Politics & Policy

Why I, Unlike Senator Rubio, Would Not Attend a Gay Wedding

(Dreamstime)
On your happy day you should be surrounded by people who can honor your vow and help you keep it. I can’t do that.

Senator Marco Rubio, one of our most attractive and charismatic leaders in the rising generation, just announced he’s running for president. So naturally he’s being peppered with the one question uppermost in the minds of American voters: What do you think of gay marriage?

Rubio is getting this hit, in part, because he’s trying to negotiate a Third Way: He’s for traditional marriage but will “respect” the rights of states to disagree. He thinks states should have the right to decide the definition of marriage, but (unlike Ted Cruz) he refused to sign onto an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to leave the definition of marriage to the states, and he says he will “respect” whatever the Supreme Court decides.

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Sensing weakness, the mainstream media like nothing more than to swarm around his third-wayness. So now Fusion asks Rubio that question that is always so urgent for a president of the United States: Would you attend a gay wedding?

I kind of wish he had pulled a Senator Rand Paul on this reporter. Do you really think people shouldn’t have the right to keep their jobs if they oppose gay marriage? Do you believe in live and let live, or do you believe in using gay marriage as a club to hurt ordinary Americans who happen to disagree?

But he chose to answer the question with great dignity and kindness. The video is here.

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“If there’s somebody that I love that’s in my life, I don’t necessarily have to agree with their decisions or the decisions they’ve made to continue to love them and participate in important events,” he told the interviewer, Jorge Ramos. “Ultimately, if someone that you care for and is part of your family has decided to move in one direction or another or feels that way because of who they love, you respect that because you love them,” he said.

Rubio compared it to attending “second marriages” after divorce, which the Catholic Church teaches are attempts to consecrate adultery. “If someone gets divorced, I’m not going to stop loving them or having them a part of our lives,” he said.

#related#Senator Rubio is not the only one who feels that way. Other Catholics I respect, from Ross Douthat to Eve Tushnet, have spoken about accompanying friends on their gay-wedding journeys, even if they disagree. I think most Christians and other traditional believers are going to end up in a similar place, because to do anything else is so hard. Not to celebrate with our friends, neighbors, and family members — to do that is not so much to exclude them but to exclude ourselves from their lives. Love, caretaking, commitment: These are all good things, right?

Yes, they are. Christians are going to be increasingly asked to explain what sounds inexplicable, irrational, bigoted, and hateful to the powerful, creative, vibrant secular community that surrounds us.

So I would sit down with my friend and tell them this:

Here’s what I think. We are born male and female, and marriage is the union of husband to wife that celebrates the necessity of the two genders’ coming together to make the future happen. I know you don’t think that. I know the law no longer thinks that. But I have staked my life on this truth.

The problem for me in celebrating your gay wedding, as much as I love you, is that I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt not only to commit yourself to a relationship that keeps you from God’s plan but, worse, I would be witnessing and celebrating your attempt to hold the man you love to a vow that he will avoid God’s plan. To vow oneself to sin is one thing, to try to hold someone you love to it — that’s not something I can celebrate.

And I would be party to the idea that two men can make a marriage, which I do not believe.

On your happy day you should be surrounded by people who can honor your vow and help you keep it. I can’t do that.

“Porneia” is a word in the Bible that has been much mistranslated. But I think it means a sexual relationship that cannot by its nature become a marriage. That’s why Christ said that marriage is forever, unless it is porneia.

I understand that you might well want to rupture our friendship over this, my honest view. I choose to love you both and keep you in my life.

But let us somehow against all odds find a way to love each other as we are, and not how each of us would wish the other to be.

— Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. She blogs at MaggieGallagher.com.

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