The U.S. Supreme Court has made a history-changing ruling, legalising same-sex marriages.
I am a Christian. I came to church when I was 18, met my husband, had my 3 kids, had a career, made lifelong friends… all within the compounds of the church. The church, God, worship, the teaching, the values have all shaped my life, my outlook on life and my value system.
So much has been talked about this topic. And emotions are running high, and sometimes some reactions are so ill-balanced, it gives me a perpetual frown while reading it. Like the Canberra couple who’ve announced that they plan to divorce if same-sex marriages are legalised in Australia – but yet, they still intend to live like they’re married, but they apparently feel that such a move in Australia means the very thing that makes a marriage now “has an altogether different sense and purpose”.
Or the recent news about same-sex couples who are forcing or suing their way to ensure they get the wedding that they want, having scant regard for the religious beliefs of these same business owners who might not feel comfortable to provide said service.
What is my stand?
If same-sex marriage is allowed in Australia, and if I have friends who wish to get married, will I go to their wedding? It took probably a minute of reflection, and my answer would be yes. My Christian beliefs might mean that I don’t subscribe to their lifestyle, but as a friend, I can certainly celebrate their “big day” with them. After all, we had close friends who flew in to Singapore, sat in our church, and they are a lesbian couple who didn’t subscribe to our Christian beliefs, and yet thought it fitting and justifiable to blow a huge expense to celebrate our “big day” with us.
There will be some same-sex couples who’d be more than happy to sign on a piece of paper to stamp their commitment to each other. There are some heterosexual couples that do that too. But I also know of other heterosexual couples who are very happy NOT being married, and just being together. Marriage? No thanks, for them. And similarly, I think there will be same-sex couples who are also happy with the status quo.
When Nic & I got married, we had a total of three different “ceremonies”, each to fulfill “marriage” in different aspects. We had the solemn signing of the marriage certificate, so that in the eyes of the law, we were now legally married. We said our marriage vows, exchanged our rings, served communion to one another, lit the unity candle, had a prayer of blessing said over us by our pastor, in front of our church mates and friends… and we were married in the eyes of God. We had a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, offering tea to our parents and relatives, we held a huge dinner at Orchard Hotel, to also announce to our relatives that hey – yeah, we’re married!
More than just a signature, marriage is still marriage – it is a commitment to stay put, and to stay true. Can a Supreme Court ruling threaten the sanctity of marriage? Only if you let it. I look at my husband, at my kids, and my life has not changed one iota from the ruling.
Do you want to show your kids what marriage is, how to respect your partner, what God intends for a marriage? Well, then show them. By your own marriage, by your own actions, show and teach them.
But let’s not impose. Let’s not impose our religious beliefs on others. Yes, I believe marriage is sacred, it is between a man and a woman – but some people don’t, and they too have a right to live their lives how they want. A country may have “Christian values” or be steeped in Christian history… but it doesn’t mean that the rights of non-Christians should be overlooked. On the flip side, you can live where, say, polygamy is an accepted practice, but if you do not personally subscribe to it, that is fine too.
As a parent, this is how I will broach this with the kids (as with many other topics). Different people choose different paths. In God’s word, it says we should do this. Not everyone agrees with God (or agrees there is a God), so not everyone does it. But we do believe, and therefore we do.
Everything has changed.
And nothing has changed at the same time.
Parenting is still a matter of instilling right values, and sometimes society doesn’t help. Say, sex before marriage? Others may, others do, but we will teach abstinence. Will the kids listen? I hope so. I hope our love and support and guidance helps them make the right decision, when the time comes. But it is their decision to make, and as parents we can only pray they will make the right one.