Who Is Qualified to Say Whom You May Marry?

While countries like Jamaica retain laws against sodomy, hundreds of men lined up to marry each other in California yesterday. Hundreds of women, too; but, for some reason, that does not evoke the same homophobic horror.

A long time ago, I went to see a movie called “Bloody Sunday” at the Carib Theatre in Kingston. There’s a scene where a male actor (I think it’s Peter Finch) kisses another man, and when that happened, big, strong men screamed in terror and ran out of the theatre. That’s how bad it was then, and it’s not much better now. You will recall Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s declaration in a BBC interview that he would never consider having a homosexual in his cabinet.

Psychologists have all kinds of explanations for homophobia, and I won’t presume to add my two cents to that discussion. But what I feel qualified to discuss is the morality of homosexual marriage. For that, I will rely on the only moral authority that I recognize – the words of Jesus Christ.

What I understand from His words is that we have no right to judge the morality of others, that we should look to the chunk of wood in our own eye before pointing to the spot of dust in someone else’s eye. “Judge not lest ye be not judged,” leaves no room for misunderstanding. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” also seems crystal clear.

So while you or I might regard homosexuality as a sin, it is not for you or me to judge the behavior of others. We have rights only when their behavior directly affects our own welfare.

In common law, and the constitution of most civilized states, individuals have the right to form legal alliances, regardless of their gender, and many people agree that this right extends to the kind of personal partnerships described by American politicians as “civil unions.”

But, while Canada accepts the logical extension of this right to include marriage, the federal government in America balks at going that far. In the vast majority of American states, marriage is still considered to be “a union between a man and a woman.”

But if you accept marriage as a holy state, a union created by God. then who are we to tell God what unions He may bless? On what moral or theological grounds can we justify a legal ban against any holy union? If two people can find a member of the clergy willing to bless their union, what gives us the power to say they may not go through a marriage ceremony?

Surely, it is God, and God alone, who can create a marriage.