Seven years ago, I voted “no” against Florida Amendment #2.
Voting “yes” would’ve effectively banned gay marriage in the state.
I’ve never told anyone this in public before. At the time, I was working at a highly conservative church that would’ve fired me if they found out. In the end, they fired me anyway, at least partially because of some of my views.
I consider myself a conservation Christian with liberal leanings – though it does a great disservice to pigeonhole ourselves inside dichotomous categories, when people are much more complicated than that.
What I mean to say is, the Christian stance on marriage, and therefore everything else, requires a nuance far beyond checking a box or choosing a party line. It’s much bigger than voting “yes” or “no.” Sexuality is only one element in the journey of our human story.
I voted “no” on banning gay marriage because I couldn’t stand the thought of legislating morality on a personal choice. It took me a long time in the booth to think this over. Though I absolutely believe in the Bible and what it has to say about everything, I also believe the Bible isn’t meant to be a theocratic sledgehammer to dominate in the courts.
I’m a man happily married to a woman, and I believe “traditional marriage” is awesome. But it’s not a polemic against anyone else. The institution of marriage is not a prop for a platform: it’s a beautiful gift of an incredible adventure, and it’s not to be diminished as a vehicle to grandstand or go viral. It’s also not my job to enforce my worldview on you, just as much as we can disagree and still be friends.
This cannot primarily be about the “issues,” but about real people with real stories who really matter. I believe this doesn’t start in the court, but over coffee, where we can discover who we really are – and travel together.
The problem is that the right wing would yell, “You’re sugarcoating and watering it down and compromising.” The left wing would yell, “You’re still a bigot in disguise who believes in an archaic, outdated, hateful book.” I don’t know what to do with either of these statements. I just know I love Jesus, I love my wife, and I love you. Will you love me, too?
There’s going to be a lot of yelling. I beg of you: Please don’t buy into this reactionary cycle of dehumanization. It’s easy-mode to demonize the “opposition” and ridicule little quotes out of context. It’ll be easy to pick a side and throw grenades over the fence. This is the way it has always been, to violently dismantle those who infringe upon our platform and to puff up our own choir, and it will only get worse. I only beg of you that we each might be the ones who listen, learn, and lead. This is harder, but it makes us better in the end. Above all, I hope we would love as Jesus did, in both truth and grace, and I believe God will show up, as He always does.