Should gay people be allowed to get married?
Short answer, yes. Of course!
I was ordained before gay marriage had been legalized in many places. This always struck me as a huge obstacle to my religious freedom. How could I not be allowed to marry couples who I could see were deeply in love and committed to one another? Couples who wanted to raise families together and have the legal benefits that marriage makes possible?
Marriage is a holy estate, and it is a political one. Traditionally, marriage was between one biologically born man and one biologically born woman, and its purposes were primarily to assure bloodlines and property rights. Today, marriage continues to hold societal benefits and security for partners and families. And yet it is in the church where marriages are celebrated and blessed for the holiness that they make possible.
Marriage is not just a social arrangement, it is also a profound act of faith! It is two people being drawn together in the experience of mutual love and then making a commitment–a sacred vow–to nurture that love, to nurture one another, and to live out this crazy thing called life side by side.
Swedenborg held marriage in the highest esteem. For Swedenborg, marriage was the foundation of all creation. Marriage plays out in the natural world in the union of heat and light, love and wisdom, goodness and truth. While Swedenborg was a man of the 1700’s and had no frame of reference for gay marriage, he speaks of the inherent equality between married partners and the mystical union of complimentary opposites that occurs in marriages.
Today, we know that mutual love happens between people of any biological sex or gender expression. We know that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are not simple, fixed categories. The “mystical union of opposites” that occurs in marriage is more complex, more sophisticated than just matching up one biological male and one biological female. Each of us contains different mixes of masculine and feminine energy and it is in this mix where marriage love is born.
Traditional views of marriage require that ‘women be women’ and ‘men be men’, often in the most limiting ways. Traditional views of marriage require an unbalanced element of dependence, usually with women being financially dependent on men, and women expected to carry the entire emotional burden of the family. These traditional views, these boxes, are limiting to all that human beings can and must become if we are to continue to spiritually develop.
I am saddened that so much of the religious conversation about gay marriage and LGBTQ inclusion is doubling down on traditional views. Religion should be an institution that points ahead, that challenges the limits of our earthy materialist bias, and that honors and celebrates love!
At the core of our faith GOD is LOVE. Love! That which delights, brings us alive, brings us together, calls us out of our selfishness and into a higher life of generosity and care. It is the church’s obligation to celebrate and honor that love–wherever, and within whoever it shows up.
Meet Rev. Sage Cole
Rev. Sage is the Pastor of the Swedenborg Chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.