Andrew Pate, Jr., BAUTAustin; M.Div. Emory;STM, Th.D. Graduate Theological Union. Dr. Pate has been an ordained ministory since 1959.

IN RECENT YEARS, there have been huge advances in the better treatment of and in greater respect for the rights of homosexuals.   I applaud every step along that way.  Every human being is worthy of equality and justice; and I staunchly believe that every human effort in that direction is worthy of Christian support.

Yet, I have a big problem with some of the attending developments, namely, the push to approve, or define homosexuality commitments as marriages.

My basic question is, and has been for some time:  How can a homosexual commitment be the same as that between a man and a woman?  Homosexual and heterosexual are, by definition, different orientations.  In other words, there is a basic difference between them that cannot and ought not be ignored.

Words must mean what they say.  And we should use them accordingly.  We simply do not say apples and oranges ae the same; there are different varieties for each, but an apple is not an orange.

More importantly, as a Christian minister, I know that the Bible and historical Christianity support the belief that the marriage between and man and a woman is a holy event (a sacrament); and basic to societal well-being.    The home established by a man and a woman is the “cradle” of civilization, so to speak, and the bedrock of human existence.

Recent developments, however, have included serious attempts to alter that historic position.   “Why should not two people who love one another be able to marry?” is the frequent argument.

Which poses fundamental questions for me: When we refer to “love” what do we mean?  And how is the “love” of one homosexual for another the same as, or similar to the “love” between opposite sexes?

I submit they are different.   In the first instance, marriage between a man and a woman carries with it the intent to have children by sexual intercourse and to commit to building a home in which each child is to be nurtured so as to live out his or her adult life in a responsible manner.

In the second instance, men and women differ, by their sexuality, as is commonly understood.

Not always, but in general:  women are more emotional and it is widely assumed they will “change their mind” more often than their male counterparts.   And, it is a fact that women menustate, men do not.

But, I have been told:  homosexuals have emotional differences in much the same manner as do males and femalies in relationships.  Are they now? I ask and confess; I do not know.  But I do know that my relationships to my male friends are different from my relationships to my wife and to other women.

Understand, I passionately want human beings of all sexual orientation to be the recipients of respect and dignity.

I want that for single people, married people, and all other persons committed to a long-term relationship.

Shourld a committed relationship between homosexual be named something else? Perhaps a "pairiage"?

But not marriage.

If gays understand my argument  I am convinced they will agree.  For then, they can define the special nature of their commitments more accurately.

In modern times, since WWII possibly, we humans have made trash of Christian marriage, moving in and out if the institution as though it’s more a matter of convenience than anything else.

I know.  I am a widower who has been twice divorced, before experiencing 25 years in a genuine, blissfully-blessed  Christian marriage.

May God bless our sameness, but also the uniqueness each of us brings to every one of our relationships.

We are very much a work in progress.  Your critique, your support are greatly appreciated.


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