Revelations column: Gay marriage doesn't hurt the church

A historic shift occurred in American society this week.

Future generations will ask us to describe the American climate in 2013 regarding the Supreme Court's decision to execute two gay marriage-related rulings

The court's decisions entitle same-sex couples to federal benefits and effectively allow gays to marry in California. The court's rulings did not legalize gay marriage nationwide.

But it's a huge leap forward for "out" homosexuals, and the decision will inevitably change the future of American marriage.

I have friends on both sides of the gay marriage argument. There's my gay and straight friends, some of them Christian, some not, who overwhelmingly support the court's decision.

But I have an equal number of friends, most of them on the Christian political right, who think the ruling is a sign of the apocalypse.

I've spent a lot of time weighing the issue, reading and discussing it with friends and asking God for intellectual and spiritual eyes to process the issue beyond secular or sacred social cues.

I'm not naive enough to believe that secular and religious groups alike aren't guilty of using morality arguments when it suits them and ignoring them when they don't.

I don't want to simply fall into a camp because I may check a certain religious box.

I want to understand what gay marriage means for society beyond media rhetoric and the assumptions of Christian fatalists.

I think in the past two or three years, I've changed directions on the issue about five times.

But regardless of where you or I stand on gay marriage, a victory is near for the homosexual community.

A Pew study released earlier this month reports 72 percent of the nation believes gay marriage is inevitable.

That figure includes 85 percent of gay marriage supporters and 59 percent of those who oppose it.

What the study implies is that even those who oppose gay marriage believe it's only a matter of time before it's legal nationwide.

As a Christian, I'm very aware the gay marriage debate isn't about sin or morality. It's about a person's rights. It's about equality. It's about United States democracy.

Most of my dear friends know I want to marry one day and to a man who recognizes how important Christ is for the maturity and survival of our marriage. They know I desire my ceremony to be administered by my favorite pastor, and I want us to be prayed over before we take Holy Communion.

But I don't represent every American. Marriage in this country isn't always a Christian or even a religious union.

Citizens of this country are marrying right now at this moment who do not assert as Christian or any other religious identity. Some don't believe in God. Some are atheists, agnostics or pantheists. Some are Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist.

Some are too young when they wed to have decided on a faith.

Some have been married and divorced 12 times and believe their 13th life partner will be the one that lasts forever.

Some want to wed at a courthouse with a judge and make no mention of God.

Are they allowed to marry in the United States? Yes.

Are they allowed to access the personal property and state and federal benefits of their spouse? Yes.

Are they allowed to visit their spouses in the hospital when they're injured or handle their loved ones' final wishes should they unexpectedly die? Yes.

If they divorce, are they entitled to a fair and legal division of property and parental rights to children either biological or adopted? Yes.

So why are we continuing to argue that Christian morality is the reason gay marriage shouldn't exist? The "Bible says" argument doesn't apply for everyone.

If homosexuals are U.S. citizens, they should be entitled to the same rights as any other heterosexual.

Like it or not, gay marriage is inevitable - just like interracial marriage and the end to Jim Crow segregation.

Christianity isn't about Christian marriages. It's about knowing Jesus and believing he's the divine son of God.

We should be focused first on honoring God, living our faith and loving our neighbors.

And if you really want to evangelize to the gay community, befriend them and love them like Christ loved the church.

God will take care of the rest.

Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or jlpreyss@vicad.com or @jenniferpreyss on Twitter.