I am celebrating for many of my friends who can now be married thanks to the Supreme Court decision that legalized same sex marriage across all 50 states. While this puts me strongly in the majority of my publishing friends and colleagues and many of the friends I grew up with in theater and choir, it also puts me at odds with much of my family and many more of my childhood friends.
For some historical context, I was raised in an evangelical Christian household and went to private Baptist schools until high school. I made some very close friends during this time who still are active in this religious tradition as well as most of my immediate family members including my parents and my sister. I love these people dearly and it hurts me that they can’t celebrate this great moment in our country because of their interpretation of the Bible. It also hurts me to see so many people I respect who are celebrating this decision also expressing judgmental and angry opinions about anyone who disagrees with it. While there are many, many people who come to that view from an ignorant and hateful or manipulative place (I’m looking at you entire slate of Republican presidential nominees), there are others who are truly conflicted between their desire to love and their desire to live their view of a biblical life.
It’s easy to knock on evangelicals for being so aggressive in spreading their view of the gospel and their view of the world, but as someone who grew up in that world I can emphatically state that almost all of them do it from a place of love and a desire to save the world from a fiery eternity. What the world sees as annoying and aggressive Bible thumping, they see as yelling to the world about an impending danger.
This doesn’t mean they’re right, but it means that, like most things in life, there is no black and white, no good guys and bad guys. These are complicated humans with emotions and fears and desires and failures. I’m saying this to myself as much to anyone else. It’s easy to get frustrated and condemn dissenting voices, but this is America and the wrong voices get to have as much say as the right voices.
So I will celebrate my gay friends and my secular straight friends and I will have lively and engaging discussions in person with friends and family about these issues at family holidays, but this is likely all you will hear from me about this issue on social media. This is not because I’m ignorant or afraid of defending my positions, it’s because social media discussion of complex issues is like defending yourself against a murder rap using old episodes of Law and Order in a language you have only a passing fluency in.