In the past year or so, I've written several posts in this blog referring to the fact that, for many people, homosexuality is a moral issue. I'm not sure my brain registered the real meaning of those words when I used them, because, today, as I read a "Vancouver Sun" article--about the dismissal of a teacher from a local independent Roman Catholic girls school because she's a lesbian--I felt utterly incensed. The article, written by Douglas Todd, referred to the potential rights of the school to prevent the teacher from finishing the school year with her students because of its moral position on homosexuality. And that got the wheels turning in my head.
First of all, in light of the recent sexual abuse scandals shattering the credibility of the Roman Catholic church worldwide, the first thought that came to me was, how can the church take a moral stand on homosexuality when it can't even get its own house in order? How is it possible that the church has historically shuffled many of its priests around, in all different countries, when allegations of the sexual abuse of minors is made against them, instead of turning them over to the law, where they should be prosecuted in the same way anyone not involved in the church would be? This, and Pope Benedict's recent refusal to adequately address this issue with the faithful--not to mention the possible hand he may have had in the discreet relocating of offending priests in past decades--tell me the church, as an imperfect, human institution, is not in a position to judge me as a gay man. I don't buy it. I never have, and I never will.
But here's what really got to me: According to the Google dictionary, morality is "principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior." Thus, according to the church, engaging in homosexual conduct is wrong, or bad behavior. And, as a result, homosexual conduct is a sin, which is defined, in the same source, as "an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law."
First, I don't believe God considers homosexuality to be a sin. I don't care what Bible reference is thrown in my face to support anyone's position that God considers it a sin. I believe God considers promiscuity, whether at the hands of gay or straight people, as immoral and therefore a sin, but not the sex act itself, particularly if the two people having sex are partners and in love. (And don't get me started on the issue of sex being a sin if it's engaged in outside of wedlock. For some, that's still a moral issue, based on their religious beliefs, but, sometimes, I believe the church needs to catch up with the times and get out of people's bedrooms. There are far worse things on this earth than people having sex, particularly in a committed relationship.)
Which leads me to my next point: I think we can all readily agree that murder is a moral issue, as theft is a moral issue, as rape is a moral issue. You don't need to be religious in any way to see that. But homosexuality a moral issue? Not even close. I can't begin to compare murder, theft, and rape with homosexuality, or wrap them all together and say they are one and the same. Because, simply, they're not. How can someone who engages in gay sex be looked at in the same way as a murderer? How can someone who engages in gay sex be looked at in the same way as a thief? How can someone who engages in gay sex be looked at in the same way as a rapist? They're not even close to the same thing, so don't tell me that homosexuality is a moral issue.
And, finally, I have been with the same partner for nearly eighteen years. We love each other deeply, in the same way that straight couples love each other deeply (or are supposed to). We are committed to each other in the same way that straight couples are committed to each other (most of them, anyway). We are monogamous in the same way that straight couples are (or should be). We have sex with each other in the same way that straight couples have sex (and hopefully with no one else). If you say that homosexuality is a moral issue, what you're effectively saying is that what Chris and I share is immoral. We can love each other, we can be devoted to each other, we can be exclusive to each other--but we can't have sex because it's considered immoral? That's utter crap. I refuse to look at what I have with Chris as immoral. I will not tolerate my relationship marginalized in that way. I outright reject any religion--including Catholicism, which is how I was raised--that considers my relationship with Chris to be immoral.
I am gay. Whether I was born gay or I turned out gay because of how I was raised makes no difference whatsoever. I am what I am. I can't change it. And I refuse to be considered immoral because I engage in gay sex, because I don't want to be alone, because I want the same things that straight people want--companionship, love, stability, commitment, monogamy, and, yes, sex. No human being on this earth, I don't care what religion you're affiliated with, has the right to consider me immoral because I'm gay. As far as I'm concerned, you are worse off judging me for being gay than you would be if you accepted me because I am gay. So take your religious doctrine, and your misinterpretation of Bible passages, and your holier than thou attitude, and do you-know-what with them. In the end, I will answer to one being and one being only about being gay, and that's God--not you. Mind your own damn business about who I have sex with. You worry about your own soul; I'll worry about mine. End of story.