I feel that I need to respond to the letter from Tuesday's edition of the Pioneer. I was not only bothered by the letter as a gay man, but I was also bothered by the letter as a pastor. Some of what was stated was wrong, misconstrued and outright dangerous.
I cannot count the number of times I have heard the phrase "I don't have a problem with gay people." It's been my experience that if someone makes this statement, they're prefacing a statement that shows that they are indeed not OK with the LGBTQ community. I can assure you, I do not promote the "gay lifestyle" to your young people. What do I promote? A life where someone can be open and honest with who they are and who they love. And while some people may feel that we claim discrimination, it's true. If I was to pass away, my partner would not inherit what we have shared, and instead, would have to pay taxes that heterosexual couples don't pay, in order to own something he already owns. This is just one law of hundreds that discriminate against LGBTQ families.
While I understand a majority of Christians are uncomfortable with LGBTQ, it's not a basis for judgment or intolerance. I become suspect, as the letter on Tuesday put it, as a pedophile by some people. I know which report the author of Tuesday's letter is talking about, it is put out by the American College of Pediatrics and used as a basis for statements like LGBTQ are pedophiles, being raised in a homosexual home is harmful, and other hateful statements. While I would like the space to write against all of these statements, I will only say researchers from across the political spectrums have called the study "pseudo-science" and "irresponsible and reckless." This study shows that the anti-LGBTQ movement will resort to some dirty tricks when scientific studies prove them wrong. I encourage people to investigate the study for themselves.
Am I asking for the government to force churches to go against their conscience and recognize my relationship? No. As a pastor, I can tell you that I'm not forced to perform weddings. I do them as I choose according to what I believe. As an ordained member of the clergy, I've performed four weddings, but I can't have my own. There is something fundamentally wrong with that.