The ongoing debate about same gender marriage is not simply about same gender marriage – it is about the right to co-exist, and to do so freely and equally. I do not see the point in forcing churches or “men of god” into presiding over wedding ceremonies of people whom they may despise. But I do feel that the church has no place in politically opposing the right of people to marry, whether it be civil or religious – or to try to “copyright” the word “marriage”.
That being said however in general, pastors do not seem to refuse to marry people simply because they don’t like them, if one partner is of a different faith, or for any other commonly known reasons – they do however seem keen to object over the gender of the couple in question. This to my mind is still discrimination, is it not? Nobody wants to have their marriage "blessed" by somebody who obviously views them in contempt and wishes them ill. And by my own opinion, I would sooner marry in a court of law than in such a biased church – to start my marriage off under a cloud of bigotry with a pressing and deep-seated need to wipe my feet upon leaving. However, there are churches that are quite happy to welcome same gender couples and to preside over their wedding ceremonies – and who welcome them into their communities in the love of the living God. And if they choose to, they should be free to do so.
Prior to the new SA constitution, gay people faced criminal persecution simply for who they were by nature. They were disadvantaged in employment, dismissed from their jobs, evicted from their homes, victimized by security forces and shamed by exploitation in the media simply because of their sexuality. The rise in homophobic political parties taking part in this next election, boasting of their intentions to undo every human rights victory made in the past fifteen years - heralds a potential return to conditions prior to 1994 – or worse. Add to that the statements of some who go so far as to advocate the death penalty “Old Testament style” for people based on their sexuality. And in terms of equality, fairness, justice and doing what is right – whether in the sight of God or man – this is just unacceptable and just plain wrong.
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