender couple to be able to hug, kiss or hold
hands in public other than at a Pride event or Gay Day at Disney
or Six Flags without fear of harassment.)
But doesn't that defeat
what marriage is intended to be, a public commitment of people
to each other in the presence of God and others? Absolutely. It
still, tragically, excludes same-gender couples who want to celebrate
their love publicly and let their devotion be known and not hidden
away in a closet due to the accusation that society must somehow
be "protected" from same gender couples sharing love and affection. I'm tired of hearing that the LGBT Community seeks "special rights." No
one is seeking special rights, only equal rights; the right to
medical coverage, to visit a partner in the hospital, the right
to receive the same respect as those who are heterosexual, and
the rights all married couples have.
And finally, sometimes
the entire argument used by opponents of same-gender marriage ends
up returning to the same archaic and repressive attitudes and fear
of diversity in human sexuality, gender identity, and sexual orientation
and the same party line of attempting to stop any type of same
gender intimacy through blocking same gender marriage and then
deeming anything outside of opposite gender marriage to be a "sin." Unfortunately, given how much knowledge the human race has obtained, many remain in the Dark Ages in thought about sexuality and relationships and refuse to evolve in love and to cease creating barriers to love based on differences in thought as Jesus urged us to do. Sexuality can be sacred regardless of whether the result is procreation or merely sharing love. I have also witnessed those in the LGBT Community who have internalized some of this rhetoric subconsciously and have developed a love/hate relationship with sexuality. Some are forced into repression that can lead to self-destructive behavior. I have witnessed a few who have bought into the fundamentalist party line and, like many of the opposite gender couples who marry strictly to feel at peace about being in a sexual relationship rather than out of a true desire to commit, are marry in order to feel more "acceptable" to God or to make the relationship "okay" or
to have a greater sense of peace. Again, I feel this is for the
Growing in Knowledge
the historical times when the Bible was written, same gender-marriage
was certainly not commonplace. Although there are Biblical stories
to suggest same-gender relationships (such as the bisexual relationship
alluded to between David and Jonathan or the relationship between
Ruth and Naomi) there are no specific accounts. It helps to remember
that humanity, as we know it today, was young. We had not yet evolved
in our knowledge of such complex subjects as complex psychology
or the intricacies of human sexuality and sexual orientation. Not
possessing the knowledge available to us today through communication
of the existence of other people, other societies and cultures
with their own understandings of God, culture and life, many may
have been concerned that same-gender marriages in some way posed
a threat to the propagation of the species. As mature beings we
now understand that this is not the case and was a primitive understanding
of the world. The Old Testament is rich with rules that were temporal
and while they applied to that age, are no longer relevant to life
as we know it today; as the Bible unfolds, a spiritual evolution
has already begun by the ending. The problem I see today is that
too many seem to be content with closing the Book and not allowing
anything more to be written to reflect all the knowledge God has
gifted us with since then, the way God continues to work in the
world, and how the Loving Spirit of Jesus lives on in all the hearts
of those who trust in Him, still, today, eternally.
Just as with many other issues, while the Bible may be rather clear in certain spiritual principles, on others it is most definitely not exact, and this is due to the fact that the complexities of humanity, life and psychology were as of yet unknown to those who wrote the original texts. It is in cases such as the issue of same-gender marriage that the Bible can only point the way to a greater Truth and understanding of as we seek to understand God as those who wrote the Bible once did. In many ways, I feel humanity is still ever growing and evolving closer to a deep understanding of God and God's Love. But one need only look as far as Jesus Himself to point the way. His message of Love and acceptance is timeless, regardless of how much we learn as a society, and as spiritual beings having a human experience.
I feel that nearly all
of the homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, as well as the phobia
of alternative expressions of human sexuality, erotophobia, and
any type of marriage or relationship not concurrent with opposite-gender
monogamous marriage in today's society can be traced not to God,
not to evil, but to Biblical literalism. Biblical literalism is
one of those "isms" like racism, heterosexism and sexism (the "ism" that
I feel breeds homophobia, but more on that another time) that I
can live without and that I feel society would be better off and
closer to the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus spoke of without. The primary
difficulty a world view grounded in Biblical literalism is that
the Bible is not exact, or hard and fast on a great many issues
besides just same gender marriage and sexuality, as well as numerous
other topics such as science, psychology and parts of history.
After a while, a rigid insistence on this type of literalism and
the Bible in and of itself seems in many people to take higher
precedence than the teachings of Jesus, God's Love, or even God
and it is the book itself which becomes the focus of worship. Yet,
in doing so one can lose focus of Jesus, Who points the way as
we seek to understand the nature of God, which is ultimately one
of Love, Life, and Growth and the evolution of spiritual and emotional
If one looks deeper, past the imperative to cling to Biblical rules and cultural mores which I feel were intended for a culture far primitive to the one humanity exists in today, and instead allows the message of Jesus and what He taught about God and the best way to live then the very idea of preventing same-gender couples from marrying is revealed as the antithesis of the Message Jesus gave in His life, death, and conquering death. I think Jesus' concern is about love for our neighbor, not how we define marriage (be it between members of the same or opposite gender, or in some cases both), so long as that definition is one that is mutual and based on love.
areas where the Bible is not clear or contradictory, it helps to
gauge our compass based
on what we know of Jesus and His nature, His teachings. When He
spoke that "a man will leave his father and mother and be joined
to his wife and they shall become one flesh," he
was not, in my opinion, insinuating that marriage was solely to
be defined as being between one woman and one man, but rather responding
to the cultural and societal mores of His days living in a human
body, carrying out His journey here. However, His Commandment to
Love God above all and to show that by Loving our neighbor as ourselves
is something which cuts across all of time, through all cultures,
and in my opinion, even all spiritual paths.
Remember that old plaque
that used to be in (and may still be in) many offices and workplaces
across the country? It said simply, "Rule #1: The boss is always right. Rule #2: If the boss is wrong, refer to Rule #1." I would like to propose a different one: "Rule #1: Jesus said to Love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. Rule #2: In the event that the Bible seems to contradict this rule, refer to Rule #1." This
is a very simple equation that I think that would solve a great
many conflicts in the world. Joking aside, the point I am attempting
to reach here is that Jesus simplified the complex religious laws
and rules of His time and the conflicts which arose from discrepancies
in different belief systems by gifting us with a radical, new way
of seeing God within our hearts and in one another as opposed to
an external lawgiver and judge demonstrating the worst possible
qualities of humanity - dominion, control, wrath, jealousy and
self-absorption. Unfortunately, it would seem that a great deal
of humanity has chosen to re-create God in that image rather than
in the image of Jesus, hence the persecution some of us still find
ourselves up against.
Yet, I feel that there is hope. More and more, I see and hear of more people who are in favor of same-gender marriage. I have had the pleasure of attending several same gender marriages in a church that gives same gender couples the same Holy Ceremony they would perform for an opposite gender couple. And although there is a struggle at this time, I feel that ultimately, same-gender marriage will be fully recognized, at least that is my prayer and what I have faith in. At one time, the concept of interracial marriage or the integration of races as equal (at least where I am from) was thought of as something that would never be accepted. Until it is, I feel assured that all same-gender couples who share love with one another are bonded and their bonds are Holy, Blessed and Sacred in God's eyes. Someday, the rest of the world will catch up.
Bisexuality and Marriage
the topic of same gender marriage is brought up in the context
of bisexuality, some different issues arise. As people who are
Christian and LGBT are redefining the traditional idea of what
marriage can and cannot be, I cannot understand why it is that
so many are so apprehensive of the idea of a bisexual person in
a relationship with two partners, provided such a relationship
is entered into consensually and with the full agreement of all
involved, and given as much reverence and meaning by all involved
as a monogamous commitment between two members of the same or the
opposite gender would be.
We are polyfidelitous,
meaning "faithful to more than one." (As of yet, there is no term created for "faithful to two" but I still like the term "bi-nogamy.") We do not try to "pretend" to be a heterosexual couple. We are "out." People know that the girl they see her with or the guy they see me with are not just "close friends," and there is no "heterosexual privilege" for
out bisexuals. Bisexual polyfidelity for us does not mean we indiscriminately
sleep with people. It is not that way for us. We truly are committed
to each other as well as our same gender partners. We feel a deep
spiritual, emotional and physical connection with each other yet
feel the same type of connection with our same-gender partners.
Although we know other bisexual couples who engage intimately with
a number of people of both the same and opposite gender (and hold
no judgments about that, provided they are doing so honestly and
with respect for the physical and emotional health of all parties
concerned) for us it is a dual form of commitment. For us, commitment
and fidelity run far deeper than sexual exclusivity, although I
do understand fully respect the need many have to equate the two.
It doesn't go beyond
us. The only relationships where there is any type of physical/sexual
intimacy are the ones between her and I, he and I, and her and
her partner. We do not go from "person to person" over and over,
it is a closed commitment between three people and for us to go
outside of that for either physical or emotional needs being met,
we would be breaking that vow and hold it as sacred as an opposite
gender or a same-gender monogamous couple hold their commitment.
Those commitments, however unorthodox, are between all of us and
God, just as marriage is between a same or opposite gender couple
We are not yet married. It would be great if she and I could be publicly married to both each other and to our same-gender partners, but I do not feel that society is ready for that at this time, and, most importantly, it is not a requirement to us to make our relationships any more of a reality or legitimate. I suppose in an ideal world, all of us could be. Some may say that is quite an outrageous and radical proposition, but many people are saying the proposition that two women or two men wanting to get married is an outrageous and radical one as well. To that I would respond, in Jesus day, many saw His teachings as outrageous and radical, not seeing the God in Him as they were seeking God out there somewhere, and those opposed to Him chose the letter of the Law over what they felt to be the seemingly irrational nature of Love.
I know many monogamous
bisexuals who are or who would love to be married to same-gender
partners. I have also met and know other unorthodox Christian families
where two bisexual men and a woman are married, and where two bisexual
women and a man are married. The couples like this I know do not
have their marriages recognized by the government, nor do they
have "special benefits" or tax shelters. They don't need to have
society specifically recognize it. It is sacred to them, and to
God, although they wish someday that they could go somewhere as
an extended family without the same gender partners receiving condemnation.
They choose this type of commitment as symbolic of their commitment
to the others before God, and are not seeking to do so for any
other reason than a celebration of this commitment. God has blessed
them with very unique and special relationships and families. Some
have kids and they are healthy and well-adjusted kids. Having an
extra parent seems to be a non-issue, creating more love, attention
and guidance rather than any type of confusion.
It does not matter to
me, whether it ever is "officially legal" for two bisexual men
and a woman to marry, or two bisexual women and a man to marry.
Even if bisexuals cannot have three or four person marriages, I
still maintain we can have different vows, which we would and many
of us do. My beliefs are that the marriage vows between a couple
entering into a sacred commitment are ultimately between the individuals
making the vow, and God. If those vows are to include the freedom
for us as bisexuals to have a simultaneous relationship with a
same sex partner as well as each other, it is my feeling that this
should be addressed when the vows are made. Specific marriage vows
other than the fact that people have made a commitment before God
to stand by one another no matter what are between the people entering
into them and God, not the neighbors, the congregation down the
way, the homophobic and narrow-minded, nor anyone else.
When my girlfriend and I do become husband and wife, we will include and honor in our vows the meaningful relationships we have with our same-gender partners as well. Part of our love for each other is the complete love and acceptance of each other's need for a physically and emotionally intimate relationship with our same-gender partners. Our love for them does not in any way alter the commitment we have for each other, and vice versa. To attempt to ask one another to choose between one or the other is not possible. The fact that we commit to each other and a same gender partner doesn't render our loyalty to, commitment to, or love for each other any less sincere or real. We want our vows, commitment and agreement before God to be as our relationship has been; based on honesty, trust, and total acceptance of every part of one another, not betrayal, closets, or hiding.
Even if a marriage beyond
the traditional two person marriage is not ever "formally" recognized
by society, the government or by the church, I think that marriage
for same-gender couples ought to be legal, affirmed, practiced,
condoned and commonplace, and I feel it shouldn't be about anything
beyond celebrating commitment to and love for each other before
God, entered into out of a sincere, honest desire rather than conforming
to a societal standard of conduct; entered into out of a sincere
desire rather than an obligation to procreate, assimilate, or anything
beyond the purpose of celebrating commitment.
I may be a bisexual in a non-traditional, non-monogamous relationship, but I am one who is extremely supportive of those who choose more traditional, monogamous relationships and marriages, be they between people of the same or opposite gender. For those whom would consider people in agreements such as mine to be in any way a threat to same-gender marriage, I urge you not to. My heart, where God has always spoken to me the loudest and the clearest, tells me that same-gender marriages should be as affirmed and celebrated as opposite-gender marriages are whether a marriage such as the one I would desire ever is or not.
At some future date, it would be wonderful if bisexual marriages between both a same and opposite gender partner would be affirmed as well, but what is of more importance to me at this time is that same-gender couples have the same rights as opposite-gender partners to marry and share their commitment to each other before God openly with others. That is why when the local bisexual community has had campaigns to raise awareness of the need to fight for the right for same-gender marriage I have been there, when my denomination sends out call to action notices and petitions I return them, when the LGBT organizations I support ask for donations to support the fight I try to help. When I hear someone randomly talking about how they think same gender marriage should be banned I speak up and tell them why I think it shouldn't, and why I offer support in whatever way I can. At the present time, it is nearly as difficult for a same-gender married couple to find acceptance as it is for a bisexual triad to find acceptance. But I imagine something more.
of it. Imagine it. A world where opposite-gender, and same-gender
marriage were not seen as incompatible and rather as equals; a
world where no one judged one another or created division based
on anything but rather focused on loving one another unconditionally
as God Has loved us; attempting to understand one another and accepting
and loving one another in spite of not being able to when it was
not possible to comprehend our differences. A world where gay,
lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual all lived together
in harmony. Where bisexuals, who chose monogamy or polyfidelity,
were both seen as those making an equally ethical and moral choice.
Where no longer did human beings allow themselves to be divided
by differences in race, gender, spiritual beliefs, sexuality, sexual
orientation nor any other factor but rather focused on loving one
another and learning from one another.
It certainly sounds like Heaven to me. And I feel the way to create Heaven on Earth is by following Jesus' admonition that the Kingdom of Heaven is within and that it is by connecting with that knowledge within each of us and living it externally that we can create that reality on Earth. To me truly following Jesus means to be able to boldly step forward, even if it is with fear and trembling at times, and it means breaking out of the mold; if part of that is expanding our societal understanding of what a marriage is, then I feel it is necessary.
Many of us in the LGBT Community sing our own unique song, those of us who choose a monogamous marriage or desire a multiple partner marriage. Everyone is unique, with different needs and identities and just as one sexual orientation or mold does not fit all, one type of commitment or definition of marriage does not fit all. Despite whatever differences we have, we are all valued by God and can see transparently through differences to see the Christ in one another. Although we are not always singing the same exact song (besides the fact that we point to Jesus as our Savior, embrace His ethic of Love, and share a mutual love for God), we can find those areas where we can harmonize, and through love convince those who feel we are far out of key that we can join in song with them as well.
In the midst of all of the current debate over the topic of same gender marriage, and the negativity in society against some of us, please remember take the time to rejoice this season as we celebrate God's Gift of Jesus, and what a gift He gave us: His elping us to know of the truly boundless and unconditional Love of God for all of us. For I feel it is only through embracing, taking to heart and practicing His way and His timeless Message of God's unconditional love and acceptance that we can create a world where we need not merely imagine Heaven on Earth, but live in it forever.
Copyright © 2004 by the author
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