The “Great Contrarian” Christopher Hitchens was fond of saying that “It takes religion to make a good person do an evil thing.” While I do not necessarily share Christopher’s relentless loathing of all things spiritual, he has a point.
I have several friends and family members who believe that homosexuality is a “sin” because of their interpretation of the Bible. Consequently, they support public policies based on their faith which do nothing more than make the lives of those around them worse. These friends and family members are wonderful human beings, but claim to be driven to take policy positions that hurt others because of their faith.
A small debate ensued following one Facebook post where these issues played out. It led me to think a little more closely about my own relationship and the ways it is affected by the faith-based opinions of others. I wrote…
Aunt Pat and Renee, your thoughts raised a few other issues that are very personal to me. I wanted to share a bit more. You both are incredibly kind, loving, helpful, generous individuals. That is why is it so difficult to hear you support these policies that do nothing but make the lives of your fellow citizens unjustifiably worse.
I cannot change what you think of the Bible. You can choose to place emphasis on certain parts in Leviticus and not emphasize others. You can interpret any line in any religious book to justify any opinion. It is a matter of faith.
The only thing I can do is explain how the mindset you espouse affects my own life.
Kyle and I have been together for nearly five years. We have lived together for the past two and a half years. I work from home, and so I try to have dinner ready by the time Kyle gets back from his office in the evening. We eat together, discussing what went on in our lives that day. After cleaning up we usually watch a movie (we like the scary ones) or play with our golden retriever. We are not night owls, so we are usually in bed at ten. We cherish our weekends. Usually sipping coffee together while reading in the morning. We like being outdoors so we try to go on hikes, jog, and do recreational stuff. We can’t wait to camp this summer. Sundays are cleaning day. I vacuum the floors and get the dog hair out of the couch. Kyle cleans the kitchen and dusts.
When Kyle isn’t feeling well I give him water and run across the street to pick up medicine at CVS if he needs it. He does the same for me. We laugh together every day. The two of us were kneeling side by side when we had to look into the eyes of our young Great Dane, Eve, as she drifted away after a quick bout with cancer.
We enjoy doing things in the community together. Kyle is an architect. For two years he lead a team of over thirty people to give a complete make-over to two houses, one owned by an elderly widow and the other a disabled man.
None of this makes us any better than other couples. But it definitely doesn’t make us any worse.
I started a business that now employees nine people part-time. Like all small businesses, things are very tight—I have to watch every dime. I do not have an employer who provides health insurance. Kyle’s job does have an insurance plan, but they only offer family programs to couples who are married. We can’t get married here.
We are buying a house—our closing date is in a week and a half. It is a scary commitment. What happens if one of us loses a job or the business goes down? Luckily, the law has a lot of special rules in place to help protect a family home in tough times, but those rules only apply to married couples. We can’t get married here.
Hopefully one day we are in an emotional and financial position where we are able to help a child in need. We’ve talked about adopting. But only married couples can adopt in this state. We can’t get married here.
There are a few things I’m proud of in my young life. I’ve started a business, gotten a few graduate degrees, and won some awards. But the thing I’m most proud of is the relationship that I have been able to build with Kyle—one based on commitment, love, and self-sacrifice. I do not take that for granted. Very few people are lucky enough to have a partner to help them along each day in this stressful, scary, beautiful, mysterious world.
I am better for the relationship. My community is better for the relationship.
Treating certain people differently under the law because we disagree does nothing but make the world a slightly worse place to live.