Ever since we announced our engagement, we’ve been dealing with some pretty intense levels of religious condemnation from my fiancee’s family. We have received many emails, phone calls, and letters asking us to give up our “sinful ways.” It hurts like hell, and I don’t know for sure the best way to deal with it. We have done our best to remain open, to be loving at all times, and to set clear boundaries for our own well-being.
In the hope that it may help others find words, I thought I would share our responses here.
In response to an email using the Bible to tell us that we are sinners, that the pleasures of sin fade, that we have holes in our hearts where Jesus should be, and that our sin is going to kill us:
I love you too, more than I can say. And I can accept that this is how you feel. I have heard you, and I am not asking you to compromise your beliefs. You are right that as children, we were taught that homosexuality is a sin. I have struggled since childhood to reconcile my sexual orientation with those religious beliefs, which resulted in [shame, self-abuse, etc.]. Though you may not understand what I have gone through, please accept that for me, the choice was not between being straight or gay, but between being dead or alive.
I have chosen a life that fulfills me and makes me a better person. I have found a new relationship with God, who loves and accepts all of his children. For the first time in my life, I am deeply happy. Please understand that I will not be coming home because I can’t do so without compromising my own beliefs or disrespecting my wife. I would never expect my partner to be able to fill my every need, but I am devoted to caring for her and loving her. That’s not something I feel I can do at Mom’s house. If that ever changes in the future, I would be really happy to be able to go home again. I miss you all.
In response to an email citing scripture to prove that God does not love us or accept our choice to be homosexuals:
We will just have to agree to disagree. You believe that being gay is a sinful choice I am making in defiance of the Lord. I know that I will not change your mind on that. I also know that I had no choice in my sexual orientation. This is the way I was created. You will not change my mind on that.
You do not understand the harm you are doing to me or to your relationship with me, so I am telling you now that any future attempts to condemn me or my actions will result in severely limited contact between us.
If you are sincerely interested in the biblical support for gay marriage, please reference:
- The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart, by Patrick Achtemaier
- God and the Gay Christian, by Matthew Vines
- To Melt a Golden Calf, by Peter Aelred
If you are more interested in a secular reflection of the experiences of gay people, I would recommend:
Let’s get an even bigger list going… What are YOUR go-to responses to religious condemnation?