COMMENTARY 813.5A: The Ethics of Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage

by Michael Josephson on February 7, 2013

in Caring, Compassion, Commentaries, The Nature of Character

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This is one of those commentaries that evokes passionate response and, sadly, a few people will disagree so strongly that they decide to cut me out of their lives by cancelling their subscription or putting me on the “block sender” list. I raise the issue once again because the Boy Scouts decision to defer action regarding their stance on openly gay volunteers or employees has put the issue in the forefront of the news. I realize the issue of same-sex marriage is only one aspect of the much broader issue of how we look at and treat gay men and women, but it is a very important issue of morality as well as civil rights.

I have a strong personal opinion on the issue of gay rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

If you’re a regular listener you may think you can predict my views based on your impression of me as either a conservative or liberal. Probably half of you will be wrong.

As a missionary of ethics and virtue with the hope of inspiring and encouraging everyone’s moral ambitions and instincts, I covet every mind and conscience I can reach, so it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Thus, I rarely comment on religious or politically controversial issues when it’s likely that my remarks will antagonize those who disagree with me.

Still, some issues involving deeply held political or religious convictions have such profound implications on my ethical principles that calculated silence to maintain popularity would be a form of cowardice. After all, my own definition of character is the willingness to do what you think is right even when it costs more than you want to pay.

With that preface, I boldly and unequivocally support the legal rights and full extension of not merely tolerance but true acceptance of and support for every son and daughter, brother and sister, friend and colleague, and complete stranger who loves and is committed to someone of the same gender.

I understand and respect the sincerity of those whose religious views lead them to a different conclusion, but I have the privilege of knowing, admiring and loving a number of extraordinarily kind, talented and highly ethical gay men and lesbian women, and I am distressed that they must bear insults, prejudice, condemnation, and legal discrimination. It’s more than an issue of civil rights; it’s a matter of respect and caring; it’s a matter of human compassion.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Note: In preparing this commentary I did some research on various religious views of homosexuality and came to realize the irreconcilability of some perspectives, especially those of conservative Christians. I found the website ReligiousTolerance.org  particularly helpful in differentiating between conservative and liberal Christian perspectives. Here’s an excerpt:

“Conservative Christian theologians … [believe] all homosexual behavior is sinful, regardless of the nature of the relationship. Homosexuality is a chosen, unnatural, abnormal, changeable, and perverted lifestyle, which is hated by God. Liberal Christian theologians tend to follow a wider variety of translations, and to be more concerned with instances of copying errors in the original Hebrew or Greek, of forgery, and of biases among the translators. They consider some passages (e.g., those referring to slavery, burning some hookers alive, raping female prisoners of war, etc.) as not being valid today, as immoral, and against the will of God. They differentiate among various homosexual and heterosexual sex practices, treating some (rape, prostitution, temple sex rituals) as immoral and some (within committed relationships) as positive. Homosexual orientation and behavior is seen as a normal human sexual expression among a minority of adults. It is not changeable or chosen. Like all sexual behavior, it can be a sin if it is exploitive or manipulative or not carried out safely within a committed relationship.”

 

{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

George February 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I appreciate how careful you were in choosing your words Michael, and I believe people can live their lives in whatever manner they choose to do so, however I do not believe that any government has the right to force people by law to abandon their beliefs for the sake of tolerance; the boy scouts are a good example of a private organization based on Christian principals that is being pressured to compromise those principals all the way to the white house and all the media outlets are looking for ways to force them to do that very thing and the really disturbing issue has to do with differing opinions on this subject. A good example of this is the founder of Chick – Fill – A, he happen to give his opinion on the issue of marriage and everyone that the media could put a camera in front of called him raciest and swore to bring down his company……. we don’t want this business in our communities said the mayors of Chicago and New York and the sad thing about this was at no time did the founder of Chick – Fill – A say that he would not welcome a gay or lesbian person in any of his stores yet media outlets found an opportunity to silence a differing view simply because they want to force conservative Christian values to go away quietly into the night; and that Michael is not freedom.
George

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Chris February 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

Initially I was surprised on your support of gay rights and legalization of marriage (and I still am to a degree). I think is is wrong to discriminate against any human being for being the person that they are. Are you saying that the founding fathers of our country were wrong when they set up the institution of marriage? That we should adapt these ways, and that they should not adapt to what our country was built on? I say we accept the difference but as far as changing anything, that is where I disagree.

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 9:15 am

@ Chris. Thank you for your comment. With all due respect i don’t think are Founding Fathers set up the institution of marriage, it existed for thousands of years in virtually every culture (I do not attribute infallibility to them, however, as I think they were very wrong on the issue of slavery and the decision to perpetuate it and consider Negroes as less than a whole person for the census).

There is no question that the historic conception of marriage is a man and a woman. My problem is that i don’t see how does affording gay and lesbian people the right to the legal and psychological benefits of marriage undermine marriage or in any way affect heterosexual marriages. I don’t understand how affording broader rights to others detract from your rights. It wasn’t that long ago where inter-racial marriage was illegal. The change in the law has, in my view, strengthened not undermined the concept of lasting committed relationships. The real enemy of marriage is the trend toward leaving together and having children without marriage. MJ

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Greg Fazzari February 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm

The simple answer to this is that the purpose of marriage is not to bless “an intense relationship”. The purpose is to bless the “establishment of a family” – the best possible scenario for the rearing of children…the next generation – the future of society.

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nola February 8, 2013 at 9:43 am

George You said it so well, I agree with you completely.

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A. Gray February 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm

George,

This is nonsense. The conservative Baptist owners of Chick-Fil-A have spent millions of dollars on organizations actively opposing same sex marriage. Dan Cathy was not ambushed. He told a sympathetic, Christian news organization that he supported the “Biblical” definition of a the family unit, which he believes to mean a man and a woman. You tell me, if you were gay or lesbian would you feel welcome buying chicken sandwiches at Chick-Fil-A? Cathy willingly inserted his beliefs into the public discourse. I’m proud he was slapped down and major cities suggested his company was not welcome. It’s a taste of his own medicine.

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Mike February 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Greetings Michael:

While your intentions and reasoning may seem valid, it is proper to respect all people, unfortunately I feel you are missing the bigger picture. We don’t need extra rights for Gays for one. They already have the same rights that you or I have as far as jobs, housing, etc. Secondly, most teens that “think they are gay” probably aren’t. It is during the teen years that people question who they are and sadly there is a whole movement with an agenda to declare anyone gay that they can. Project 10 failed a long time ago but some don’t want to accept that. I don’t go around asking people if they are gay or not. I think most people fall into this category. So if it weren’t for this obsession of the media and many others to find out who is in or out of the closet, maybe most of this would go away. It will be pretty funny and embarrassing to the gay movement when at some point in time we find out how many Hollywood stars declared themselves gay when they in fact were not, just so they could get some publicity or be on someone’s good side.

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Mike February 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm

PS…as far as people cutting off your newsletter or unfriending you just because they disagree with you is sad. Maybe you should do a blog on the loss of civility toward one another. We should be able to discuss the issues without taking our ball and going home.

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Terry February 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm

So, should the Girl Scouts allow openly heterosexual men to lead their Troops and take girls on overnight camp ours? How’s that different?

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Jason February 7, 2013 at 6:51 pm

hello Michael… I’ve been a follower of your programs for 15 years…. please take caution with your suggestions as you are very influential… you speak of the moral breakdown in society as foundational to character counts! but choose to share your views that are only in line with a minority… I respect your commenting at a very opportune time… any attack on the family unit should be dealt with and sincerely prayed for… there are millions of attacks… why we choose to agree with some is a matter of opinion and not scriptural… love the sinner hate the sin… I think you may have alluded to this.. please do not choose to agree with something that ultimately destroys the family as God created it… I work with teens as a leader and homosexuality is commonplace… through prayer I choose to stand on principles and values and model the behavior that keeps and sustains the family unit.. thank you for listening

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 1:43 am

Jason,I respect your view and have no doubt of the purity of your motivations or the generosity of your heart. Living in Los Angeles, it may be more common to come in contact and get to know gay men and women. There are gay members of my family as well and i love them as deeply and respect them as fully as any other. As fundamental as this issue is to both of us, I hope we can be an example of genuinely respectful disagreement. I hope I do not lose you over this issue. Michael

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nola February 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

Jason! said so well and I ditto what you wrote. I do feel that Homosexuality is a break down in morals. So how would gay marraige be full of Character? Character does count. Homosexuality is a lack of moral values. I do not believe in gays being bullied and I would defend they against it but I do not want a gay man or women leading my Scouts.

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Scott February 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

Homosexuality is a lack or moral values?? Who says you get to decide that? Maybe you’re so used to thinking that you’re right about everything that you have forgotten that your beliefs are yours. They are not fact, they are not law and not everyone shares them.

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karen Weiss February 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

thank you so much, michael josephson. Truly. Thank you for being willing to lose “fans” to stand up for what is right. you are making the world a better place. thank you, also, for distinguishing between “tolerance” and “acceptance.” It’s an important distinction.

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STEVE WHITE February 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Your statement tells it all………………

It’s more than an issue of civil rights; it’s a matter of respect and caring; it’s a matter of human compassion.
Thank you, Steve

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Greg Fazzari February 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Is it compassionate to try to help others avoid activities that we truly believe will hurt them?

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J.O.E February 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm

The act of sex usually produces pleasurable feelings, as certain chemicals are released in the brain. However, just becaue it feels good, does not mean it “is” good. To tresspass means that a boundry has been crossed. It is evident to all men at some point, that mounting another man sexually is not right, that they are tresspassing, no matter how it may feel to those who practice such behavior. The painful reality of the gay lifestyle is that their strong desire for the good feeling overides their inner source and desire for righteousness, until they no longer can hear or percieve the will of their Creator.

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Chris A February 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

J.O.E

I think you miss the point, homosexuality is not just about the physical relationship any more than the heterosexual relationship is just about physicality. Heterosexuals do not get married just for sex, they get married for many more deeper reasons, not the least of which are love and commitment, it is the same with homosexuals.

The debate you are pursuing falls more into the immorality (or otherwise) of sex outside of marriage.

A loving, caring, committed and enduring relationship, regardless of gender, offers a much brighter and respectful future for our society with much less hatred and antagonism.

I am neither homosexual nor religious, but my understanding of the teachings of God are that he loves all his children unequivocally, are we not also supposed to “love thy neighbor?”, not “love thy neighbor as long as they are not LGBT”

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Greg Fazzari February 8, 2013 at 12:14 am

Selfishness never leads to happiness. We have to agree that there are forms of sexuality that are inherently selfish. Instead of the sexual act being a gift shared with another, it can be a selfish act of mutual pleasure seeking. When? When does it happen that the sexual act is selfish? It is when it is not used for it’s intended purpose. It’s intended purpose is two-fold: the unity of the married couple AND the procreation of children. Any sexual act (even within marriage) that is not open to these intended purposes, are inherently selfish. The homosexual act obviously falls into this category. I doubt we will ever meet any person (straight or gay) that will find happiness through selfish sexual expression. Why? Because it is selfish – it is the antithesis of love.

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Andrew February 8, 2013 at 1:57 am

I agree to Greg Fazzari´s theological interpretation.
Our real problem is, Christians who hate the sin, often forget to love the sinner.

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Caroline February 8, 2013 at 1:18 am

I agree with Greg and would like to add that when the sexual act is not used for its intended purposes (unity of the married couple AND procreation of children), things go wrong. Because of disease, habitual homosexual behaviour cuts years from the average lifespan. Syphillis, for example, is 19 times more common in homosexual women than in heterosexual women. Male reproductive organs and male bodily openings are not made for each other. It’s hard to see what is loving about acts that cause tearing. stretching, bleeding, choking, death, disease and pain. The “committed homosexual relationship” is a myth. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports,”Although long-term gay male relationships do, indeed, exist, studies consistently show them to be promiscuous. In fact, gay researchers and writers most typically say that a sexually open arrangement is essential to a gay male relationship’s survival.” Other research confirms that homosexuals with partners don’t stop cruising; they just cruise less. W/re to procreation, even if it doesn’t take a mom and a dad to obtain a child, it takes a mom and a dad to raise and teach child. It’s not that homosexual couples cannot give loving care, it’s that they cannot model normal male-female relationships necessary for a child’s healthy development.

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 1:49 am

I respect your opinion but my experience with many gay couples is quite different (in L.A. one is more likely to meet and get to know gay people. I am personally convinced that being gay is not a choice — as one young women said to me — “why in the world would i choose to be gay,” Please watch the videos of real people with real stories. I don’t expect it will change your mind but, hopefully it will soften your judgment. By the way, you know of course that there is a great deal of research that comes to contrary conclusions. Thanks for participating in this discussion. I hope our relationship can withstand this disagreement. – Michael

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Greg Fazzari February 8, 2013 at 4:25 am

The question is not “who does one lust for”, the question is “should one act on one’s lust”?

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Nina Doorenbos February 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

I am by no way trying to say that gay men or lesbian women are defective, so please do not take that this way. I am speaking on behalf of logic and science.

In biology when you reproduce cells often you come across mutations or defects (something not in the norm). With the millions of people we have, everyone has a defect of some kind. Whether is be asthma, being allergic to things, being freakishly smart (genius), being rediculously athletic, being born without a piece or more pieces of your body (like 6 toes). How hard is it to see that Gay Men and Lesbian Women just have an difference in their make-up. It just happens to coincide with a religious belief and people happen to be so intolerant of this difference. For all intents and purposes, gay/lesbian people are just born with the wrong body parts…no different that being born without an ear, extra toes, lungs that do not fully want to function, un-even features, one of each color eye, a weight problem, insulin problem, acid reflux, etc……shall I go on. It is the persons mind that determines who they are, everything else is just the vehicle in which we live life….an no ones vehicle is perfect.

We all get ONE life and we all deserve fulfillment. In this sense I think the wiccans got it right, “If it harm none, do what you will.”

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

Nina, As you say, every mutation is not a defect. If you believe in evolution (as i do) it is the process of mutation that produced humans.

Laurie February 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

There is no doubt that homosexuality is tolerated and accepted today. The President felt confident that he would get very popular support for his comments on this issue, otherwise he would not have been so “courageous” as to express his views. It is those of us that believe in traditional marriage that are not tolerated. Greg’s comments are very true and they echo Pope John Paul’s brilliant teaching in the Encyclical, “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.” It is very deep and philosophical and well worth reading. The other place to go for an intellectual prospective on the issue is Narth.com. It was started by the Scientific community by those that dissented from the movement in society toward encouragement of the homosexual lifestyle. I would like to make it clear that most of us who think the homosexual lifestyle is wrong speak out of compassion, not judgement or intolerance. It is not compassionate to encourage people to pursue a lifestyle that is counter to the moral and natural law…this is very different than slavery and interracial marriage…neither of which are against these laws. I encourage you Michael to take a deeper look at this issue.

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Caroline Macken February 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Hi Michael
I respectfully recommend that you do more research, specifically recent studies that conclude that children raised by homosexual parents fare worse than those who are raised by heterosexual parents. One such study which had a large sample size was that done by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas. He actually spoke to the children, who are now adults, as opposed to just speaking to the parents. Also, the children were chosen on a random basis and not by advertising in gay magazines. The unfounded allegations of scientific misconduct and attacks he received from a NYC blogger who defends homosexual rights illustrates the intolerance of this group of anything that goes against their agenda.
w/re to your link Religiousintolerance.org – I hope that you are convinced of the credentials of the theologians that publish these writings. Are you sure they are not interpreting scripture to fit their values?
thank you for reading my email

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Michael Josephson February 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Caroline I appreciate your thoughtful comment and citation to research. If you can provide a link to the research you refer to and to any other research you think is relevant i will read it and i will post the citations as additional resources. I want people to make up their own minds. As to my opinion that gay and lesbian people ought to have the right to marry it is not based on any belief that it is better than heterosexual marriages either for the adults or children but that this is a right they should have as a matter of respect as well as civil rights. There are many very difficult things about being gay in today’s society and I am old-fashioned enough to believe in the two-parent traditional family. I think it is difficult to be black or Muslim in most American communities today. We all need to deal with advantages and disadvantages of our characteristics, whether fairly apportioned or not. My fundamental belief that has definitely evolved as I have looked more closely at the human beings involved is to support those whose sexual orientation is different than mine. In recent years I came to discover that some people I knew and loved were gay/lesbian and I have come to know some gay and lesbian from the outset. They are no more lovable than heterosexuals, but surely no less. Thank you for your thoughts on this important matter.

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pat February 12, 2013 at 9:42 am

When I read the statistics being given here about how kids do being raised in a homosexual family or the increase of disease, it makes me wonder if those families could have all the benefits of being accepted, health care plans, not feel shamed or afraid to seek help would they be faring better. Perhaps it is not the homosexual behavior that is causing the problems, but the judgment, hatred and shunning of these people.

Caroline February 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Hi Michael
Thank you for reading and responding to my comments. I have respected your views on the importance of character development and often print out your articles and post them on the wall beside the loo so that our kids can read them and be inspired (might as well learn something while they’re sitting and waiting:)
My husband pointed out to me that you often cite research studies to back up your points. Mark Regnerus’ study was the first research employing a large, random sample of the young adult population, directly asking them about their childhood experiences and their present state of life, across a range of variables touching on economic and educational success, romantic and sexual experience, substance abuse, experiences with crime and violence, and so forth.The link to this University of Texas study is here:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610
and further comments are here:http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/10/6784/

I do feel compassion for homosexuals who are experiencing difficulties in today’s society. I know that they are as lovable as heterosexuals. But it is precisely because they are lovable that they need to find true love and love without TRUTH is not real love. lt will not bring them true happiness.
Also, rights and freedoms have to based on objective truth (eg marriage was designed to be between one man and one woman), otherwise when there are conflicting rights, whose rights will triumph but the rights of the most powerful? Once same sex marriage is approved why shouldn’t polygamists be given the same rights? They claim to love each other and their children. Or how about a man wanting to marry his dog? Other rights that homosexual men will eventually want is the right to have the govt pay for reproductive surgery- if women have that right, why not men? We need to think long and hard about the consequences to society of redefining marriage, and not just make decisions based on our emotions.
Thank you Michael for reading my comments.

Andreas February 8, 2013 at 2:38 am

Dear Michael,
usually I agree with your ethical points of view, but not in this topic.
Clearly, it is a very personal problem to be sorted out. It should not be used as an instrument for ´straight´ people to outweigh their own sinful ways. For both types of people it is possible to repent.
I am keeping contact and looking forward to get good commentaries from you in future :-)
Andreas

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Debra February 8, 2013 at 3:42 am

Two things needs to be mentioned: First as a side note to your article you mentioned that “Conservative Christian Theologians…believe all homosexual behavior is sinful, regardless of the nature of the relationship.” To comment on that statement Michael, many Christians are under attack for what they have chosen to stand on and believe and that is the word of God. The word of God is true and will never change. It does not matter how many left winged politicians or laws they come up with to change or try to add to it. God will have the final say in the end, and He has already spoken through His word. He is not going to say, well maybe I have made a mistake, MAN has helped me to see the light on HOMOSEXUALITY; nor will He change His mind. He is God. Marriage is between one man and one woman and I totally agree with Greg and Caroline. And Gays have the same rights as you and I Michael. Believe It!

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Leslee February 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

Debra,
Why do you think that there are so many different “religions” in this world? The word of God has changed! There are many “versions” of the Bible that are accepted and entire religions have been built around one concept from the Bible. What is true is that God never changes and He has declared that He is the word! As believers we have His very life in us, so that being said we can trust Him by listening to His voice! Biblical times were different then they are today. For instance women were not allowed to do much of anything and some religions hold fast to this teaching and have built a “religion” around it. I have heard many “interpretations” of the Bible. I know for a fact that there are many theologians who have stated that there is no such word as “homosexual” in the Bible. Man has interpreted a word from it’s original format to mean “homosexual.” I know you will disagree, but read the book, “Good News For Modern Gays.” (one of many) and see how the author came to her conclusion. When you hear a word being preached today you have to ask God to bring revelation to it….In the south for many many years blacks and whites were not allowed to be together. Preachers, “religions” justifed this through the Bible. Thank God He brought revelation to people’s hearts and people have changed their thinking! God ultimately does have the final say and I am so glad that He made a way for everyone to experience Him if they appropriate what He has done for us. It is not our mind that does it, that is why the Pharisee’s couldn’t even see the truth when He stood before them…it took a revelation. It took a willingness to see differently, from the heart, from the spirit in love, truth, and freedom!

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Julia February 8, 2013 at 3:59 am

I have been asking myself lately ‘when did I choose to be straight?’

I also happen to think that marriage is good for society–statistically speaking, married people live longer, are healthier and are more likely to own homes. And I know plenty of gay couples who are in long-term, committed relationships, who, until quite recently in my state (New York) were prevented from marrying the person they love and have loved for a long time. I have tried to teach my son that ‘fair’ means that everyone has to follow the same rules. For same-sex couples who want to pay their taxes and live their lives as straight couples, mixed-race couples, mixed religion couples and other Americans do, I see this an an issue of fairness for all.

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Daniel Hoffheimer February 8, 2013 at 5:21 am

I agree with you completely as does about half of America. The important point I want to make is to compliment the kind and respectful manner in which you expressed your views. Such respect is lacking in public discourse today.

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Craig February 8, 2013 at 5:35 am

I would agree with Mike’s comment that we do not need “extra rights” for gay and lesbian individuals if only we had the decency to put those rights into practice. Unfortunately, the history of this country shows that while rights exist on paper, they are not always put into practice with those who are different. Our society continues to discriminate against people of color, females, and now gay and lesbian individuals. We cannot force people to practice non-discrimination, which is one reason why “extra rights” have (and will continue to be) been “provided” for those who face discrimination.

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Kim February 8, 2013 at 5:49 am

Tolerance as defined in today’s culture is not the tolerance that it used to be. In years past, if one tolerated something, it meant that one would listen to the other’s opinion, to give it equal “hearing”. It did not mean one had to listen and accept the other point of view. Today, we are intolerant if we listen and refuse to accept. Unless of course the opinion is Christian. I find it disheartening, Michael, that you have accepted the culture’s definition of tolerance and have applied it to the Christian perspective. Why must those who believe that homosexual preferences are wrong be forced to accept it and integrate it into their businesses and homes? Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I believe the gay lifestyle is wrong. I believe it is a choice and I don’t condone it and I don’t want to support it. If gay men want to have an organization like the Boy Scouts for the children in their family, why can’t they start their own organization with rules that they create? Why must they force their lifestyle on organizations that disagree with it? I’m not talking about a government organization. I’m talking about a private, Christian-based organization. Why must they invade something when they don’t believe in its principles? Why can’t they just leave the Boy Scouts alone? Can you imagine what it would be like if I, as a Christian, wanted to subscribe to a gay rights magazine and insist that they stop writing about the gay lifestyle because it offended me or it discriminated against my Christian beliefs? I would be villified, in the press, in the gay community, in social media. Why? Because I was trying to force my intolerant beliefs upon the gay rights magazine. Yet when the situation is reversed and it’s the gay community that is forcing its beliefs upon the Christians, this somehow seems to be an okay practice. It’s not right, Michael. Christians are people too. We have just as much right to celebrate our faith and beliefs – in public – as any other group.

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George February 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Kim,
thank you for making the issue the point; when people cannot win an argument with words they turn to personal attacks of character and completely miss the point.
George

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Greg Fazzari February 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Kim – well said. This is NOT a civil rights issue in the least.

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Matthew February 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm

And, yet, it is very much an issue of civil rights.

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Laura Page February 8, 2013 at 6:17 am

I say this as one with close family members who are gay and insist it isn’t a choice, and with a close friend who walked away from a 10-year lesbian relationship, married a man 15 years ago and has never looked back, who says that, in retrospect, it was a choice. Hindsight tends to be 20/20.

I agree with Greg. Here is why: If there is a genetic predisposition for alcoholism (and many researchers have theorized that over the years), I have it on both sides–heavily. Moreover, my Christian tradition uses wine in Communion; alcohol is part of the culture. But whether I begin drinking, drink occasionally, drink to excess, or drink not at all is my choice. I’m an adult in my 50s, and I have to make responsible decisions regarding my lifestyle.

The same is true of an individual’s sexuality. Maybe we can’t help what enters our minds as attractiveness, but we can help what we dismiss and what we dwell on. To choose to act on one’s sexual proclivities is just that: a choice.

At the heart of the issue is that we as a culture have lost sight of what love is, or we wouldn’t be so quick to define love in sexual terms. We tend to think, “Wow! S/he makes me feel good about myself! This must be love!” Wrong. It isn’t about how we feel about ourselves, no matter who triggers that feeling. True love is self-donation, doing what is best for the beloved regardless of what we want for ourselves.

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Larry Tyree February 8, 2013 at 6:32 am

I couldn’t possibly be a bigger fan of you, Michael. Let me begin by saying that it’s understood that EVERYBODY sins and falls short of God’s standard. My personal ‘sin sheet’ is extensive. Therefore, my problem will never be with the ‘individual’ homosexual. Rather, the disconnect is with a leadership that deceives 300 million (plus) Americans by openly opposing God in proclaiming He was wrong on His judgement on homosexuality. If I have to live with my sins, homosexuals should learn to live with theirs. It’s hard to accept something as being morally right when every belief pronounces it wrong. I feel sorry for our president and wouldn’t want to be him at the end of his time on this planet.

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Dave February 8, 2013 at 6:37 am

Does anyone reading these comments honestly believe that a person is born homosexual?? There is not one shred of evidence to support that claim unless of course, someone has twisted the findings of their research to get a conclusion that they wanted, i.e. the twins study of the early 90’s.

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 8:20 am

@ Dave and other who deeply and sincerely believe people choose to be gay. Yes, I honestly believe it and have seen it in people I know. I think most people who really know one or more gay or lesbian people. The thing about this issue is that attitudes are so deeply rooted that people believe the evidence that supports their position and ignore the evidence that opposes it. There is a huge body of evidence that there is a genetic disposition toward homosexuality. Why would a person choose to be gay with all the disadvantages entailed? Why are some people attracted to the same sex when most of us are not? o you really believe your attitudes toward the issue would be the same if you grew up in a community that did not have the negative feelings you now have? It is anti-gayness that is a choice often determined by culture just the same way people have anti-black or anti-Jewish prejudices. The cultural roots of negative attitudes toward gay and lesbian people is demonstrated by the substantial overall change in public attitudes (including mine) demonstrated by national polls. – MJ

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vani February 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Why would a hardcore criminal or terrorist choose to do what he does that the whole world despise . I believe it is not genetic disposition. It is a choice.

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Bruce February 14, 2013 at 10:40 am

Michael, you state “There is a huge body of evidence that there is a genetic disposition toward homosexuality.” I know of no such body of evidence. Please direct me to it so I can review it.

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bb February 8, 2013 at 7:10 am

Michael,

Thank you for your support of gay and lesbian civil rights. Personally, I am heterosexual and live in a longtime, very committed relationship with my wife.

The bottom line in all this is that AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS AND THAT THE GOOD LORD LOVES ALL.

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Ed Santos February 8, 2013 at 7:15 am

Mr. Josephson,

I do not think you have to worry about anyone living your site. People who read
your comments are exceptional, they have convictions, they have substance.
Many people make too much of the this issue, God will only wants us to live
altruistically and caring for one another, no more not less. If any one left, is
because they were leaving any ways.

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 9:37 am

Ed, Thank you. I hope you are right. Thanks for being part of this community of thinkers.

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Mindy February 8, 2013 at 7:35 am

Thank you so much for this post. I commend you for risking a portion of your fan base for taking a moral stand against the discrimination of a minority. As a person who cares about the rights of others, who has longtime childhood friends and family that are homosexual and transgendered, I honestly say thank you. Many of my lesbian and gay friends are even active and important members of Christian churches (like the Lutheran Church). Obviously this is a complicated issue but at it’s heart are people who absolutely deserve to be treated with respect and love just like everyone else. Imagining yourself in someone else’s shoes or even just having a conversation with a homosexual friend/relative will go a long way in this argument.

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Leslee February 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

Michael,
I enjoy reading your posts and share them often with my students. I do appreciate you voicing your opinion re. gays and lesbians. A great book that deals with this issue as it relates to the Bible is: “Good News For Modern Gays,” written by Sylvia Pennigton. It is an amazing book that a “Christian” woman wrote who was in the ministry of “delivering” homosexuals from the “bondage” of “homosexuality.” It was very eye opening and freeing! I am so blessed to know a God that created me just the way I am. He sees me perfectly and loves me perfectly. I did not do anything right, I only believed on what was done for me at calvary. Based on that I am so thankful that I am free from the law and thus free from guilt or condemnation. God knew man could not keep the law so He sent someone who could…Jesus! It is the Holy Spirit that lives in me now….it is no longer me who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Because He lives in me and He is love; I can love! Man’s religion often is based on rules and regulations not based on the truth that I am now free to live in Him! Look at the young rich ruler….he asked what must I do to get into the kingdom of God?Instead of saying believe, He brings up the law! Jesus knew the rich young ruler could not give away all his belongings, it was too much; that is the purpose of the law, to bring us to Christ! We cannot do it, praise God He can! We must see the Bible in light of this truth…God reconciling man-kind to Himself all we need to do is to appropriate what He has done for us! We are no longer male or female, but spiritual beings made in the image of God. We are made to soar; to bring heaven to earth! To be reconcilers and ambassadors, not judgmental, condeming hypocrites! Let’s get out of our shallow thinking and embrace what God has done for us and bring love and acceptance to everyone! God no longer sees a person after the flesh He sees them whole and perfect! We lack nothing in Him and we now are free!
Thanks again for your powerful comments we can only pray that God’s spirit will bring life to them!

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kelly February 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

Michael – Simply, I add my voice to yours.

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Julia February 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

Kelly–you said it best!

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nathan hernandez February 8, 2013 at 9:15 am

It deeply concerns me that you that profess good character can make such a statement. There are no conservative or liberal christians in the eyes of God. There are only those who do their best to obey and those who don’t. It doesn’t mater who translated the bible. Are we to believe that God failed to accomplish his work of what Mathew 24 says about his gospel been preached to all nations. People who do wrong things try to hide them by nature. If being gay was right, why have the always stayed “in the close”? If you believe in God this will make sense if not then I will pray that God may open youreyes. Thank you.

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

Nathan, Thank you for your comment but I think the discourse deteriorates when you associate your and my beliefs on this issue as a matter of character. Moreover, I don’t claim to be a person of character but i aspire to be and hope I am. In this context it isn’t just a question of evaluating the merits of our respective beliefs but concluding that one of us must have bad character. Given the vast array of religions and very divergent beliefs on many issues, I have come to believe that even my deepest convictions (whether religiously based or not are opinions and the intensity of my belief does not increase the likelihood that my belief is true and that contrary beliefs are false. I was born and raised Jewish and all of my beliefs do not coincide with all Christian beliefs but I also don’t agree with all Jews as surely you don’t agree with all Christians on every issue of morality and ethics.

As to your comment about why so many gay and lesbian people have chosen to hide “it”, some are convinced as you are that it is wrong and sinful but many more are simply afraid of the reaction of others who think of them and may treat them as sinners. As our society has become more accepting (as well as tolerant) a much higher percentage choose to be openly gay. Note the fist openly gay woman was elected to Congress last year. Attitudes are changing. Whether we are becoming more enlightened or corrupt is a matter of opinion.- MJ

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Robert Griffin February 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

Thank you for writing about this Michael.

I am a committed Christian, and gay. Being homosexual was no more a choice than liking ice cream. The only choice in the matter was how to act.

For the past 14 months I’ve been comforting a gay friend who lost his partner of 18 years. Jim was nearly 91 when he died, and Joey had just turned 36, so Joey had spent half his life in this relationship. It was not an open or promiscuous relationship; while Jim was opposed to gay marriage, he insisted on what would, in a heterosexual relationship, be called faithful monogamy.

Stefan and Toby have been together for over 10 years, and will probably remain faithfully together for the rest of their lives.

I’ve known too many people born into abusive families to accept the idea that marrying for the sake of having children is necessarily a good or unselfish idea. I far prefer my father’s point of view, who, when he married his first wife, freely accepted her preference for a childless relationship, and when he, by that time a widower, married my mother, gladly fathered my and my siblings.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin

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vani February 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Bob your father’s first wife chose not to have children in a marriage while your father wanted children. Did you choose to be a gay or do you believe in genetic
disposition? My friend who is a gay says there is nothing wrong with sexual preference.

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Robert Griffin February 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

My father’s first wife chose not to have children. My father fully and completely supported her preference. My mother chose to have children and my father fully and completely supported her preference. HE had chosen to be married, and if his wife wanted children, then his choice involved being a father.

I did not CHOOSE to be gay. For a while I was in therapy to replace my homosexual preferences with heterosexual preferences, but over time it seemed that I was lying to myself about myself.

I do not believe in genetic sexual disposition as such, but in epigenetic disposition. In other words, I believe that prenatal development is the background for our primary sexuality and gender-identity, which is further influenced by the environment in which we grow up.
Epigenetic tendencies are EXPERIENCED as if they were genetically based, but are not exactly rooted in our DNA.

I like the idea of there being nothing wrong with sexual preference, but I live in a world where many people believe that there is enough wrong with homosexuality that they support capital punishment for homosexual activity, and in a country which, while it does not currently practice that idea, does export it.

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Matthew February 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

I find it disappointing (although not necessarily surprising) that so many commenters here are invoking the name of G-d in a post about tolerance to justify intolerance. First and foremost, I believe that all of our respective faiths teach us to love and respect all people. Thank you, Michael, for placing the ethical responsibility of loving thy neighbor as thyself above discrimination.

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Debra February 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

It is so truly amazing to me how the world has turned. Our society calls wrong right; and right wrong. In some countries you are killed for stating that you are gay. America has moved so far from God and the principles of his word, no wonder there is such a cry for repentance and revival in this land. No one wants to deal with the real issue. Homosexuality is a sin of the flesh. All of us have sinned and have come short of God’s glory, but there is grace and mercy through Jesus Christ when there is repentance and a turning away to receive the truth. No one wants to deal with the truth. Let’s deal with the truth and not man’s opinions and then we can see people set free. The truth you know will make you free.

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Leslee February 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Debra,
The truth is what God says about us as His children! We need to see ourselves and others how God sees us. Not as the world sees us! The truth is that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, that we are born from above and brand new creations, that we are blessed, loved, restored, healed. That God hears us and love us unconditionally. He made provision for the entire world…not just Christians. We have to appropriate what He has done for us, but we need to confess (agree with God) what God says about us not what the world tells us! People need to know that they are loved, accepted, that God has a plan for their lives. They don’t need people to judge, hate, or condemn one another. God knew we could never do it, we tried and failed….so God did it on our behalf! Now we need to see ourselves as He does not remind ourselves of our failures. I walk in freedom, because of His life in me….the purpose of the law was so that we would understand that we could never do it ourselves. We needed a Savior and thank God He sent one so freedom is ours. The truth is what God says, not man’s/woman’s opinion. Look in His word and see what He says about His children. He loves me just the way I am….as a Lesbian walking in freedom and loving God!

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kathy February 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm

I suggest you read Paul’s Letter to the Romans Chapter 1 Verses 24 to 26.
Just as Jesus said to the adulteress, “Neither do I condemn you….. GO AND SIN NO MORE. ” God loves you.

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Linda Graham February 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

I’m with you, Michael, all the way. Thanks for your thoughtful, rational statements.

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Patrick de Armas February 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

Mr. Josephson,
I’m sorry that you are seeing so much opposition to your opinion. I think it is important, however, to realize that the “2-1 against” ratio is probably a skewed one. Though I was unable to find any studies about the phenomenon(supporting or detracting), my own experience has strongly suggested to me that people who are offended by or strongly opposed to an idea are the ones that are most likely to respond and be vocal about it. I, personally, agree with your stance, but had no intention of commenting until I became aware of the deluge of dissenting opinions that you were experiencing. I applaud you for championing love, acceptance, compassion and respect, and for not wavering in your convictions. Please know that you have a great deal of support, probably far more than you realize.

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Elaine February 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

It wasn’t until I read this post that I felt incredibly disappointed to learn you really do not have the moral compass you profess. Surely GOD loves all of us and wants us all to repent and turn away from sin. It is very evident you too have fallen for the lies of the enemy (satan). Scripture clearly speaks of a sick and perverted generation and this is exactly where we have arrived. Your belief in evolution is an indication your are completely lost. One can only pray for you that your eyes will one day be opened to the revelation of who GOD is (our creator). Homosexuality IS a sin. We are all given free will to choose. Someone could easily use the excuse I was “born” to harm others. How ridiculous is this??? You choose to harm others. It is a CHOICE. Homosexual behavior as with any other behavior is a choice! I am utterly disgusted when I turn on the television and witness depravity at it’s best (two men standing naked in front of each other in a relationship as if this is “normal”). I am saddened and appalled that you are trying to normalize a behavior this is imoral.

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christina October 13, 2013 at 1:49 am

Dear Elaine,

Doesn’t god say that he loves all his children equally? Just because one is homosexual, doesn’t mean that god doesn’t love them. It saddens me that you speak in such a hateful manner, and that you really hate homosexuals so much. I’m pretty sure god would not promote such hate amongst his creations, is not that the work of the Satan? Also, you should not speak for how homosexuals feel, and that they have a choice in the matter! It find it really offensive that you say of how homosexuals feel when you are clearly not a homosexual. Please go do some research before writing such ignorant comment. Also, with you comparing the choice to hurt other, with the idea of homosexuality really angers me. What right do you have to compare criminal activities with homosexuality? I am saddened and appalled that you think your behavior. However I do respect your opinion, but please don’t use such harsh language as you would not to be spoken of like that.

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naomi February 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Religion is a powerful motivator and a powerful way to control. Each organiztion has it’s ethics and stand by them no matter the consequences to others. If gay rights were a civil rights issue is one thing – but it is a religious issue that our states and nations must deal with – same as abortion. The US, which supposedly separates religion and state- gets “around” the real issues by its use of “funding”. So not “allowing abortion or gay marraige” is made into a financial issue and is subject to how “the people” vote on those issues when I think it is a religious issue. Religious organizations have to decide what to do ethically. Instead of “loosing followers, most of the organized religions groups don’t change and grow. And they Believe they are right! How do we educate and change “gut” reactions in people? What are we afraid of?

I believe in religion – it has an important place in society to have people aware of right and wrong – but when they promote “kill the infidel” or “shun the abuser” they do away with compassion, respect and understanding.

What we want in the world is good people who are compassionate, respectful, loving and caring. People who stand up for what they believe in, but respect others.

Does sexual orientation mean that you are bad? Please accept your fellow “man/woman” for who they are, not who You need them to be.

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vani February 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm

naomi please also accept us as who we are as Christians and don’t force your belief on to us. Girl guides/boy scouts are christian organization which is based on certain moral values,do not change it. Create another for those with different belief.

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Robert Griffin February 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Vani, as an ex-Boy Scout, I have to disagree with you. Boy Scouts is a semi-religious organization, but not a Christian one. Awana is a Christian organization, and has no opening for Buddhist or Muslim members. Boy Scouts, at least Boy Scouts of America, is open to Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. It is (or was?) not open to non-religious atheists (many Buddhists are religious atheists).

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R Sullivan February 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Michael: Like you, I respect those whose opinions differ sincerely from mine, and strive to keep the lines of communication open in such cases, rather than closing them. I have family, friends and acquaintances from many walks of life, each with their own points of reference on this, and so many other matters, as it has always been since the dawn of man.

I have been a born-again Christian, constant in my faith, since 1984…and a homosexual, I’m assuming, since my birth in 1961. I have no memories of feeling differently about my “orientation”. I always knew I didn’t choose to be a gay male; who would, given all of the cultural disadvantages?

As a younger man in turmoil, I sought counseling, both religious and secular, troubled by the convictions against homosexuality I witnessed, by word and action, from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I went so far as to have attended revivals in order to have demons cast from me by celebrated mega-church pastors, at the urging of concerned friends. Prayer and desire to change were a constant in my life during that time.

Three decades later, I’m still a caring and devout Christian, mindful of my love and stewardship of those I’ve come in contact with over the years. I’m also mindful of my upcoming 23rd anniversary of a committed, monogamous and loving relationship with a wonderful man I share my life with. My day-to-day life with him is, I imagine, more similar to than different from lives of heterosexual couples together for a number of years. We work, we go out to dinner and a movie, we have friends over to our home from time to time, we’ll celebrate a birthday or anniversary at a nightspot, we’ll plan for and enjoy the occasional vacation. We have our shared and individual dreams for the future of our lives, and for the future of this great land of ours.

I’d estimate that 10% of our friends and family share our homosexual orientation, a ratio generally accepted as common in all societies, both past and present. We’re not immersed in some imagined subversive gay subculture, but instead, choose to live our lives in “the real world” along with the general populace of varying degrees of virtue, education and political/religious viewpoints. A unique situation in our particular lives is made more difficult to endure as result of current U.S. immigration law…you see, my partner originally entered this country from Mexico without documentation over 25 years ago in order to survive economically. I didn’t know this stark fact when we met, and by the time we’d fallen in love, I couldn’t turn my back on him because of his “illegal” status. We’ve lived our daily lives under the radar since then, constantly in fear of his being found out and deported…which wouldn’t have been an issue, had he been a woman.

The illegitimacy of our relationship in this country would be validated by an expansion to equality status of our rights as citizens of a representative democracy. It must, and will, happen. Those opposing this equality measure today will be on the wrong side of history.

My partner and I aren’t the imagined boogeymen portrayed by the opposition, but rather, the friendly faces who share a smile with you while walking down the street, the men who will open a door for you when your arms are full, or offer the place in front of us in line at the supermarket when you just want to buy a pack of gum. We don’t, I’d imagine, appear “gay” to those we encounter, so it can be harder to receive the overt or closeted disdain that a devout Muslim or African American youth might receive from certain individuals on the street.

One more thing: I worked for Michael Josephson at the Josephson Institute and Character Counts for around 3 years in the 1990s, and not once was I ever made to feel less legitimate or less worthy by him, by a co-worker, nor by the many supporters, community leaders, volunteers and nationwide attendees of his ethics seminars or workshops. I have been honored to have been a guest in the Josephson home on several occasions, and have shared flights, meals and hotel stays with Michael during that time, and I was always treated with respect and kindness. Obviously, I applaud his stance on the fight for LGBT rights in this country, as should anyone who takes the time to work for a life based upon the Six Pillars of Character. Thank you Michael!

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Michael Josephson February 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm

This is very powerful and I appreciate your affirmation in the last paragraph. I hope you are well and happy.- MJ

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Rusty Williams February 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Well said, Michael. As an ordained minister this is a frequent topic of discussion – as recently as a just a few hours ago with a colleague who has more than 30 years in ministry. And while my beliefs on this are very similar to yours, I’ve learned that there is nothing I can say to change the minds of those who believe different. All I can do is ask, as you have, that they respect my views as I will respect theirs.

If I close my mind to believe that I am right, I am in essence saying everyone who thinks differently is wrong. And for those who think they are right and have no desire to consider my belief, I am wrong in their eyes and nothing I do or say is going to change that.

All I can do is hope AND pray that one day we can all see the value in others; that we can actually communicate our differences without simply presenting more and more evidence on our side – as if we’re in court, and all the while thinking of nothing but rebuttals for what the other person is saying. For me, that’s not communications, that’s simply trying to be right.

Thank you for your work and your continued efforts to make us think. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but someone much wiser than me said this about sermons: A good sermon should make those who are comfortable feel uncomfortable and make those who are uncomfortable feel comfortable. So you’ve done a pretty good job at getting people to think…

God bless,
rusty

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Daniel February 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm

There are deeply personal and religious foundations for many people’s beliefs/feelings when it comes to this topic. To me, as a lawyer type, I fall back on the quote: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” – attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. I really can’t get my head around the argument that somehow allowing gay people to enter into a legal contract with each other that is recognized by the state somehow comes close to hitting “the other man’s nose.”

The argument that marriage is for procreation is a joke given that couples can get married without proving intent of having kids or cannot have kids.

The argument that it somehow attacks the definition of family is equally silly given that everyone has a different definition of family. My family is very close, very large and very loving. It includes gay and straight people. What people find attractive or where they choose to put their genitalia does not enter into my definition of a family and I would question why it would for anyone.

To me, it’s almost more offensive that the conversation about gay marriage is routinely reduced to controversy about sexual activity. To continue the analogy, my nose doesn’t belong anywhere near anyone else’s bedroom.

I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this debate so that in the future I can tell my children that at some point in our nation’s past, some states, including my own, didn’t let gay people get married. I hope that will shock them.

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Nina Doorenbos February 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm

That is perfectly and beautifully said.

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Michelle February 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Someone asked does anyone really believe that those who are homosexual are born with this trait. Of course I do believe this, as do many others, and I do believe there is research that supports this belief. There are so many homosexual individuals who hide this trait for so many fears, why would they make this their choice? Many try for it not to be their innate desire so they can be more accepted by family, friends, society. It has to be so hard for them to live this way.

I feel this way: As heterosexuals who are happily married and have had the wonderful experiences of intense attraction, love and committment with their partners, why in the world would we want to deny that to another human being who is homosexual and experiences a mutual attraction to another adult. I don’t get that at all.

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Chris A February 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Mr Josephson

I have been a follower of your commentaries since moving to Los Angeles from the UK around the turn of the millenium. I still follow them online now I live in Salt Lake City. I have also posted in this thread already.

Since moving to SLC my wife and I have found that many of our closest friends are from the gay community. In particular a neighbor of mine is a lecturer in LGBT studies the the University of Utah and is the driving force behind the docufilm “Lead with Love”. It is highly recommended for anyone who has a child who may be LGBT, or who is LGBT and not yet “out”. I do not know if you allow cross links on this site. If you do here is the link http://www.leadwithlovefilm.com/ . If not please look it up and take ome time to understand what it is like to be LGBT or the parent of someone who is LGBT. Apologies if this is seen as an attempt to hijack your site, it is certainly not intended that way, I just feel that the more people understand the “other side” the more chance there is of reconciliation and acceptance.

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Jaime February 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Although I do not agree with with Michael’s view on this subject, I do respect the fact that he’s willing to throw himself out there risking his reputation and popularity with what I believe to be a conservative majority audience. I’ve enjoyed Michael’s radio spots and blogs for over 14 years now, and it’s not very often I find myself on the other side of Michael’s opinions. (I put all of my shopping carts away now because of Michael.) Unfortunately, Michael did not influence my view on gay marriage. Marriage is covenant that should only be shared by 1 man and 1 women. God will be the ultimate judge of who was right and wrong on this one.

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R Sullivan February 8, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Jaime, I’m curious about what your views might be regarding a civil marriage ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace between 2 heterosexual athiests?

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Leslee February 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Thanks for sharing Arthur!

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Sylvia Szucs February 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Thank goodness you fully support full human rights for gays. One’s sexual orientation no doubt is a result of complex interaction of genetics and environment, which is most likely beyond control of the individual, because its origins are not understood. Perhaps three decades ago, I read about a study in which cats could be made homosexual by their diet. And that is all that I know about that study. I know neither the author, nor the year of publication, nor the secondary source in which it was quoted.

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Greg Fazzari February 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm

There are some truths that are eternal (which is what “ethics” is supposed to be about). So how does one convince another to “change” something we know to be an eternal truth? One way is to feign enlightenment, look down one’s nose at the intransigence of those that hold tight – and scorn them. But first…you have to couch the argument in a way that is fundamentally misguided.

Please be clear – we are not anti-anybody. We just know that sexually active behavior does not automatically relate to loving others (especially in our sex-crazed culture) – it often relates to “using others”. The opposite of love is not hate; it is lust. Instead of wanting the best for the other (love), we use others for our own benefit (lust).

Everybody is born with lust (for those of the opposite sex – or otherwise). Everyone – straight or gay! And it does NOT go away once we marry. BUT, everyone is also born with the capacity to control that lust. Anyone that chooses to give into their lust will inherently use others – it is a step away from loving others.

How can that possibly be healthy?

This discussion of encouraging gay relationships is a subset of the larger problem that falsely proclaims that “wanton sexual activity” (which in fact is sexual exploitation) is a road to happiness. This has lead to STD’s, abortion, an anti-child culture and now the possible demise of the very basis of any stable society – the family.

This perspective is not anti-anybody – we know this road will NOT lead anyone to the happiness it claims. It never has. It never will. The sexual act is holy! And this holy act is profaned when it is performed outside the marital bed, and without being open to the biological purpose of procreation.

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Matthew February 9, 2013 at 1:42 am

“Wanton sexual activity” is no more prevalent in the gay community than it is among heterosexuals. The notion of sexual activity being only acceptable if it is “open to the biological purpose of procreation” is ludicrous. Does that mean that people who engage in safer sex techniques, or oral sex, or are serial masturbators should also be prohibited from marriage?

All of this still completely fails to address the point of the commentary — people should not be subject to discrimination based on who they are. Discussion of their private behaviors is a straw man. All of our citizens deserve equal protections under the law.

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Greg Fazzari February 9, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Matthew – agreed. The gay issue is a very small part of the much bigger issue of promiscuous sexual activity. The Christian walk is an invitation to a fuller life.

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Debra February 9, 2013 at 4:21 am

Thank you Jaime. I totally agree with you especially; your last 2 sentences. God bless you and those of us, who have made a decision to walk the straight and narrow road; for many, are on the broad road that leads to destruction. However, God will have the final say so! It reminds of the days of Noah. He preached for many many years that it was going to rain! People chose not to hear him, and thought what he said was insane. However, again God spoke in the end. The Lord Jesus is on his way to receive his bride that is ready and prepared to meet him! This message has been preached for thousands of years. The same message! We are in the final hours. The hand writing is on the wall. Some still choose to believe their way of thinking. God will prove HImself in the end. I would rather be on the Lord’s side and believe ALL OF WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS, than to read what I want, and brush off the very thing that He may be trying to deliver me from. Homosexuality is a sin of the flesh. Many have been delivered and set free from it and they do not claim to be LESBIANS/HOMOSEXUALS and CHRISTIANS AT THE SAME TIME. IF THE LORD HAS TRULY SET ME FREE FROM SOMETHING, WHY WOULD I STILL HOLD CLAIMS TO IT? THAT IS IF I AM REALLY FREE; FOR WHOM THE SON SETS FREE LESLEE IS FREE INDEED. THEY DO NOT STILL CLAIM TO BE SOMETHING HE HAS SET THEM FREE FROM. I wish you would read your word! God loves all people sinner or saint. He does not love sin. The bible clearly states that.

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Leslee February 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Debra,
We will probably never agree on this matter, but I am so glad that the God I serve is a God of love! I look at who Jesus hung out with. Not the Pharisees who held the law above all else and who felt by keeping the law they could make it to heaven. Jesus’ love drew people to him. So many of my gay and lesbian friends want nothing to do with God because they have felt such rejection and hate from some “Christians.” Aren’t “Christians” to be reconcilers? Showing, displaying God’s love? Does God say come to me just as you are and then say O.K. now clean yourself up? I don’t think so. He draws us to Himself, He pursues us passionately. When we recognize we need a Savior, because we can’t do it, we can’t keep the law, we say thank you and accept His gift of salvation! It’s not by me focusing on my sins, my lack, my inabilities. Because when one is born again we become “brand new creations!” The old has past away! No effort on our part only yielding, believing, and declaring what He says about me! Often times it’s the church, religion, that gets us to focus on sin, on our short comings instead of His unconditional love! His grace, His passion; that all would come to know Him as a God of love! Isn’t it more freeing to trust that God will bring about change? Trusting in the Holy Spirit to do it instead of using fear and intolerance in the name of Jesus? God knows the hearts of men and women that’s why He tells us not to judge one another. We are all on a journey it is God who leads us and guides us. I trust God in you and you hopefully can trust God in me. He wants to reach every person gay, straight, Muslim, Jew, Gentile, etc. He does it through love by sending His best so each of us have access to God and all He has for us!

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Debra February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Leslie:

This is not a judgment call. This is just where I stand. I will always stand on what God’s word says. And, we can agree to disagree; however, God’s word is true. Let every man be a liar and let God’s word be true. I can also say may the Lord judge between me and you. I have never met you; don’t know you, therefore can not and dare not judge. But I do defend the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus took a stance in the midst of Pharisees and Sadducees not only due to religious or legalism in His day, but also because they failed to see that Jesus did not come to condemn the law but came to fulfill the law. My position is not to put down a lesbian, gay or homosexual, my position is to defend the gospel. And to meet them where they are. It is the word of God that delivers and sets a man free through the complete work of the Holy Spirit working in a man’s life. And all that I have been giving in this message is the truth of the word. The truth of the word of God will win your friends who are outside of Christ. It is a relationship with Him that is more important than going to a church. I teach that it is important to KNOW HIM. Sometimes it seems that the word of God offends, but I have learned that when God’s grace is being applied through the word it is cleansing and pruning ……Jesus met a Samaritan woman at the well one day and He met her right where she was in her life. He looked past her failures, her short comings, her 5 marriages to 5 different men, her immoral lifestyle, her attempt to engage him in a religious debate, he even looked beyond her race, her culture and her background, even though many would be shocked to see Him speaking with her. However, Jesus broke all barriers and reached out to her in love. Him meeting her where she was, (imperfect, with many failures and her current lifestyle) is what she needed to influence her whole village to come see Jesus. The impact Jesus made on her that day changed her life forever; so much so that people from her city came to see Him and because of her testimony many were converted. She did not go back to her village the same, she was a changed woman from that moment. Many times, in our lives we are just like the woman at the well, seeking after things that never satifies and we try to quench our spiritual thirst through relationships, immoral lifestyles, drugs, alcohol, etc…. the list goes on. But when you really have a real relationship with Jesus, you will find there is nobody like HIM and when you find HIM you will never thirst again. HIS LOVE IS REAL, because HE IS LOVE.

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Jay February 9, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Sorry. You’re wrong, wrong. Gay means happy. It does not mean same sex. And homosexuality is wrong. So is sex outside of marriage. But Michael, you seem to have lost your way here. Too bad character doesn’t seem to count anymore. And I believe the person who said the Chick-fil-A family is Southern Baptist needs to do further research.

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Michael Josephson February 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Isn’t it in the nature of disagreements about matters of morality each of us thinks we’ve found the way and that the other has lost the way?

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Leslee February 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

God called Abraham a Father of many nations before he had kids. He called David a man after His own heart while he killed, committed adultery, and tried to manipulate situations. God called Peter the rock even though he would betray Him. Some Christians continue to see others in the flesh when He says see no one after the flesh! God is bigger then this topic. He sees a person’s heart! It is through love (God) that draws people to Him…not promoting self righteousness and segregation! Allow God to speak to a person’s heart and encourage one another in love, edification, and acceptance. I am a born again Cristian who happens to be a Lesbian. I know God loves me, I know I’m going to heaven, I know what He declares over me. I am the daughter of the King! I thankfully and humbly accept this because its not based on what I do or did it is based on what He did for me at Calvary over 2000 years ago!

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Margie February 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm

My faith teaches that every single person has inherent dignity because each of us is created in the image of God. My faith also teaches that God is Love and that is the image in which we are created. Christ teaches that the greatest commandment is to love God above all things and love our neighbor as ourself. All of this points to upholding the dignity in every human being by treating them with charity/love. We also believe that we are a sacramental people, i.e., the way we live, believe, and order our lives will point to God and teach us something about God. Is God for love or not? I believe that love is more about loving, committed relationships than it is about genital activity. Sex might be one way to express that love, but it isn’t the definition of love. Love is perfect self giving and perfect receiving. It’s not gender specific. God tells us to love unconditionally and I would caution any of us who would try to put conditions on “unconditional.” God’s ways are not our ways, and I worship a God whom I believe is big enough to figure it out without me jumping to his rescue. While I’m trusting God to figure it out, God is trusting me/us to uphold the dignity in everyone – both the persecuted and the persecutor.

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Peter February 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm

This recognition of ‘rights’ to be be betowed on ‘gay’ relationships is just the start of slippery slopes in society. If being in a loving and committed relationship is the ‘test’ for marriage eligibility, then why can’t it apply to adult and child or adult and beast. Of course homosexuality is a choice – a bad one! It is a mental illness that could and can be rectified through medication in 70-80% of cases and defined as such until so called ‘political correctness’ rebirthed it as a ‘lifestyle choice’. No species in nature would tolerate homosexuality or face extinction – maybe humans can hide behind recreational Vs procreational sexual activity to justify their choices. How arrogant to believe that man bestowing ‘legal legitimacy’ can sanitise an improper act! Homosexual marriage is the ultimate ‘white lie’ in order to pacify the noisy and ‘entitled’ minority in society.

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Jason February 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Leslee…. I just happened to be reading your comment and noticed you were a born again Christian and a lesbian… yes you can have a relationship with God and be born again going to heaven and be in sin… however if your heart is right you will be convicted of your sin and desire to repent no matter the sin… yes God is your king and he loves you… but being a lesbian is not of the scripture in God’s Word and as long as you are willing to answer for your sins then have at it but don’t impress your ways as accepted in society… I actually have friends that are gay or lesbian, so do not see this as an attack… someone else commented earlier in the fact that I disagree with you have compassion not judgement… I try not to San openly in expect people to accept it.. if you’re truly born again then you will want to grow as a Christian and move beyond sinful habits in ways and be a witness of light and not of darkness

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alumm1 February 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

it is impossible to please everyone, but it is so much easy and simple to obey God the Wise and we should we stand high and proud say it is wrong. We should aware of the punishment for this kind of mischief, sin and yes it is sin here on earth before the day of Judgment. and thanks God that He is The One and The Only God to be worthy of worship.

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Leslee February 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

We are not going to agree because being Gay or Lesbian is not a sin! The Bible has been interpreted from the original Greek to say Homosexual, but that was not the original word. Read the book, “Good News For Modern Gays,” by Silvia Penington. If we are talking sin let me say this…by one man’s sin, Adam, we all were all born into sin. So it’s not any one’s persons sin that gets them to “hell.” Once sin entered the world God had a plan already established…he sent Jesus! Jesus became the second Adam. Once we believe and appropriate what He did for us on the cross that is being “born again.” As Christians we become brand new creations! The law was nailed to the cross and with that in mind a person now is free because there is no law to condemn them. The intent of the law was to bring us to Christ. Often times pastors, preachers speak about our sin and as we focus on the “sin,” that is what we become. We now need to focus on seeing Him! The author and perfecter of our faith. I am not saying that there are no consequences for sinning in the flesh… but I am saying we thank God because we are no longer that person…that is where our focus should be…On who we are now in Christ! Change takes place as we behold Him! As we walk in daily fellowship with Him! The things of the world grow dim! Not because people focus on sin, but because seeing Him changes our gray matter (our brain) into becoming the children that God created us to be! It’s His life in us that makes us perfect in the spiritual realm our flesh blows it, but we repent, confess with our mouths and remind ourselves who we are! Knowing His heart is key! The more we know Him the more we walk in the freedom of His love, life, and power!

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Debra February 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Jason, your statements are valid. How can one say they are a born again spirit filled Christian and live in and practice sin? One should have a conviction of sin. Even David knew that once he had committed the sin of adultery, there had to be a place of repentance and a turning away of sin. He did not dare to continue in the sin. Nathan, the prophet made him aware of his sin. There were also consequences to his sin. We should learn to be true to ourselves. If not, we will live in deception. And there is great deception in our world today. However, I know the Lord is dealing with the Homosexual community to bring deliverance. And I also know the word says we will all have to give an account one day of what we do in our bodies. My prayers go out to those who struggle with this sin of the flesh. I have never read in the word of God that living in this lifestyle has brought anyone closer to a place of HOLINESS and A CLOSER WALK WITH CHRIST. Holiness and a fear of God is what is missing in the hearts of men today. Remember, without HOLINESS no man shall see God. For God is holy. There are many in the entertainment world that make millions and millions of dollars each year; off of ungodly music and movies; and then decide to receive their grammys and awards by stating they want to thank God who gave them the ability to do what they do. God reigns on the just and the unjust. That’s the love of God for all mankind. He would that no man should perish. No man will be able to stand before HIM on that day and say they did not know. And on that note: We really need to continue to pray for an awakening and revival. God bless you.

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Debra February 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm

LESLIE:

Then stop saying you are a lesbian!! Remember, old things are past away and behold all things have become new. YOU ARE A NEW CREATION, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS. IT IS IN HIM YOU ARE MADE NEW. HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU ARE A CONFESSING LESBIAN CHRISTIAN? IT IS NOT SCRIPTURAL WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. UNLESS.. YOU ARE STILL NOT FREE FROM THAT LIFESTYLE. JESUS IS NOT AND WAS NOT A SINNER. HE WAS FULLY GOD AND FULLY MAN AT THE SAME TIME. IF I HAD BEEN AN ALCOHOLIC AND CHRIST SET ME FREE FROM DRINKING LIQUOR, BEER, BOOZE, ETC…. WHY WOULD I SAY I AM AN ALCOHOLIC CHRISTIAN… IT’S NOT SCRIPTURAL. IF HE SET ME FREE THEN I AM FREE INDEED. FOR WHOM THE SON SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED. I HAVE BEEN MADE NEW…. WE MUST WALK IN WHAT WE KNOW WE ARE AND THAT IS THE NEW MAN… OF CHRIST.

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christina October 13, 2013 at 2:00 am

Why should she stop saying she is a lesbian? God created her the way she is and she should be proud of it!
Leslie, don’t let other people put you down or make you feel ashamed of who you are!

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Gizella February 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Thank you so much for: “boldly and unequivocally support(ing) the legal rights and full extension of not merely tolerance but true acceptance of and support for every son and daughter, brother and sister, friend and colleague, and complete stranger who loves and is committed to someone of the same gender.” You demonstrate so much character in all of your posts and to hear you come out so firmly and decisively brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for caring for living breathing human beings and rejecting the hateful interpretation of sexuality chosen by some.

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Chris Smithhisler February 11, 2013 at 5:44 am

As always, I admire you for your courage and doing what you feel is right even though it may cost you more than you want it to cost. Thank you for your well written words and thoughts on this and for helping us all to enter into conversations.

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lou vescovi February 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

The word (bible) says same sex is immoral. You can say these smoke screen msgs. But still is immoral life style. It is not anything to be proud of or to brag about.

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Merv April 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm

No matter how many people start to believe something, it still doesn’t make something right. What is really annoying is that while there is really no persecution against gay people anymore (and rightly so), the vilification of anyone daring to believe in old time values is intense.
People are jumping on the gay bandwagon, and following the crowd. People can choose any lifestyle they choose, even if it is an unhealthy one. God himself has given people the right to choose how they live, and they should have that freedom as long as it does not hurt anyone else. I strongly object to students being encouraged to explore the gay lifestyle.
No student should be treated as gay because they have not formed opposite sex relationships yet. Let them grow up and find themselves, and make their decisions in life as they mature.
As a Christian, I do not believe that a gay lifestyle is a healthy one, or natural. I leave people alone to live as they choose, but we don’t need people in positions of influence, guiding kids into this lifestyle

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