By: Jerry S. Maneker

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to
heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty
them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

The first public statement of His ministry was Jesus’ quoting from the book of Isaiah (61:1) as to some of His temporal
and eternal purposes and intentions.  He came to set the captives free!  

The issue of gay marriage, particularly as it is being played out in San Francisco, hammers home the need for all people
of good will to fight for the rights of oppressed people.  Gay people are citizens and as such are entitled to all of the
rights and privileges afforded any other citizen, including the right to marry.

We see professing Christians carrying signs quoting Bible verses out of context to justify oppressing other people;
Christianity becomes characterized by such hate-mongering oppression.  It reminds me of the 1950’s when many clergy
and professing Christians claimed that integration was a communist and Jewish plot and that if we became integrated
our country would become communist.

There is no culture war here!  It is a war that has always existed: the oppressed versus the oppressor.  People have to
take a stand and decide which side they are going to support!  It must be remembered that many people of good will are
not Christians, but every single Christian is a person of good will.  If one professes to be a Christian and seeks to
oppress others he or she is not a Christian!

We have such egregious sins occurring such as many elderly people having to decide whether they are going to buy
food or buy medicines; the working poor who can’t afford medical insurance; our invasion of another country based on
false premises.  Yet we have people who call themselves “Christians” who are obsessed with the issue of who loves who,
and who sleeps with who, and who want to prevent loving couples from enjoying the sacrament of marriage and attesting
to their abiding love before God and the community.  Moreover, these professing Christians seek to thereby deny gay
couples the many rights that accrue to those who are married.

There is the assertion by opponents of gay marriage that children raised by gay couples will not fare as well as those
raised by straight couples.  Beyond the fact that many children live with single parents, the above assertion has not
been shown to be true.

A few examples: a child’s sexual orientation is not likely to be affected (Bailey, etal, Developmental Psychology, 31,
1995, pp. 124-129); styles of parenting are not likely to be different between gay and non-gay fathers (Bigner and
Jacobsen, Journal of Homosexuality, 23, 1992, pp. 99-112); gender identity and sex-role behavior are similar between
children of lesbian parents and heterosexual single parent households (Golombok, etal, Journal of Child Psychology
and Psychiatry, 24, 1983, pp. 551-572).  Of course, no study is without flaws, so it would be interesting to replicate
studies such as these and also examine a variety of measures of social and personal health and adjustment in gay and
non-gay families.

Many people talk of the “sanctity of marriage,” in which I believe, despite the fact that there is about a fifty percent
divorce rate; about one-third of children are born out of wedlock; there is frequently a need to have two incomes to
support a household with the attendant strains on a marriage relationship and care of children.  The mantra concerning
the sanctity of marriage is a smoke screen to hide the real reason why people don’t want gay marriage: pure, rank
prejudice which no Christian or anyone of good will should abide or in any way support!

Moreover, how is gay marriage going to in any way impact straight marriage?  If a gay couple become married, how is
that occurrence going to in any way affect anyone else’s marriage?  To assert that gay marriage will in any way destroy
the sanctity of marriage or destroy civilization as we know it is ludicrous on its face!

We have also heard that if there is gay marriage, it will lead to pedophilia, beastiality, and polygamy.  To talk of two
consenting adults seeking the sacrament of marriage as opening the door to the marriage of adults with children is not
only foolish but cynical and hateful.  And how gay marriage might lead to polygamy and beastiality is a mystery to me.

We have heard arguments that there has never been gay marriage before.  The same arguments were used, justified
by appeal to the Bible, to justify the existence of slavery, of segregation, and of the subjugation of women.

Each generation presents its own issues that confront us and have us decide whether we are going to be on the side of
the oppressed or on the side of the oppressors.

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