Eugene Cho

‘everything but marriage’

from seattlestToday will be a significant day in the States of Washington as Gov. Chris Gregoire is set to sign into law a measure that would expand the state’s domestic partnership law to include “everything but marriage.” The bill would give additional spousal rights and benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex couples and unmarried senior heterosexual couples, in various areas of state law.

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, this post (w/ its 330+ comments) explains why I hold to a ‘traditional’ view of homosexuality.  But having said, I think its preposterous that same sex couples in monogamous relationships don’t have access to the same benefits of heterosexual married couples.  The “everything but marriage” expands the domestic partnership laws that gives gay and lesbian couples all the state-provided benefits that married heterosexual couples have.

What do you think? Let’s be respectful in our conversations.

I support the changes; I, speaking only for myself, believe that marriage is between one man and one woman but the notion that same sex couples can’t have the same access to all the benefits Minhee and I have access to is ridunkulous. But I’ll be honest and share that I still wrestle with the ‘rights related to adoption’ not because I don’t think same sex couples can’ t be loving parents but because of the traditional view I have about homosexuality.  But that’s another post.

But ugh, a referendum movement (Referendum 71) to overturn this law has already been put together with hopes of getting it on the ballot in November in Washington. And while it may not get as intense or ugly as Prop 8 in California, I suspect it’ll get heated especially in the upcoming weeks as the referendum needs about 150,000 votes to get on the bill:

Opponents of the state’s new “everything but marriage” law for same-sex domestic partners rushed to Olympia last week to file Referendum 71. The clock is ticking, and they only have until July 25th to gather 120,577 valid voter signatures. Assuming a cushion of about 25 percent for duplicate signatures, Mickey Mouses, people not registered to vote, etc., they’ll probably need about 150,000.

There are some of the new changes w/ the the ‘everything but marriage’ law:

  • The right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner.
  • The right to wages and benefits when a domestic partner is injured, and to unpaid wages upon the death of a domestic partner.
  • The right to unemployment and disability insurance benefits.
  • The right to workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Insurance rights, including rights under group policies, policy rights after the death of a domestic partner, conversion rights and continuing coverage rights.
  • Rights related to adoption, child custody and child support.
  • Business succession rights.

The current domestic partnership law already addresses:

  • Some public assistance provisions, such as access to state-funded domestic violence shelters.
  • Rights and obligations for public officials’ domestic partners to file public disclosure reports.
  • Probate and trust laws.
  • Guardianship and power of attorney issues.
  • Judicial process and victim rights, including testimonial privileges that allow domestic partners the right to refuse to testify against each other in court.
  • Dissolution, parenting plans and child support laws.
  • Community property and other property rights and responsibilities.
  • Homestead exemption laws.
  • Health care facility visitation rights.
  • Ability to grant consent for health care for a partner who is not competent. Health care providers can disclose patient information to the patient’s partner.
  • Title and rights to cemetery plots and rights of interment.
  • Right to control disposition of a deceased partner’s remains, including right to make anatomical gifts, authorize autopsies and consent to remove partner’s remains from a cemetery plot.
  • Inheritance rights when the domestic partner dies without a will.
  • Administration of an estate if the domestic partner dies without a will or if the named representative declines or is unable to serve.
  • Making domestic partners beneficiaries of wrongful-death actions. Lawsuits for wrongful death could be brought on behalf of a surviving domestic partner.
  • Requiring that information recorded on death certificates include domestic partnership status.

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43 Responses

  1. kate says:

    PE, not to pick apart your language usage here (though I guess that’s kind of what I’m doing…) but to me, the word ‘traditional’ has undertones of equating to ‘normal’….which puts anything outside of those ‘traditional’ views (which, as you know, I respect but disagree with) as seemingly ‘un-traditional’ or abnormal. It just makes me uneasy when the majority claims the word ‘tradition’ –as it is often used as a justification for oppression (NOT that that’s what you’re doing, but it IS a common argument used by heterosexuals to deny equal rights)

    Just my two cents though. Stoked about the new law.

  2. Andrea says:

    I’m not there but I think it is great!

  3. Megan says:

    I think it’s great. I haven’t made up my mind on homosexuality, and I really don’t think I need to. Regardless of whether homosexuality is okay or not, I think it’s unconscionable that we are still using religion to discriminate against people. If two men or two women are in a committed, monogamous relationship, then they should have all the rights and benefits of heterosexual couples. I do not feel that my religion or faith is at all threatened by this, and I don’t understand the people who do feel threatened.

  4. Dan says:

    I understand where the referendum is coming from. The proponents of ‘Everything but Marriage’ has all but stated that this is only a step to the goal of something similiar to Prop 8.

  5. Travis McKee says:

    Church or State
    this is what marriage needs to go through. Is it a church institution or state. If it is a church institution then we (as a political country) need to stop restricting these rights.
    I think that so many reject the idea of homosexual marriage because it threatens their religious understanding. Yet, so many people, who want nothing to do with the churches that reject them, cannot make decisions for the love of their life in the hospital simply because they are the same sex. Never mind that they have devoted 30 years to each other, and that the people who have the legal rights hate them and have disowned them. They cannot have the same rights as people who got married drunkenly in Reno and have no intention of staying together.

    The political rights are too many to be controlled by religion. This country has too many safe guards against religious rule, and we are ignoring them when we continue to deny rights to adult couples. If your church doesn’t want to recognize a marriage then don’t. But that doesn’t mean that another church can’t recognize it or even bless it. but those are not the things that should control our politics.

  6. Brian says:

    I think it’s a little ironic that we are throwing around “committed, monogamous relationship”. What, do we hold homosexual couples to higher standards than everybody else? (Just in case: That was sarcasm, meant to highlight the current, sad state of our society’s general attitudes and practices relating to marriage/relationships – regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved.)

  7. eugenecho says:

    @kate: i used to think i was pretty current w/ things especially through numerous conversations with friends and couple family members that are gay.

    my confusion: different words are used and preferred by different people. eg: ‘queer’ used to be hated by most of my gay friends in the past. they are some that prefer that usage.

    so, what words would you use besides the ‘wrong view.’ 🙂

  8. iy. says:

    i think you can guess what i think — the law is necessary, but also kind of a slap in the face for lgbtq advocates, given the recent laws in other states granting full marriage rights etc. and i think you can guess what i think about adoption and stuff. =)

  9. I’m glad for what this law provides but, man, this issue is moving so slowly. I’m really glad that my generation overwhelmingly supports gay rights but I wish we didn’t have to wait until that generation forms the majority voting block to get real equality passed as law.

  10. kenny says:

    Like Eugene, I hold a ‘traditional’ view. I believe that homosexuality is a sin – because of my religious beliefs in the bible – and that marriage is between a man and a woman – the example set in the bible. But I also will submit that because we live in America, the rights to some of those rights of married couples should be allowed. So at the initial thought, I would support this bill, however, this may lead to bills leading to marriage proposals, like other states have passed that I would have serious moral and spiritual opposition to.

  11. katie says:

    right on, Megan…i wish more people agreed that we can’t shove a certain “moral standard” down everyone’s throat in the name of our personal beliefs – ESPECIALLY because marriage between two consenting adults doesn’t harm anyone else and certainly doesn’t ruin the sanctity of anyone else’s marriage. it saddens me (and surprises me coming from WA!) that this new bill doesn’t include the “right” to marry also, but I suppose it’s a step in the right direction…

  12. Jennifer says:

    I am very glad this law has passed. It just seems like a human-rights issue to me. I too tend toward a more traditional view, but cant imageine denying these rights to anyone.

    On the adoption issue…an interesting help to thinking through the issue is a piece Dan Savage (no stranger to the homosexuality conversation on this blog) did for This American Life talking about discussing the issue with his own (obviously adopted) son. In one section his son asks him if he too will grow up to be gay. Savage tells him that no, he probably wont, and goes on to affirm his son’s heterosexuality. It was a really neat conversation from the perspective of a child being raised by 2 gay men. I can dig up the link of anyone is interested.

  13. Joel says:

    kenny’s comment is exactly the reason that marriage should not be a legal issue. Everyone should have civil unions, and marriage should be a purely religious idea.
    As it is currently, neither side is happy, because gay advocates feel slighted because civil unions are less than marriage – they are inferior to the rest of the populace – and those like kenny are unhappy with marriage because the law is giving gay couples a religious title, which causes lots of problems.
    If everyone was just legally given civil unions, the gay community wouldn’t have as much of a problem with not being allowed marriage, and no problem with them legally. Any argument of marriage would happen within the church, where it should be, not within the legislature or the courtroom.
    Unfortunately, that is a pretty big shift, and it would probably get nowhere, because its advocates would be “destroying marriage” and “further removing God from our country” and all kinds of propaganda that would stop it dead in the water.

  14. Travis McKee says:

    katie – the problem i have with the way “marriage” is used is that it assumes all marriages are church sanctioned. But we are talking about state issues.

    Honestly, what would it look like if we took away the marriage right from the state and put it back int control of the church? The state could have unions and such that would cover the issue of legal rights. Adult couples could be unioned, both hetero and homo, and get their state rights but not have to worry what a church says. That is a basic american right.

    And then the church would have the sanctifying issue. if the church wants to put limitations on who can get truly married, then each church would have the right to. But that would not affect the state standing. that would not affect their legal rights. It would only be the church’s say on the marriage issue.

    I personally am beginning to support an idea like this. As a Christian minister, I am disappointed that the church would promote legal state rights being denied to couples. Where is the justice in that? I am also disappointed that any heterosexual marriage is just fine, even if it is destructive to children or the couple, and they can have all the legal and church rights just because they are not gay.

  15. eugenecho says:

    it sounds easy on paper:

    civil unions for everyone and sanction by the government.

    marriages reserved for religious organizations and as such, churches can decide how they want to administer that sacrament. marriage is a sacrament and as such, should stay within the church, right?

  16. Travis McKee says:

    sorry, i was trying to direct that comment to kenny

  17. Travis McKee says:

    eugene – exactly. the government doesn’t tell us how to do communion or baptism. and I truly enjoy that freedom.

  18. JamesPD says:

    If your interest in this matter is truly that of children, there’s overwhelming evidence that kids raised by same-sex couples (there are thousands upon thousands, you know) do just as well in every respect, and new research indicates they have better-than-average skills at coping with the diversity that surrounds them in the real world. Those are skills that have a tangible, positive affect on their emotional (and professional) prosperity.

  19. Jennifer says:

    Many countries in the rest of the world do it that way…civil unions by the gov’t, and religious marriage by the church. Honestly, I think that would be a fresh start of sorts for the church to re-think marriage. It’s not like we’ve been leaders on how to do good marriage😦

  20. dmowen says:

    Multiple posts have mentioned it but I would love the idea of civil unions for everyone administered by the state, marriage performed at the discretion of religious institutions. I think the heart of the dilemma is whether you view the word “marriage” as primarily a civil/legal concept or a religious sacrement. Unfortunately the concepts are too entangled and it would probably be impossible to “demote” secular marriages to civil unions. I think the modern understanding of the purpose of marriage as primarily a lifelong romantic love commitment as opposed to a societal mechanism for the protected raising of children also makes it difficult to deny marriage to those who want to make a lifelong romantic love commitment.

  21. gailsongbantum says:

    interesting that we as christians seem to think that we own ‘marriage’….since when is the betrothal (marriage ceremony) the actual moment of covenant? can covenantal relationships be pinned down to a specific moment? how do we define marriages in other cultures that are not christian? are we then, saying that 2/3 of the world’s married population is technically not married?

    isn’t ‘marriage’ technically a state instituted phenomenon? covenant is rather what we christians should be worried about…..the fact that we can’t seem to keep one even amongst heterosexual couples.

    so, is the discussion of marriage as right/wrong/traditional/normative etc.. really an issue of the “christian institution” of marriage or is it more about bodies and a kind of determinative claim that we want to place upon particular bodies?

  22. elderj says:

    Well… I say it is not a good idea…

  23. J. P. says:

    Marriage (of both the mono- and polygamous varieties) was practiced by many cultures long before the Bible was written (and polygamy is accepted matter-of-factly in much of the Hebrew Bible), so clearly neither the church (nor synagogue, for that matter) can claim any kind of monopoly on the institution!

    What I therefore single out as theologically most important from the distinctly biblical paradigm of marriage as covenantal* is the demand for fidelity between the two parties. “No other gods,” mutatis mutandis: “no other partners.” By that standard, many unions (both hetero- and homosexual) are deficient, but at least it sets a consistent standard for biblically-modeled marriages.

    Marriage can be considered sacramental if by it we mean something like “God’s grace is shown through this ‘common’ arrangement,” but it is certainly not a divinely authorized command (like baptism and the eucharist), the distinguishing characteristic of the sacraments in certain traditions.

    *True, not all biblical covenants are the same, but marriage clearly falls into the conditional type.

  24. jHong says:

    what i hate about this new law is the “everything but” part of it. it comes just short of giving the LGBT community the same dignity and humanity we heterosexuals deem as our God ordained rights. it has a similar sentiment to the 3/5ths compromise of 1787 that said black people could be counted as human, but only 3/5ths of a human. it has a similar sentiment to the ‘separate but equal’ laws of our not-too-distant past that tried (and failed!) to argue that separate and equal are anything but mutually exclusive ideals, particularly when it comes to the law. this current “everything but” law comes just shy of dignity, just shy of humanity, just shy of actual equality. even if you completely disagree with me and still want to believe that sexual identity is a morally dictated choice, that does not give any person the right to deny someone of the SAME rights that come with the privilege of a heterosexual identity — and in this regard, i think the semantics are key! we can not claim that we desire equality and dignity for the LGBT community and deny them a word that we clearly hold so dear to ourselves. if marriage is indeed God ordained, shouldn’t we trust that God is the one that judges their legitimacy and not us? i cringe knowing that my children and grandchildren are going to read about our generation in their history classes wondering how and why we let such pervasive denigration go on for so long. i don’t doubt that this legislature will be looked at with the same disdain as the jim crow attempts to write legislature that appeased consciences while maintaining privilege.

    i think it’s very easy to have a ‘traditional’ view of homosexuality when you yourself are not homosexual. i think it’s easy to be dismissive of what seems to be unnatural when you personally find heterosexuality to be so natural. the fact is that millions upon millions of people don’t find heterosexuality to be natural at all and will never be able to conform to the heterosexual norm no matter how hard they try. i personally know several closeted friends who have tried and who are trying to believe that they have some choice in the matter of their sexual identity, fearing the inevitable condemnation that comes along with their identity. those of us who have the benefit of what is the normative sexual identity need should probably be a lot slower to place any kind of moral judgment on an experience that we simply know nothing about on a personal, spiritual level. no matter how PC you put it, placing moral values on sexual identity inherently implies a choice in the matter and i simply do not believe this is the case for the vast majority of the LGBT community. i’m sure there are people in this blogosphere that know that one or two people who ave been “delivered” from their “gay lifestyle” but these are the token examples and certainly not the rule. if sexual identity was something that could be adjusted by therapeutic means, the millions of people around the world who are being marginalized and denigrated for their sexual identity and ostracized from family and friends would probably jump at that chance. to be frank, i think the heterosexual community, and particularly the heterosexual Christian community, needs to stop self-congratulating ourselves for falling on the right side of our self-defined moral line.

    and yes, i know that a lot of you just ran to grab your Bibles and opened up a new window through which to google out the applicable Bible verses that would say that the line is divinely ordained and not (as i have claimed) self-defined. but before you rush to condemn my convictions and by association, condemn the millions of LGBT men and women, maybe take minute and ask yourself if that behavior resembles that of Jesus or that of the pharisees [EXPERTS on scripture!] whom Jesus repeatedly tore into for choosing to abide by law rather than compassion and justice. it is easy to point to those verses and feel really good about yourself and your ‘traditional’ views and a lot harder to open ourselves up to the possibility that we are wrong and that we have been wrong.

    there aren’t enough words and i’m not gifted with a sufficient vocabulary to really address my heart on this matter but i tried nevertheless via a couple blogs pertaining to this discussion. http://hongdotcom.blogspot.com in case anyone is interested in hearing a little bit more of my ranting. also, last week i caught a discussion on the radio between two men of faith about this very issue. they come to different conclusions but both arguments are based upon the same Bible. i highly recommend that anyone with a 16 min and 49 seconds to spare check it out: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104179946

  25. Ryan says:

    It’s difficult to comment for some of the reasons jHong mentions – I’m not homosexual and don’t know what it’s like to live as a homosexual in our society. I support the current law granting “everything but” rights. It’s a very intriguing idea to level the relationship field by saying civil unions are the legal term for all, marriage is the church’s sacramental recognition of a covenant relationship. I think increasingly in our pluralist society if the church wants to retain say over how marriage is defined, this is a good option. Didn’t C. S. Lewis promote the civil vs. religious marriage categories in “Mere Christianity”? From ch. 16:

    “There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

    Lewis makes the interesting point that he would be pretty unhappy if Muslims somehow were able to enforce their belief that people shouldn’t drink alcohol on the larger non-Muslim population.

  26. Ryan says:

    @JamesPD – can you direct us towards the research you mentioned?

  27. Gloria Bauer Ishida says:

    One aspect of the problem is the marriage system in the US. Ordained pastors of fully “recognized” denominations perform the religious ceremony that is recognized as a legal marriage also (with the proper marriage license having been issued). However, couples can also be legally married by a justice of the peace, et al, without a religious ceremony. This is not true in many other countries where the legal marriage is only in the hands of the government. Many ordained pastors refuse to even offer a blessing to a gay couple because of their own opinion or because they are restricted by their denominations ecclesiology,

    All of this confuses the issue, I feel. A blessing of the union and/or legal rights of same -sex unions? If US laws were similar to other countries the couple could have both or one or the other.

  28. Jon Trouten says:

    People are so hung up on religious weddings, when this is an issue about marriage. Marriage being the legal status that the government uses to convey various rights, protections, & responsibilities upon those couples and their families.

    I live in Iowa. My partner and I had a religious wedding over a decade ago, long before the recent court decision that has allowed us to become legally married. Our religious wedding did little to protect us legally as a family. Our marriage license will.

    I’m curious how much Washington’s new “everything but marriage” law will actually prove to be… everything but marriage. Most states that have had “everything but marriage” have found that those civil unions/ domestic partnerships/ whatever you want to call them actually aren’t treated equally to marriage licenses. New Jersey, for instance, found numerous examples of employers, hospitals, other public entities that refused to treat DPs as everything but marriage. Frankly, they don’t have to, under federal law. Because a domestic partnership isn’t marriage. Federal law only recognizes marriages and federal law often trumps state law in such matters.

  29. Jon Trouten says:

    One last thing that I find interesting. I never used to hear people talk about how they believe the state should be out of the marriage business or how everyone should have civil unions or whatever. Then gay couples sought (and occasionally obtained) the ability to legally marry. Now, people are advocating the dissolution of marital law in order to ban a small group of people from sharing.

  30. Ryan says:

    @Jon – I did not know about the federal difference in recognizing C.U’s vs. “Marriage” – what would it take to change that?

    One response to your statement that “people are advocating the dissolution of marital law in order to ban a small group of people from sharing”… couldn’t it be argued that a larger group is being asked to change their belief about marriage in order to share with a “small group”? Of course we’ve done this before in history for many good reasons (a brief political history of ethnic minorities bears this out). However, if some see this as an issue of ‘religious freedom’, why not separate it out from the civil context and let people & churches define marriage as they see fit? It would seem to me then that for straight and homosexual Christians (or Jews or Muslim, etc.) the debate moves within the religious institution which is really the reality of where the debate currently rages for many – except now it’s being played out in the civil context.
    I guess what I’m saying is, for those of us who hold to a conservative theological position but don’t want same-sex couples denied any of the civil-rights my wife and I enjoy, wouldn’t leveling the relational field create a more…accurate environment, one reflective of our increasingly pluralistic, secular society? Again, I wonder if folks like C.S. Lewis were ahead of their time in seeing the benefits of this.

  31. elderj says:

    To be accurate married couples don’t enjoy any civil rights as a married couple per se. Nor can those obligations of marriage and the attendant rights be called benefits. What they are are the rights of being considered as if you were blood relations when you are not. Marriage predates religion and is universally recognized as being contracted between persons of opposite gender.

    Anti-miscegenation laws were an aberration adopted in order to keep slavery profitable as children traditionally inherited the status and race of the mother and since most early interracial marriages were between Black men and White women, their children were considered for legal purposes as having “the rights of free-born Englishmen.” To bring that up is a red herring.

    Marriage is not about love and commitment in any legal sense. It is a public contract that creates from two separate families a new family, generally with the expectation of offspring. Because it is public, it makes a difference to everyone whether married or not.

    Of course marriage does not always produce children, but the fact that infertile people marry (notably seniors) is the exception that proves the rule. There is no right to marriage for anyone; I am not married. If I should contract some terminal disease or need someone to sign off on my medical treatment, my next of kin would automatically be assumed to have the right to speak on my behalf. Love doesn’t make them my next of kin. Indeed love matters not at all, for if I were to impregnate some woman and fail to care for the child, the state would compel me to do so, not for love, but because that child is my relative.

    The use of the words “monogamous and committed” in relation to same-sex marriage is useless as it only serves to soften the issue by painting it as softly as possible.

    Homosexual people are, as we are constantly reminded, just like everyone else, except for their behavior. Indeed a person can be gay and choose not to marry at all, or choose to be celibate, or choose to marry someone of the opposite gender, settle down and bear children. These are the same choices that we all have. The chief distinguishing characteristic is sexual behavior persistently engaged in with persons of the same sex in a more or less free exchange (excluding for the moment situational homosexuality i.e. prison). To somehow redefine the fundamental unit of human society (the family)based on the stated desire of a subset of a tiny minority (probably no more than 3% of the total population and less than that considering that all homosexuals do not favor gay marriage) seems a bit…

  32. jHong says:

    @elderJ — i have to respectfully disagree. i don’t think sexual identity is as simple as a behavior. i know that my heterosexuality has very little to do with my heterosexual behaviors [admittedly, these are few and far between — times are tough out there!] but rather, my heterosexuality is a part of my identity, and a significant one at that. i don’t choose who i am attracted to and while i can choose how i act on those attractions, i can not change the fact that i am attracted to the people, in my case men, who i am attracted to.

    furthermore, i find your use of arbitrary percentages to be a bit problematic. for one, there’s no telling how someone came up with that statistic and whether or not it’s even possible to account for the millions of closeted homosexual individuals in our world. and even if it were possible to validate a statistic like that, attributing the redefinition of our ‘fundamental unit of human society’ to the homosexual community isn’t accurate anyway. us heterosexuals have been redefining it for quite some time now! what with our divorces, our cohabitations, our test tube babies, and on and on and on.

    finally, i don’t find the words “monogamous and committed” to be useless in the context of homosexuality — in fact i find them to be quite pertinent! i’m sure it wasn’t your intention, but your dismissal of what is at the crux of the argument is a bit hurtful and dehumanizing. the legality of gay marriage is one that has much more to do with dignity than it does with the laws themselves. so long as we refuse to treat these men and women, many of them our brothers and sisters in Christ, with the SAME dignity we allow ourselves, we are failing in what Jesus told us was the second most important command: to love our neighbors as ourselves. if we are not loving with love that is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, and keeps no records of wrongs — all the world hears and indeed all that the ears of God hears is CLANG CLANG CLANG! empty noise that has nothing to do with God’s unfailing love for us.

  33. elderj says:

    @jhong – I respect your respectful disagreement. Please note I did not say that sexual identity could be boiled down to sexual behavior. I am well aware of the complexity of the various dynamics at play in anyone’s sexual identity. The choice in how one responds to one’s own sexuality is likewise complex. But really though this is irrelevant because if same-sex marriage becomes legal there is nothing preventing you or anyone from marrying into a same-sex union.

    As for the percentage, a UC Berkely study estimate the percentage to be between 3-6% of males. Other estimates place the figure to be somewhat lower (around 1-2%). In any event that is not the point. The family unit is the basis of society. Battered and abused though it may be, as it has been throughout history, it is so fundamental to human society that marriage is universally between man and woman transculturally and transhistorically. That is undisputed.

    Opposing same-sex marriage is not a refusal to treat people with dignity and certainly is not a failure to love though I know it may seem that way. I could say more… but its late and my brain is turning off.

  34. Jon Trouten says:

    All I know is that my husband and I are greatful for the opportunity to become legally married. Our sons are excited about this, too.

    Re: Transforming all marriage licenses into civil unions… What’s really the point? Most gay couples, if they choose, can already become religiously married within churches even in the most entrenched constitutionally-amended, DOMA-covered states. Changing civil marriage into civil union won’t change the fact that there are and will continue to be church communities that respect and honor married gay couples.

    Meanwhile, the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage (identified above by Eugene) have nothing to do with church recognition.

  35. kate says:

    @PE: yeah, realized I didn’t really offer an alternative solution there, perhaps conservative/liberal but that has its semantic issues as well…sigh. I guess at the core of it, I cringe at the ‘traditional’ because I think the Church is staying comfortable in it’s ‘traditional’ ways and ‘traditional’ treatment of the lgbt community when I think we have an incredible amount of repenting to do.

    @JHong: wish I could be half as eloquent. way to speak your heart.

  36. eugenecho says:

    @kate: well, i’d still like for you to offer an alternative.

    having said that, i’ve been using the word ‘traditional’ lately because several from the christian LGBT community thanked me for using that word rather than what is often used IN the church: biblical.

  37. Lee says:

    I see this whole gay marriage debate as confusion between arenas. It seems to me that marriage is actually a civil function insofar as civil rights are concerned and because of that the state should decide what is best for the society as a whole. If the state says, “Yeah, gay people should be permitted to marry for the good of the commonwealth, then so be it. People may disagree as to the wisdom of that decision and it should be undertaken with great care because, like it or not, it’s never been done in the history of civilization. Modern societies should always tread lightly when changing a social institution so historic and so foundational to an orderly society. Nevertheless, it is a civil institution and our rulers must and do have the responsibility and authority to do so. Is it wise? I don’t know.

  38. Lee says:

    Since I’m new at this I apparently hit the wrong button and posted my comments beforfe I was done. Sorry.
    Secondly, while marriage is a civil institution it is also viewed by many people as a holy institution as well, as evidenced by the fact that MOST people prefer to be married in a church setting, implicitly or explicitly hoping for the blessing of the Almighty on their union. Let the state have its civil marriages (using the word “marriage”) if it deems it wise to do so but the state cannot and must not intrude into the arena of the church and coerce the church into performing marriages that it would view as unholy. Let the church have sacramental marriages and the state have civil ones, though ALL should be recognized in the eyes of the law.

  39. david says:

    @kate/PE: i also dislike the use of “traditional” (mostly because “non-traditional” has a pejorative connotation) and think “conservative/progressive”, though imperfect, are slightly less problematic categories.

  40. me says:

    @david: clearly, you don’t remember the comments i got for my usage of progressive. the oppositive of progressive = the implication that the other side is ‘regressive.’

  41. Andy M says:

    Government changing to civil unions, and marriage being handed back to only religious institutions. I just don’t see much possibility of that happening. Mostly because too many religious people would not want to give up any degree of control over other people, particularly homosexuals. If marriage isn’t a state issue, then the church won’t be able to control homosexuals, and heterosexuals for that matter.

    That being said, that may be the most reasonable comprimise in this whole issue. The religious don’t lose their ideal of marriage, and the homosexuals are treated equally with heterosexuals.

    As far as “tradition” goes, here are a couple of thoughts. Tradition in churches is often pitted against the scriptures as though they are in some kind of struggle, but the fact is that if it were not for tradition, we would not have the scriptures as we know it. When the church leaders came together to decide on a canon for the scriptures, they based their decisions on the traditions of those scriptures. In particular, what effect those scriptures had upon the communities. It was shown over time what scriptures were edifying and what scriptures were not, through tradition.

    On the other hand is a quote from G.K. Chesterton:
    “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.” – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

    But if anything, using terms like traditional, conservative, liberal, progressive, etc. Maybe instead of simplifying our opinions and stating them as one of the above, we should just say fully what our opinions are. It would take longer, but we would then no longer have the problems of confusion that often surround those words. As odd as it might sound, I myself find that politically on certain issues I am both conservative and liberal. Not moderate, I mean the fullness of both, within the same issue. I won’t even try to explain that, but it tells me that many words like those, used both in church and out, no longer have much relevance. But maybe that is just me.

  42. kate says:

    @david/PE: seems ‘conservative’ could replace traditional…as for the flipside, still not sure. I would say that there is a valid reason that progressive and, consequently even ‘regressive’ wouldn’t be entirely out of place…but, well, not going to stir that pot right now….JHong already said it quite well above. peace🙂

  43. Andy M says:

    @kate, replacing “traditional” with “conservative” wouldn’t work. “Traditional” itself cannot be defined because your traditional thinking may vary from my traditional kind of thinking. Evangelicals have different traditional views than say, Catholics.

    I personally don’t like labels. To label myself traditional is to make a statement about myself to other people that may not actually line up with my views. I could label myself a conservative because of my views on abortion, but then someone will assume that I believe all sorts of other things that I may not agree with. And it goes the other way around too. My alternative to using these terms? Just saying our opinions instead of using generalities. Maybe in doing that, we might start having some real conversations rather than using labels to bash each others heads in. (not to say that is happening here, just going off of how things usually work)

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One Day’s Wages

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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