In Massachusetts where I served as a pastor, I officiated at a number of services of holy union for same-sex couples before they were legalized.

In those services I spoke of them as “marriage,” even though I couldn’t sign a legal license, because it was clear to me that the couples were as dedicated and committed to each other as the heterosexual couples I married, and intended a lifetime together.

When a lesbian couple I’d joined had sons, the birth mother had to legally give up her baby for her and her partner to adopt! When Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, and they married legally, they wore the dresses they’d worn the first time, and their sons walked their mothers down the aisle and proudly stood up with them. Those boys grew up with two parents in a loving home in the embrace of a church community.

The meaning of marriage has shifted dramatically over the centuries. The Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) describe the great patriarchs married to multiple women. For most of human history, marriage was (and in many places still is) an economic arrangement or an alliance between families. Those marriages are often as stable as the love matches which our culture accepts as the basis for marriage.

Some believe that same-sex couples should not marry because they cannot together procreate. Yet my husband and I were granted marriage licenses at ages 51 and 47, and we are not unusual.

The Christian Scriptures (New Testament) barely mention same-sex love, and I can’t find that Jesus does at all. Where the Old Testament prohibits homosexuality, it also demands that obstreperous children be stoned to death, among other practices we would condemn! In contrast with a handful of prohibitions against same-sex love, the same Old Testament writers go on endlessly about the proper ways to make grain and oil offerings, and various kinds of burnt animal sacrifices. This was apparently more important to them than homosexuality.

So I am left with love and justice. Love tells me that we humans are created in the image of God — all of us, not just the heterosexual ones — and equally loved by that God. Justice tells me that we humans during our sojourn here on earth are supposed to do what Jesus said we’re supposed to do: try to love each other — and treat each other as if we do.

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