Sunday, 26 August 2012

Gay marriage

A few days ago my boiler got its annual service. It's done by the man who did it for my parents, when they were alive. M--- is semi-retired, says he doesn't need the money, but he likes the work, has all the necessary certificates, and specialises in elderly gas boilers. He's a useful man to know then. Mine's a Potterton of at least twenty years vintage. It's simple and very reliable. Over the years, M--- has replaced this component and that, so that essentially it's up to date and ought to soldier on for many years to come. And last spring I had a digital programmer installed, thus bringing my control of hot water and central heating into the 21st century.

M--- is ten years older than me, and very much of the 'older generation', but he has somehow accepted the progression in my appearance from the androgynous person he first knew to the me that the world now sees. The obvious changes haven't made him awkward with me. Good for him.

He likes a chat. In fact he likes a good discussion so much that I'm sure he arranges his schedule so that he never usually has more than two jobs a day, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Last Thursday he was in my house for over two hours, and we still had a chat outside by his van before he finally drove off. The topics vary. His work puts him in touch with a great variety of people. So his anecdotes are interesting. M--- generally recounts his own experiences, and tells me his own views. He doesn't normally ask me what I think about some topic of the day. But he did this time. Straight out, he asked me what I thought of Gay Marriage.

I rapidly wondered what lay behind the question, but then thought that he'd caught some news item on the radio (the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland) and genuinely wanted to know what other people like me might think.

I said that I had no strong views. Partly because I wasn't gay, and partly because I wasn't religious. As I understood it, the question was whether same-sex couples should have access not only to a civil ceremony, but to a holy ceremony with religious vows: the formal White Wedding in a church, sanctioned by God. I could see that there was a psychological difference between the two kinds of matimony. I could appreciate that for a same-sex couple, access to the sanctified ceremony might mean much. At the same time, I was not unsympathetic to the feelings of the minister, whatever his denomination, who might genuinely believe that his church could not allow the ceremony, and that, in a theological context, it was fundamentally wrong. Such ministers shouldn't be compelled to officiate.

In short, I could see both points of view, but did not identify with either side of the argument. And as it was highly unlikely that I would myself ever remarry, it was not an issue that mattered to me.

We promptly changed the subject. M--- didn't pursue it. Perhaps, after all, he'd wanted to hear me say whether I was gay or not. Well, he'd had my response.

Of course, a transsexual person can't say 'I'm not gay' without further clarification. In the mirror-image world trans people inhabit, what would have been 'straight' in the old life has now become 'gay'. And vice versa. But I doubt whether M--- appreciated this.

If pressed further, I could have said that just now I think I have a sexual preference for female persons - I love the beauty, the curves, the delicacy, the gracefulness, the hairlessness. But that hasn't been put to any test, nor have I any plans to fling myself at some woman, whether natal or trans. So I may never find out for certain.

I think it's likely that at some future point, when the hormones have finally made me pretty enough, some half-blind man will attempt to woo me. I'll have no objection to the attention, and might enjoy what they have to say, but I can't see myself responding sexually, chiefly because I find men's bodies offputting (they're too angular, too muscular, too hairy).

In any case, my overriding aversion to entanglements is going to keep the lid on sexual adventures, and make a definitive judgement on my orientation impossible. I may end up being a paragon of celibacy, though ironically the churches that would ban same-sex marriage would ban my very existence on principle.

8 comments:

  1. I love the way that church interference in previous legislation has resulted in a growing number of us who are effectively already in a same sex marriage...

    Should one religious group be allowed to Have their way in denying equality and what kind of god would want inequality?

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  2. Quite. I also asked myself what God would say on this issue. It's speculation of course, because nobody knows whether God would be interested in giving His views on demand, but I would be astonished if He said that He frowned on any couple who believed in Love, cared deeply for each other, and were willing to give solemn undertakings in a ceremony that included Him.

    Who deserves the thunderbolt, and an immediate ticket to The Other Place? Those who love, or those who hate? That's a more general question, perhaps, but related to this one.

    Lucy

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  3. Actually girlsm God has already spoken on such matters. We don't need to speculate because we have been told already. It is all in Scripture for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. That is the first stumbling block to the unbeliever, they cannot see the truth of the matter. I firmly believe that God 'calls' people to Him insofar as He gives those who earnestly seek Him inclined hearts. The reason I say that is because that is also in Scripture. In God's eyes we are all equal by the way. That isn't the issue. God loves us all. The issue is that God hates sin. Sin is simply going against God's will can only be dealt with through Jesus Christ. As for the gay issue, in God's eyes this is sin, simple as. I posted this a few days ago but it does explain why Christians raise objections to gay marriage ethinkingtheology.com/2012/07/18/gay-marriage-did-god-change-his-mind/
    The early years of the Christian Church saw a very close link with the monarchy and hence at that time the running of the country. Since those days the link has been split, one with the monarchy and the other with government and the Church's influence has remained strong. As the population gradually moved away from God, in the belief of, and has become more and more secular, demands to be separate from the Church's influence have accordingly increased. On the one hand though we see an unbelieving generation who are in the real sense secular and on the other hand we see them still wanting the right to ceremonies in Church. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot force God to accept what He has ordained as wrong. The Church is for believers, not unbelievers. It is a place for believers to meet and praise God and for those who may be seeking Him. It isn't for the general secular population and should remain so. At the same time I think the Church should maintain its voice in speaking out against sinful behaviour because that is a given command written in Scripture but not only that but because in love we must reach out to the unsaved. However, having said that, I firmly believe we should only be a witness, not interfering busy-bodies. If people are closed books to the message, so be it but to demand obedience to God's Word is totally wrong, we have no right to do that. God calls people to Himself either directly or through (the preaching of) His Word. It is all about love too, God's love for us and our love toward Him but there is a difference between the love for God and the love or acceptance of sinful behaviour. God loves the sinner but hates the sin. We should do the same.

    Shirley Anne x

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  4. Girlsm should read girls,

    Sorry for the typo

    Shirley Anne

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  5. Presumably one must truly believe in God to value His blessing in a church ceremony. So I'd say that provided the gay couple really believe in and respect God, and really want to live in the way laid down in Scripture for believers, then it shouldn't be sinful that they happen to be same-sex.

    The achievements of a couple can be measured in many ways, not only by how many children one of them can give birth to. (Or both of them: where do lesbian couples using artificial insemination stand in this?)

    Lucy

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  6. 'So I'd say that provided the gay couple really believe in and respect God, and really want to live in the way laid down in Scripture for believers, then it shouldn't be sinful that they happen to be same-sex.'
    This is the issue. God makes the rules so if He says it is sinful it is sinful. If a gay couple or a single gay person wants to live the way that is laid down in Scripture and if they really wish to respect God then they must not be active in their sexuality. It isn't a sin to be gay but it is if it is acted upon. It isn't about the achievements of a couple either, those things are humanistic, desires of the flesh. Personally speaking and as a Christian I don't think artificial insemination is right because we shouldn't be trying to play god. It isn't a right to be able to bear children, it is God's gift and if we are not gifted then we should accept it. God has reasons for the things that happen in our lives. Basically there are two opposing stances in everything we do and live by. One is humanistic and the other is for God. We have to decide on which camp we are in.
    I was accused yesterday by someone I know of being bigotted and hateful to homosexuals and lesbians and that because I was married and in a same-sex relationship I was being hypocritical. In the first place I told her, I am not married, I divorced soon after my transition and in the second place I wasn't in a sexual relationship with anyone. I told her that I do not hate homosexuals or lesbians, I never have. It is the sin that I hate. It is the sin that God hates too.

    Shirley Anne x

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  7. If God makes all the rules, then of course there can be no further argument. But then you'd think He would make it impossible to think in a different way, either through the construction of our brains, or by limiting our capacity for language - in the way that the adoption of Newspeak in George Orwell's 1984 made it impossible to formulate ideas that were contrary to the prevailing political orthodoxy in Airstrip One (the former England). Newspeak made extended comments very difficult. Away from approved phrases, only vague utterances were possible, such as 'hate is ungood'. You couldn't explain why. Newspeak (a political tool) had stripped the language of all but basic resources. All words capable of a seditious meaning, such as 'God' or 'love' were expunged from the language, or their meaning warped to conform to what was compatible with ther regime's wishes.

    Thank goodness we don't live in such a world.

    Lucy

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  8. Amen to that Lucy!

    Shirley Anne x

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