Same Sex Marriages: Contemporary Issues in Christianity
Ever since the protestant movement broke away from the mainstream church that was the catholic after the King of England disobedience of the pope, there have been controversies between the two denominations that seem to be unending. Among these issues include the much heated issue of same sex marriages. These include lesbians and gay people. Lesbians are women while gays are men. While the Catholic Church is totally against same sex marriage, Protestants are partially in support of the same especially the mainstream protestant churches in America and Britain. It is worth noting that the head of the Anglican Church which has had some controversies of homosexuals inclining positively towards the orientation is the king of England.
Same sex marriage involves a marriage in which the two marrying parties are of the same sex (Boswell, 1996). This includes a man and another man or a woman and another woman. Same sex marriages can also be said to be marriages in which there will be no offspring. This though is not to be confused with sexual acts between a man and a woman in which contraceptives are used to avoid conception and consequently reproduction.
Same sex marriages have been inherent in many cultures around the world for a long time in history. For instance during the reign of the Ming dynasty in China men as well as women would involve themselves into some special ceremonies with their fellow men and women respectively (Neill, 2009). The earliest ever record of homosexuality though occurred in the Roman Empire. An emperor known as Emperor Nero is on record as having involved himself in a homosexual act with a male servant in his palace (Neill, 2009). Another instance still in the Roman Empire is that of Emperor Elagabalus and a slave called Hierocles. Despite these occurrences, it is important to note that same sex marriages were not legal according to the Roman law. The Roman law only recognizes marriages between men and women. Home sexuality has also been recorded in the Greek society. The great Greek philosopher once claimed that the love of a man for another man led men to act in honorably.
There have been varying views among Christians concerning same sex marriages. According to the Christian doctrines, a marriage is a union between one man and one woman that is ordained by God (Rubio, 2003). Marriage is a respected institution among Christians but is not a must. Several of the Christian apostles like Paul and others never married. It is though expected that an unmarried person should practice sanctity and keep away from immorality at all costs.
According to the Catholic Church, a marriage should be between only one baptized man and another baptized woman (Rubio, 2003). Any other form of union irrespective of sex is considered by the Catholic Church as sin. Rubio (2003) continues to say that Catholics believe that a marriage should also be an institution where procreation takes place. It is due to this that the catholic faithful are against contraceptives in the marriage institution. Homosexuals therefore have no place in the catholic faith as they do not practice marriages of different sexes.
Homosexuals or same sex marriages are also incapable of procreation. This further distances them with the Catholics understanding of marriage. Pope Benedict who is currently the head of the Catholic Church stated very clearly that homosexuality was morally evil. He however went on to assert that despite the act being immoral, homosexuals should be despised or discriminated upon but should instead be welcomed to the church and given guidance, counsel and support. The Catholic Church does not allow homosexuals to be among its clergy and has continually been against any legal recognition of same sex marriages.
Protestants on the other hand have no major diverging views from those of the Catholics on the issue of marriage. Diverging views arise when it comes to the issue of same sex marriages. Some protestant churches fully acknowledge and accept homosexuals and consequently same sex marriages. Some like the Pentecostal fully discredit homosexuals and insist that they should repent of their sins to be accepted as Christians. Churches like the united church of Canada, church of Sweden, Episcopal Church and the united church among others do not consider homosexuality as immoral. They even allow same sex marriage ceremonies in their churches. In Britain the friends’ general conference is another protestant movement that supports same sex marriages and homosexuality (Boswell, 1996). The trend with which protestant movements supporting the same sex marriages is increasing is alarming. Some have even gone ahead and anointed some members of the clergy who are homosexuals. The stand against homosexuality and same sex marriages inherent with the Catholic Church is the major difference between the Catholics and the Protestants on this issue.
To be noted though is that though the Catholics and some of the protestant are against the practice of homosexuality, they both allow homosexuals to be among their congregation and encourage them to defect from the immoral and sinful practice. Many agitating groups though are emerging in these churches trying to defend the sexual orientation of the people practicing homosexuality as legal and religiously abiding. The church as a whole, not as Catholics or protestants need to take an affirmative stand on this issue as it is further subdividing the Christian faithfuls and threatening the institution of marriage.
Boswell, J. (1996).The Marriage of Likeness. Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe. London: Fontana.
Neill, J. (2009).The origins and role of same-sex relations in human societies. USA: McFarland Publishers.
Rubio, J. H. (2003). A Christian Theology of Marriage and Family. New York: Paulist Press.