I am going to have to preface my contribution with the following statements:
1) I am straight
2) I am married (at 23 as cited above), therefore
3) you are completely free and would be quite justified in totally ignoring what follows.
However, I'll throw in my penn'orth anyway.
I agree with an awful lot of what has been said above. What I want to add to it is this: because in Western countries marriage has been enshrined in law and surrounded by legal boundaries for reasons of inheritance, "legitimacy" of children and preferential taxation, for many hundreds of years, there tends to be an awful lot of confusion between "legal marriage" and marriage as I reckon God intended it to be.
Here's some thoughts to illustrate what I mean:
- Were Adam and Eve in the Creation account married? Yes? Who says so - a court of law? What court of law?
- Supposing you were straight or came from Canada (i.e. legal marriage was a possibility), if you and your virginal fiance were out on a round-the-world cruise and were shipwrecked on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean with no hope of ever being rescued - or legally married - would God require you to remain chaste all your lives?
What I mean is this. I believe very strongly in marriage; I believe very strongly in monogamous marriage; I believe it is an ideal, God created it, it is A Good Thing. But I don't see the fuss (morally - sorry, ethically - speaking) about legal marriage. That is just a bit of paper. By saying that I don't mean to belittle the quest for gay marriage - I understand the reasons for it, the legal rights conferred by it to inherit, adopt, be next of kin, and the public affirmation it gives to a relationship. But it's so easy for us straight people, isn't it? We don't have to sit and analyse where the bit of paper stops, and the real heart of marriage begins. We don't have to really think
about what marriage means - we just sign the paper, say "I do" and it all arrives as a package. We don't have to step outside the box and evaluate it from first principles. Perhaps that's why one in three marriages ends in divorce...
But you gay people - you have to be the pioneers. You have to look at your partner and think, "I want to marry you - but how can I?". You have to seek and pray and find out who really ordains marriage - the Government, the Church... or God himself? Can you be "married" without being "married"? Why not? What defines a marriage? A piece of paper signed by a registrar? The word of a minister? Or the committment of the spouses?
Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent. What I was really trying to say, in a nutshell, is this: I believe (and you may argue with me because I recognise that there are different perspectives on the issue) that the best way to show your love for God, your partner, and yourself, is to court each other in chastity and prayer, and then, if you make the decision to commit to each other lifelong, to stand before God together (in a church? Or in a forest? In a registry office in the presence of your extended family, or in a bamboo raft in the lagoon, just the two of you?), make your vows, and only then to give yourselves to each other physically. And then stay together "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health".
After all that - the bit of paper is a bonus. They may take your legal rights but they cannot stop you from marrying unless you let them.
God will understand, I'm sure, if it doesn't happen that way; as Jamie said, "regardless of whether you hit the bullseye or are off a bit, always remember to love yourself." I would add (or substitute) always remember to love God, and every partner, prospective partner, future ex and every other person you encounter, as you also love yourself.
But if you don't agree with me please ignore me. I'm sure I'm only here on sufferance anyway...
especially as I have not yet contributed to the arguments about nonviolence despite getting a free book :/