- I defend the position that same-sex marriages can be pleasing to God and that moral standards for good same-sex relationships are, in essence, the same as moral standards for good heterosexual relationships (i.e., the heterosexuality/homosexuality of a relationship per se does not determine its moral quality).
- I disagree with the position that gay (same-gender attracted / same-sex oriented) Christians are obligated to lifelong celibacy.
With respect to scripture, I defend the following interpretive stances in support of my affirming view of same-sex marriage:
1a. The marriage of the man and the woman in Genesis 2 is presented in that text as an ideal and as a normative standard for marriage,
1b. but cannot and ought not be held up as a universal standard for all healthy marriages, nor as a morally binding standard for marriage.
2a. The violence threatened by the men of Sodom in Genesis 19 is presented as representative of the evil for which YHWH destroys Sodom and Gomorrah,
2b. but the evil lies in the inhospitality of the city to strangers -- manifest through the threat of violent rape -- and not in the "homosexual" nature of the threatened violence.
3a. The prohibition not to "lie with a man as with a woman" in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 is intended to prohibit faithful Israelites from engaging in a same-sex sexual act between men,
3b. may prohibit a specific sexual act not intrinsic to all homosexual relationships, and
3c. the prohibition plausibly does not extend to Christians in same-sex marriages.
4. The meaning of the words sometimes understood to refer to gay partners in 1 Timothy 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 is unclear, so these verses should not bear the weight of a prohibition against same-sex marriage.
5a. The teaching of Paul on celibacy (that is, voluntarily choosing not to marry for the sake of undistracted devotion to the Lord's work) in 1 Corinthians 7 cannot plausibly support a mandate for all gay Christians to remain unmarried,
5b. nor can this teaching with much plausibility support a recommendation for gay Christians to marry a person of the opposite sex.
6a. The description in Romans 1:28-32 of those "given up to dishonorable passions", including women who "exchanged natural relations for those contrary to nature" and men who "likewise gave up natural relationships with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error" probably presents same-sex sexual behavior as representative of Gentile/pagan "ungodliness" and "unrigheousness",
6b. however, this behavior in context is presented as a symptom of idolatry, and we do not accept that idolatry is a cause of gay Christians' sexual orientation as we understand it.
I could say more about each of these six passages, and I could say more about this issue beyond these six passages. I may do so in future entries here. (This entry is a "stub", if you like).
I feel most confident about my understandings of #2 & #5 above, and I see #1, #5, & #6 above to be the crucial passages for a modern evangelical Christian's views of this issue. I see #3 & #4 as possibly related to one another, but also as less crucial to the matter in question, which is: "Does scripture support an ethical mandate for gay Christians either to marry opposite-sex partners or remain single and celibate?".
In the meantime before I pursue this subject further on this blog, I recommend these resources: