4 Reasons this Christian Family Supports Marriage Equality

Updated 2.15 – On Thursday, the Illinois Senate voted on and passed SB – 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.  It now moves on to the House where it will await a final vote before becoming law.  The bill, if passed, will grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry in the State of Illinois.  The bill will not, however, require any clergy to perform marriage ceremonies against their faith traditions.  I write this letter of support as a Christian lay person aware of the movement within many churches toward welcoming all of God’s children as we are, regardless of our sexual orientation.

Updated 11.5.13 – With today’s historic vote, my home state of Illinois will become the 15th state make Marriage Equality the law.  

{Image for Believe Out Loud and their Facebook page.} 

Many of the arguments over same-sex marriage and homosexuality center on religion.  As a religious person who also believes in equality regardless of sexual orientation, this is disheartening.  However, I know that any frustration I may feel regarding this debate pales in comparison to the hurt that many of my LGBT friends have experienced over a lifetime.  It is with great respect for brothers and sisters truly at the heart of this issue that I hope to offer something constructive to the conversation.  What follows are responses to some common “faith” based arguments regarding homosexuality, and four reasons why I feel compelled as a Christian to voice support for marriage equality.

1. There are well-researched and faithful readings of the Bible that support full inclusion and equal rights for the LGBT community.  But, some will say, the Bible clearly says that homosexuality is an abomination!  Or, is it just homosexual acts?  Or is it just the Old Testament.  Wait, what did Jesus say?  Maybe it is not quite so “clear.”  While many are quick to cite a few select verses to support antigay beliefs, one can also find verses condemning eating shrimp (another abomination) and even condoning taking your rebellious child to the city gate to be stoned.  Thankfully, there is a stunning lack of support for this ‘biblical’ child-rearing tactic.  In other words, when we cherry pick or read without historical context, we can use the Bible to defend or promote any number of issues from slavery, to women’s rights, to whether or not to spank our children.  The point here is that a Bible verse taken out of context can be harmful, and we must be careful to thoughtfully consider the Bible’s text in light of our experience, history and tradition.


2. The Biblical call to “go forth and multiply” is no longer as critical to the continuing of humankind.  Many argue that same-sex couples are not able to have biological children and therefore their union is not natural.  While it is true that same-sex partners cannot procreate (without donors, gestational carries, medical intervention, etc.), it is also true that 10-15% of heterosexual couples are infertile and often unable to have biological children without medical intervention.  And, many heterosexual couples choosenot to have children.  Do we grant marriage rights only to those who are biologically able and/or choose to have children?  Do we recognize the commitment of these childless heterosexual couples as less than?  Of course not, that would be ridiculous, right?  With a world population of over 7 billion, humankind is likely to continue to thrive (in terms of population, at least) whether or not every married couple is biologically able or chooses to reproduce.


3. For many Christians, the call to follow Jesus leaves no choice but to treat our LGBT brothers and sisters as equalsMany feel that this is not only justified, but what is demanded by the Gospel of Jesus. While there is much debate over the translation and context of a few Old Testament verses, in the gospels, Jesus was actually rather silent on the issue of homosexuality.  However, he was very clear in his call for justice and love of neighbor above all else.  Time after time, Jesus is a champion for the oppressed, the minority, the meek.  Is it all that radical to believe that Jesus would welcome gay brothers and sisters into the church with open arms? Too radical to believe he may even go a step beyond and wash their feet as he did his disciples?  Perhaps the lack of any evidence that Jesus turned them away is evidence enough that he welcomed them in.  Let us focus our efforts on heeding that call, as demonstrated by Jesus, for social justice.  Let us be known for that.  After all, shouldn’t the church be the one safe place for us to be who we are?  Aren’t we called by Jesus to be the church?


4. Regardless of what our individual interpretation of scripture tells us; let’s look at what’s happening in the present day. Let us ask ourselves the following question: What do we honestly believe to be the greater sin?  Do we stand by and watch as our society and our churches treat our brothers and sisters as less than equal, stand idle as our LGBT youth attempt suicide at a rate five times greater than that of straight youth, and feel satisfied with a message (at best) of “we love you, but you must change.”  Or, do we commit the ‘sin’ of treating everyone as an equal regardless of the object of their consensual relationship, reach out – sincerely – to youth struggling with issues of rejection and self-worth, and proclaim, boldly, “Welcome.  Come as you are.  God loves you.  We love you.”


And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…


A version of this post can also be seen on Believe Out Loud, Reconciling Ministries Network.




  1. Great post! Thanks for linking up.

  2. Hello, I’m visiting from the family link up. First, I just want to say that I really liked your post and felt it was well written.

    I consider myself a very conservative Christian, but homosexuality and marriage equality are topics I get a bit torn over too. I used to be a very liberal, live and let live type before coming to Christ. I was pro abortion and now am pro life, I was also all for marriage equality and now? Well, I think I still am, even though I am a strong believer in traditional/biblical marriage. Let me explain.

    I really do not feel comfortable with voting against someone else’s right to marry. I don’t think anyone should be forced to marry a same sex couple if they do not want to, but I’m not sure we should say they can’t get married at all. I do understand the stance that allowing them to marry would redefine marriage and such, but really I will personally always value marriage and it won’t redefine it for me or my family and look around at how heterosexual couples (hollywood and average joes) have made marriage a laughing matter to society. Also, I’m about as worried about homosexual couples destroying the population as I am about quiverfull couples causing a harmful increase in it, which is not at all. I also go back and forth with the idea of them being born that way or not as well as many other things you mentioned, like why people call homosexuality an abomination but not other things from the OT. I also agree we need to be more loving towards the LGBT community.

    However, I do think that God created man and woman for a reason, and that we complement one another in more ways than just our private parts and making babies together. All of scriptures references to marriage mention husbands and wives, implying a man and woman of course, because no matter how “butch” a woman is or how feminine a man is they can’t be a husband or a wife, and I think that means something. I also believe that while the church needs to be more loving to others, we also need to be truthful. I see too many people just living in sin sitting comfortably in church pews. Why? Because no one is speaking truth into their lives. Yes you should come as you are, but a relationship with Jesus is supposed to change people. It is up to God and by studying his word that we know what needs to change, but I really think some things are so clear it is ridiculous that it is just being accepted in churches and people who call themselves Christians are not being challenged to grow closer to Christ and experience change. I am not necessarily saying that towards homosexuals, it really applies to lots of people and their sins (some they live very publicly that could be addressed).

    Anyway, I have heard arguments from both sides that make sense to me, but I feel my main thing to do even when I feel I don’t know exactly what my stance is is to love people. You will not catch me yelling hateful words or damning them to hell with colorful signs. I have seen so many members of the LGBT community hurting and living really destructively and I think we should bring them to Jesus and let him do the judging and changing, however he sees fit.

    • Thank you so much for reading and for your very thoughtful comment. I think it is so brave to say that there are aspects of Christianity that we struggle with and have questions about. I think that paves the way for real, helpful dialogue and progress. Thank you for sharing your beliefs and ideas here.

    • Glancing through the comments, I think it’s fair to say Christians (and non-Christians) on either side (or no side at all!) of this issue can feel alienated quite easily–it is sad to me that we’ve reached the point in our country where we are no longer able to have civil, constructive dialogues. People damning other people to hell makes my stomach sick. So thank you, Holli, for your sharing your thoughts in such a clear, constructive kind of way!
      Del, I feel like your comment was very thoughtful, and you express some of my concerns as a Christian viewing homosexuality. Holli, I feel like your points 2,3, and 4 are quite relevant, as our your concerns in viewing the bible in context–I’d second your thoughts on how vital it is to view the Old Testament in its proper context to the New! Even in that view, however, I do believe that the New Testament calls marriage a leaving and cleaving between a man and a woman–not two men or two women. Does Jesus love gays and lesbians? Oh, YES! Does he love me despite my perfect adherence to His plan? YES! Does he want something better for us than the wrong turns we take and the wrong paths we choose? YES!! Does this make things easy or simple or not-painful? NO. But we have a Savior who knows our needs–no matter who or what those needs may be. While Christ despised the religious hypocrites of his day, choosing instead the humblest and cast-out of his world, he also always spoke truth into the lives of the people he encountered. The women at the well and the women caught in adultery are two stories that most readily come to mind, but there are many more. Christ was never content to just share a meal or break bread–after all, he came (at least in part) to change us for the better, didn’t he?

    • Thank you, Sarah, for your thoughtful comments as well. I find it encouraging that we seem to all agree that we can do more as Christians to reach our to our LGBT brothers and sisters to share God’s love. This is definitely something that can unite us, despite our differences. I do think our message can get complicated, though, when we say, “God loves you, but…” I know so many of us struggle with this. (And by “us,” I mean Christians on both sides of the issue, the LGBT community, and even the many openly LGBT Christians. Which, despite the sometimes less than welcoming message from the church, still pursue a public relationship with God…which I find so courageous.

      Also, Sarah, you bring up a really important part of Jesus’ ministry. He does reach out to the out-casts AND free them of their sins. The question remains, then, is loving someone of the same sex and being in a committed relationship a sin? Despite the fact that faithful Christians have different answers to this question, I hope that we can all (myself included) do more to reach out. Thank you so much for your comment, I also so appreciate constructive dialogue on this issue.

  3. “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…” Truly says it all for me! Thanks for sharing your views in such a constructive, loving way!

  4. A well thought out and logical arguement. Your 1. Point is almost exactly what I say when defending equality in context of the bible!

    • Hi Jean,

      I see the link you provided and I do understand that there is a middle ground where many faithful Christians stand. (For example, see Adam Hamilton links provided at the end of the post. He is a very well respected Pastor who is somewhere in the middle ground, though, admittedly, leaning towards full inclusion.) I understand the reasoning of the author in this post as well, though we would debate over our interpretation of scripture. In the end, we will never know who is “right” so-to-speak, but I will always go back to my point #4. (Which, is also stated much better than I could in this post by Rachel Held Evans: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/huck-finn-hell.)

      Thank you for reading, my friend. I know this is a conversation we may well continue into the future.

  5. I love this so much! As a Christian who supports marriage equality, I find myself up against a brick wall sometimes. New follower and commenter from http://fluffimama.blogspot.com/

  6. Holli-

    I bookmarked your website and check in from time to time. It had been a while since I visited, and then today happened upon this post. I remember you from a cruise in 2009– you met me and my partner through mutual friends. I still think back on that trip with a lot of fondness!

    At any rate, there isn’t too much I’m prepared to say on this topic as it relates to Christianity. But I’d like to say “thank you” for posting this. My experience growing up was having to go to church 3 times a week and then spend many Saturdays proselytizing. I spent my first 17 years hating myself and wondering why God would make me this way only to turn around and hate me right back or ask me to change. I was almost just a statistic not unlike the one you cited above. So needless to say I had quite my fill of church and anything church-related by the time I went off to college. And I haven’t looked back. That was almost 20 years ago.

    In the intervening years I’ve had many occasions to visit other churches and have never felt a “calling” to any one of them. And I’ve been very reluctant to visit many other times simply because of the fear of how I might be received as an openly gay man. Just to qualify that last statement, I am who I am. I don’t make any effort to thrust it into conversation. In the South I don’t even let others get too close if I think they might hold negative views towards gay people. It’s ironic that some heterosexuals (not here on this post, just in my personal experiences) have said they don’t like gay people pushing their “lifestyles” on them, and yet it’s those same people who make an issue of it should it even come out. Some may ask, “Why does it even need to come out?” and to that I’d reply “Has anyone ever asked you if you’re married, have kids, live alone or with someone, currently dating anyone, etc.?” I would ask them to spend just one day censoring everything they say and do based on their heterosexuality. Just do it for one day. Go somewhere you’ve never been, put yourself in a situation with a lot of strangers, and try your best to “hide” your heterosexuality and not let it come out.

    But enough of the soapbox. I guess the gist of what I’m saying is that the Christian love you extend your gay brothers and sisters is admirable and appreciated. It’s that level of unconditional acceptance that would draw me back to the church. It’s that depth of love that I admire in my Christian friends. I can’t count the number of times over the years I have been completely and utterly turned off by some of the things Christians have said about gay people. But I could count the number of times on two hands I’ve met Christians who embodied the very spirit of their faith wholeheartedly and without judgement. That isn’t a wholesale condemnation of all Christians, it has just been my experience. So to the folks like you, I say “thank you” and to those on the other side of the fence I would ask if the outward expression of their faith is meant to attract or repel.

    I don’t identify as Christian per se, but I do have a personal relationship with a God who has a purpose for me and has blessed me with a partner who is absolutely the best guy in the world as far as I’m concerned. I have found more peace in my relationships with God, my partner, and all my loving Christian friends than anywhere or any other time in my life. I’ve given up trying to “figure it all out” and have accepted that as long as I trust in God, He’ll lead me where I need to go. So if I can’t figure out God’s master plan, why should anyone else feel compelled to do it for me or try to interpret for God on my behalf? God’s got this. :)

    Faith. Hope. Love. Which is the greatest?

    Glad to hear you and the family are doing well. Thanks again for a thoughtful post. It made my day.



    • Tim,

      Your words brought me to tears. Thank YOU for being so courageous and sharing your experience here. I think sometimes we get so caught up talking *about* LGBT issues and the church, and not enough time talking *to* one another. And, I know I’ve been guilty of that myself and worried how these words would be received by people who have lived their lives with the primarily exclusive message from the church. I know that others who see your words and be moved as well.

      My own experience with the church is somewhat opposite…not involved growing up, but drawn back in and after college. I have to say that I am so grateful to have found a church (and some amazing pastors) who are working so faithfully toward creating a welcoming atmosphere. I also shared this essay in our local paper, and the response was overwhelmingly positive, especially from my church community. It is not something that is happening overnight (even here in the “liberal” North), but there is definitely a strong movement towards a church where all are welcome to come as we are. I really feel passionately about working towards this movement, and your words help confirm that for me even more. We can only hope any change we make is not too little, too late.

      Again, thank you so much for your words. They are so powerful. Scott is sitting across from me right now re-reading for the third time. We, too, remember our trip with fond memories and send our best to you and D.

      Thank you, Tim.


  7. Beautiful! As a fellow Christian, I agree with you! I’m going to share this on G+…

  8. What I really appreciate about this article is the exhortation to love! Wow, the power of love is absolutely amazing, and everyone should experience love. Love from people is great and a blessing, but the love of the Lord is beyond comprehension. Anyone touched by the power of His love is changed, can never be the same.

    Let’s be careful though, because love is not equality. Love is looking out for the best of others…the best! Isn’t great that God wants our best. Even when we don’t know what is best for us, God does. He sees beyond time, beyond our circumstances, beyond our hurts, beyond our society.

    I want to point out that our love is tainted and fails. Only the love of Jesus is perfect. Therefore, we ought to be careful that above all else we are seeking the kingdom of God. Additionally, I want to love people so much that I do not pollute what the truth is and fall into society’s watered down love.

    I honestly think it is clear in Scripture that God intended marriage for a man and woman to be married. However, God loves us so much and is a gentleman that He won’t force us. The world wanted a King. God said that they did not need a king because they had Him, but He would provide it because that is what the world wanted. Here is a specific sexuality reference from the New Testament in line with God granting us what we want. Romans 1 describes how we (v.25) “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” Then this passage specifically mentions woman to woman relationships and man to man relationships. Then verse 28 says “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” God has given us a choice to follow His best plan or not. He’s not going to force us.

    There is so much more to this because it is about people, and I believe that those who are LGBT should not be singled out, treated as lesser people, etc. As mentioned earlier, Jesus came for the oppressed. The difference though is that when He was at the well with the woman from Samaria who had five husbands, He told her to “go and sin no more.” That definitely is not a welcome for people to judge and condemn because we are all sinners, but it is a picture of how God wants us in the most pure, holy way possible.

    For anyone interested here is a Biblical perspective from a pastor who welcomes all, regardless of sexual orientation, to his church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c8rGtTZCnM.

    • Hi Katie,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and for your thoughtful reply. I also appreciate that we both feel that we have to do better as members of the church. What I’m struggling with is how do we welcome people into the church without allowing them to be who they are as God made them. I don’t think this is possible. I also think that message can be so hurtful, even if unintentional. I cannot imagine the feeling of sitting in the pews and feeling like I had to change who I was at my core being in order to follow God’s plan. (I try to imagine God not wanting me to share my life with my husband or children despite having blessed me with a great love for them and their presence in my life.) I think this is what has typically been the welcoming message that the church has been sending, and it is not working. If only the message were really “Come as you are…love whom you love.” How powerful might it be if we (who may never really know who is “right”) simply removed any barriers to God via the church for our LGBT brothers and sisters. There are more and more churches doing this now and, for me, this is where I see God’s love and hope for us.

      In the end, I know both perspectives on this issue do want the same thing…to extend God’s love to everyone. Which, I believe, He has already done.

      Thanks again for your comments.


  9. I just started following your blog.GOD is to do the final judgement and until then we need to love ALL of our brothers and siters NO MATTER what! Your post was worded wonderfully.I will e returning to your blog for sure to hear what else you have to share :)

  10. Hi Holli,
    Thanks for sharing this post and graciously allowing discussion. I can tell that you write out of a deep desire to be kind and loving.

    I hope your post will encourage Christians to be kind and loving because violence, sarcasm, and mean words are never appropriate ways to talk to or about homosexuals.

    However, like some of your other readers/commenters, I believe we can oppose homosexuality and consider it a sin without being unkind or unloving.

    And my main difference with what you’ve written is your view of Scripture.

    In your #1 point, it seems like you are saying that we can’t determine which Old Testament laws apply to us today (you quoted all O.T. laws in this explanation).

    There are explanations for why the O.T. laws were given, and I’d be glad to share those with you, if you are interested. But the easiest way to know if a command applies to Christians today is to ask: Is it commanded in the N.T.? If it is, then it’s applicable.

    I’ve actually written a 4 part series on Old Testament vs. New Testament laws here, if you are interested:

    Even if we omit all Old Testament laws/warnings about homosexuality, we will find several very clear N.T. passages describing homosexuality as a sin. And since we know that God is Love, we know that whatever He forbids He forbids to prevent us from damaging our souls. His warning against homosexuality is a loving warning, like a parent who warns their child of danger.

    You also seemed to be saying in point #3 that only the quotes of Jesus can be trusted, not the rest of Scripture. This is also a departure from the view held by most Bible-believing Christians. We trust the entire Bible as the Word of God. Actually, the quotes of Jesus were written down by men too, so in the end, you are trusting that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were honest, accurate, and divinely inspired when they wrote them. I believe all of Scripture is honest, accurate and divinely inspired, and, therefore, all of it represents the thoughts of Jesus.

    Again, I appreciate that your desire is to be kind and loving, but I felt it was important to explain how your view of Scripture differs from the view of most Bible-believing Christians.

    Thank you for this opportunity to explain my views more fully,

    • Hi Gail,

      Thank you for reading and reflecting. I do appreciate your comments and want to respond to one specific idea. Yes, we do hold different views of scripture in that our interpretation is different. But, I want to clarify that while my view differs from yours and *some* Bible-believing Christians, they do not differ from many other Bible-believing Christians.

      My pastors are Bible-believing Christians who call for inclusion and acceptance of LGBT members, many from my church are Bible-believing Christians who believe in acceptance regardless of orientation, many churches that are already open and affirming to all regardless of orientation are led by Bible-believing Christians and minister to Bible-believing Christians. (As well as the Bible-believing Christians cited in my article, Rev. Adam Hamilton, Rachel Held Evans, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop Talbert, and many, many more.)

      I will yield to you that we interpret the Bible differently, and please know that I respect that, but I will affirm that we are both faithful and Bible-believing Christians, as are the many, many others who also believe in opening our doors to full inclusion for all regardless of orientation.

      Again, thank you for sharing your time and thoughts. I really believe that this dialogue (in general, not just specifically here) can move us all forward.

      Thank you,

      As a resource for anyone interested, you can find open and affirming congregations here: UMC Reconciling Ministries Network – http://www.rmnetwork.org/find-a-church/ (Note: There are other denominations that are fully including LGBT into their ministries, UCC, for example, but this resource is specific to the UMC.)

    • Hi Holli,
      The term “Bible-believing” wasn’t the best term for me to use. I’m sorry it came across as an insult. I can see why it might offend you, and I apologize.

      Those who believe as I believe are typically labeled “evangelicals” or “Bible-believing Christians.”

      But I should have explained how I was using those terms.

      I agree with what you wrote: “we do hold different views of scripture.” But I would add that it’s not simply about our interpretation of certain passages, it’s about the way we approach Scripture in general.

      I approach the Bible as being God’s inerrant Word (with all N.T. commands applicable today whether stated by Christ or not), and (if I understand you correctly) you believe that some of the N.T. commands (specifically those calling homosexuality a sin) are not God’s Word and/or not applicable today.

      I apologize if you felt I was attacking you or your church. That was not my intent. As I said before, I believe you wrote this post out of a desire to be kind and loving. And my desire was to offer the “evangelical”* view, not insult you.
      * I don’t use this term to mean your church is not evangelistic…I use it for lack of a better way to explain myself.

    • Hi Gail,

      I, too, apologize for jumping to the defense. (This is not the first time I’ve felt I’ve had to “go to bat” for those of us Christians who see the gray in the Bible’s words.) I do understand you are speaking to your view as well as those who also share this view. I guess another way to say is that we represent both the ‘conservative’ Christian view as well as the ‘liberal’…though, still, maybe not the best words as that assigns a sort of politics to Christianity.

      I will say, though, that our conversation here regarding the meaning of the terms “evangelic” and “Bible-believing” (or ‘conservative’ vs ‘liberal’) actually highlight an important idea. Just as we (and others) assign different meaning to those words, we can do the same for some critical words in the Bible. (For example, the reference(s) to homosexuality in the NT as you suggest. Does the word used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 imply a forced act? Only male/male as opposed the female/female as the Greek root word seems to specifically reference male behavior? Does it forbid a consenting relationship/act or rather a sort taking advantage of? How was the word used in the culture, time, and climate when it was written? Etc.

      I do believe that the message of the OT and the NT apply today, but that we have to continue to work to discern that message from the words written.

      Thank you, though, as your comment and those of others are definitely making me think. (Which I appreciate as it tends to be a good faith exercise for me in the long run.)

      Thanks again for sharing,

  11. Your blog post deeply touched my heart, and I have shared it with my friends. My Christian family (the three of us :) We’re still small, but growing) support marriage equality, and I am shocked and a little saddened by how little Christian support there seems to be in general on this issue. To me, it’s a no brainer. Love thy neighbor. It’s that easy. There’s no qualifiers there. And I’m trying my best to do just that. You don’t have to love like me, but God does ask that you love me. And I love you. If the whole world could just pass that around, we might survive this thing called life.

  12. Absolutely beautiful! This was so well written and heartfelt. I am a gay man in a loving and committed relationship. We live in Tennessee and do not have the right to marry… yet. It is a daily battle that we go through and hope that soon enough it will no longer be anything more than a memory. This blog entry was so touching and moving. MY partner and myself are both sharing this on our Facebook page and hope that even just one person has a change of heart after reading this. Thank you so much for these words you have written.

    • Honored for the opportunity to share. Thank you so much for your kind words as well. I wish you and your partner the very best. Hope you are able to see and feel some of the love and support for equality that I have seen on social media these last few days. I think many hearts are slowly starting to open.

  13. thank you for writing and posting this. You are a brave lady and I know God will call you “good and faithful servant” when you get to Heaven!

  14. thank you for writing and posting this. You are a brave lady and I know God will call you “good and faithful servant” when you get to Heaven!

  15. I feel the same way. This is a great post and I don’t feel so alone in my feelings on this now.

  16. When God created humans, he designed us to live in families. Family relationships, therefore, are important to God. Even the church, the universal body of believers, is called the family of God. When we receive God’s Spirit at salvation, we are adopted into his family. This collection of Bible verses about family will help you focus on the various relational aspects of a godly family unit.

  17. Holli, this post is so heartwarming to read! It makes my liberal heart beat faster to find another Christian who supports marriage equality. Thank you for being that person and thank you for sharing your views publicly.

    Be Well,
    The Lady Kay

    p.s. Visiting from RootandBlossom blog hop!


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