The Common Good
May-June 1996

Marriage Rights and Rites

by Lynn Domina | May-June 1996

ELIZABETH MCALISTER'S March-April 1996 cover story, "Is Marriage
Obsolete?" was thought-provoking and perhaps more challenging
to the mainstream Christian community than she ...

ELIZABETH MCALISTER'S March-April 1996 cover story, "Is Marriage Obsolete?" was thought-provoking and perhaps more challenging to the mainstream Christian community than she realizes, for I have not heard a more cogent argument to support the extension of the right and rite of marriage to gay men and lesbians. I was struck by her characterization of mature human relationships as inherently nonviolent. I don't think I need to enumerate the implicitly and explicitly violent encounters gay men and lesbians face daily, violent encounters generally tolerated and occasionally actively encouraged by folks who profess Christianity.

Even more fundamental to this issue is her understanding of the destructive effects of secrecy on relationship and on community. Most Christian denominations currently prefer and frequently demand that we keep our relationships and commitments absolutely secret, even or especially when a high percentage of a denomination's clergy is gay. Secrecy will not set us free, and denial of human love is not our gospel call.

Lynn Domina
Franklin Square, New York

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