Wives And Husbands, Homosexual Style

There are many things I love about the state in which I live, that counteract the aspects that I don’t like at all. Indian Hill, original painting by Steve Henderson sold; licensed open edition art print at Light in the Box.

I live in a state that not only allows homosexual marriage, but celebrates it — explicitly, overtly, without any acknowledgement that there might be citizens within who, when they fill out a form, are nonplussed that their only option of describing a 30-year heterosexual union looks like this:

Married (includes same sex unions)

Don’t yell at me yet. I’m not here to discuss the rightness or wrongness of homosexual unions, but I do want to touch on the rightness and wrongness of how we are introducing them — intractably — into civil society.

In a rapidly short space of time, we have gone from, “Let’s agree to disagree,” to, “There is no option to disagree at all.” If you happen to be a Christian who opposes state-sanctioned homosexual unions (not all Christians do), it’s predictable that you will be identified as a venomous vessel of vitriolic hate. So much for tolerance. Acceptance is on the fast track to being mandatory.

If that seems extreme, post on your Facebook wall, “Marriage between a man and a woman is different than marriage between two people of the same gender, and I don’t appreciate their being treated as the same thing.”

Attacking people for stating opposition — while it is a standard offensive (and I mean that in both senses of the word) maneuver, does nothing more than shut dissenting opinion up, which, come to think of it, is pretty much the idea. We are supposed to accept, passively, significant change, without asking any questions at all, like,

One of the by products of a thinking population is difference of opinion; in a free society, we can express these differences. Gathering Thoughts, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

“Is anybody looking at the long term fiscal ramifications to social security, pension plans, and insurance from adding so many ‘spouses’ to the mix?” (New York Times writer Steven Petrow identifies “more than 1,100 benefits,” fiscal and not.)


“Will homosexual couples be subject to the marriage penalty taxes like heterosexual ones?”

We hesitate asking, because any inkling that we don’t understand — or accept — is treated either condescendingly as ignorance or ruthlessly as hate. The inevitable result is silencing people, and whether this is done by media or government, this is a bad idea for intellectual, and literal, freedom.

I know a number of homosexual people, some of whom I like, some of whom I don’t, and I am flummoxed by a logical question that fumbles around as the proverbial elephant in the room:

What do you call yourselves, within the relationship? If you are two women, is one of you the wife, and the other the husband? Or are you both wives? And if you are men, is one of you the husband, and one of you the wife, or are you both husbands? Diversity reigns.

In a heterosexual relationship, this is an easy question to answer: he’s the husband, because he’s the boy; she’s the wife, because she’s the girl. The gender of the person holding the title is — or used to be — integral to the definition of the word.

While Petrow assures us that asking is not nosy, it’s respectful, that’s not the impression I’m getting. And his advice to, “Listen to how the couple introduces or refers to each other,” doesn’t particularly help — what if I forget, and get it “wrong”? And why is it up to me to be the one to keep track of all this?

Children have the uncanny knack of observing, and speaking, the truth. Bold Innocence, original oil painting by Steve Henderson sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

How about this: why not come up with a term unique to homosexual unions so that 1) there is no confusion and 2) we don’t water down and completely transform the meaning of the words “husband” and “wife”?

I know why: because the intention is to make homosexual unions and heterosexual marriages indistinguishable from one another — but they’re not.

They are different, and insisting that they are the same — and that all people accept that they are the same — is like animatedly describing the clothes that the Emperor is wearing. He’s naked. The only person brave enough to say that aloud was a child.

If you are a Christian, you may, or may not, agree with homosexuality, and regardless of your position, you will be able to find, and use — rightly or wrongly — plenty of Bible verses to defend it.

What matters is that you are not cowed into silence, that you are not told what to say or believe, and that you can ask questions, like, “Are you the wife or the husband? And if there are two wives, why does one of you dress like a man?” in all curiosity without being assaulted.

When we are discouraged from asking questions or stating contrary opinions, then we are in a bad place indeed: a place of intolerance, unacceptance, and hate — and contrary to what we are repeatedly told, these attributes are not the exclusive province of Christians.

Join me Wednesdays for Contempo Christianity, a look at living 21st century Christianity from a regular, everyday ordinary person’s perspective. I also write Commonsense Christianity for BeliefNet, and the last few articles have been

Christian Leadership and Ordinary People

Eliminating Creativity

Praying for Miley, Britney, and Lindsay

and the perennial favorite:

Unchurched, or Church Free?


12 Responses

    1. Ah, Sonja — Love affects us very much indeed! It’s wonderful thing.

      Laws, also, affect us — all of us — and in any free country, citizens have a right, and obligation, to speak up and agree or disagree. In this particular topical arena, even the gentlest, mildest disagreement (which is where I would put this blog) are vilified.

  1. Kim

    You should be ashamed, from ANOTHER Missouri Synod Lutheran Woman who wised up and found a Lutheran Church that is loving and accepting.

    1. I am glad that you have found a place where you feel accepted and loved — that is the goal for all human beings. I am not ashamed of broaching the subject, which is rapidly becoming taboo, and mentioning that I have an opinion on it. That’s the foundation for a free society, which puts a premium upon freedom of speech.

  2. Ludmilla

    Interesting, but I don’t see the problem. Most same sex couples use your rule of correlating sex and title; thus, there will be two husbands in a marriage or two wives. Problem solved. Since civil marriage is simply a way of acquiring and/or keeping property and distribution of wealth and property and most churches won’t marry same sex couples, I don’t see the point of making up another word. Partner is a good word and used for both kinds of marriages and living together arrangements in England and other European countries. I’m not that nosy that I care whether my acquaintances are civil or uncivil. Let’s not pretend that a new title wold be a helpful alternative, PC or otherwise, when it is only a way of “othering” people. Let’s live our lives as Christians and shine and teach by example of God’s love. I can’t find in the New Testament anywhere that Jesus asked if those He healed and helped were gay or straight? Can you? (Off topic: Oh, how I miss the word gay in its proper definition.

    1. Ludmilla — I’m going to zing right down to your last sentence as to where the problem lies:

      “Gay’s” proper definition is no longer the same. It has been inextricably altered to its present definition as a palatable synonym to homosexuality, and is no longer used as a synonym for happy, carefree, or joyful.

      This is the same thing that will happen to the words “husband” and “wife.” As the confusion grows as to whether a husband is a male partner of two males, or a male-looking partner in two females, or a female in a heterosexual relationship, the word will lose its meaning. And as a wife of 30 years standing to my husband, I resent that. It weakens and waters down not only the word, but the position — the woman partner in a heterosexual union. I even have to specify that the union is heterosexual, because the word marriage, in a short time, has been weakened.

      As a person who uses, and loves, words, I see how they are deliberately manipulated and changed, and I won’t let this go down with my little, tiny fight.

      Many churches will not marry same sex couples, as you say – but how long will this last? Already, we are in a state of being in which a person who says that they disagree with homosexuality is automatically labeled a homophobe. Churches by their very nature are attacked as being hateful, racist, and homophobic, and it won’t take much to tip the balance of power against them. Look at the Boy Scouts — this is a private organization, which should have the right to make its own rules, that is attacked and attacked and attacked, for its stance. Once you decree that a certain stance is a “hate crime,” then a person’s very way of believing is a criminal offense.

      People must be free to believe for, against, and in between. When one side, regardless of which side it is, shouts the other down, there is no dialogue.

      This was a really long response, and I don’t mean to overwhelm. I like your tone of reason and sense. You are indeed correct that Jesus did not ask if the people He healed were homosexual or heterosexual — He looked at the heart and the pain within. As a taxpayer, however, I look at what I am asked to fund, and quite reasonably want to know, what is this going to cost me? I’m not hearing any conversation on this.

  3. Jen Heterosexual Episcopalian - totally nauseated

    Your need to ask who is the wife/husband clearly indicates the intellect of a 4 year old, or perhaps Neanderthal. Your pretense of wanting “discussion” and tolerance is just that – you clearly have very rigid; black and white, intolerant views, very much based on what you believe Christianity to be. Key to that last statement is YOU – your self-righteous interpretation, which I am very sure is not open to debate in your shuttered brain. I seem to remember the “judge not” passages, also glass houses, and love thy enemy/forgiveness messages form the New Testament. Perhaps you should re-read – oh, forgot that could not possibly work due to your totally jaded and paranoid perspective.

    I have been married to a MAN for almost 18 years, we really do not feel the urgent need to define our roles based on labels and gender – WE ARE PARTNERS – LOVING PARTNERS, attempting to successfully and morally raise our three children. YOU are the sort of example/influence we fell we need to warn them against and explain away.

    You are irked by a form – which for years offered NO option of title for same sex couples. You must be very lucky indeed to have that a main concern – not say, food on the table, financial issues. You should be thankful for the first amendment – as I am. Keep spewing your small minded, juvenile opinions, and expect the rest of us to do the same – you should note, though, that you are now on the antiquated – dare I say – wrong side of history.. Thanks be to GOD.

    1. Hello, Jen — thank you for your comment. As you say, I don’t see room for discussion between us right now, at least not on this subject.

      I am glad that you and your partner are committed to the raising of your children; this “job” is a joyful gift that God has given to parents, and your mention of the First Amendment is a reminder that all 10 of the Amendments are important to us, in freely living our lives.

      All individuals need the ability and right to speak, and think, and believe, and hope, with freedom.

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