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Support for marriage equality is a matter of faith

By | 2006-03-23T09:00:00-05:00 March 23rd, 2006|News|

By Sharon Gittleman

ROYAL OAK – Jill Polisano hopes to achieve a goal that has eluded her for six years – to be ignored.
“The big question I have is how does my being in a committed relationship with my partner impact anybody else’s lives?” asked Macomb resident Polisano, 39, who was celebrating the sixth anniversary of her first date with companion Mary Czartoryski, 44. “We just want to be happy and left alone.”
The couple came to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak last Thursday, to hear Hope College Psychology Professor David Myers discuss the subject of the book he co-authored with Letha Dawson Scanzoni, “What God Has Joined Together? A Christian Case for Gay Marriage,” (Harper San Francisco 2005).
Myers said he wrote his book to help other straight people who share his Christian faith understand the importance of supporting marriage equality.
“The world would be a better place if love, sex and marriage went together for all people,” said Myers.
Myers questioned the argument that marriage equality undermines the foundation of traditional unions.
“It’s a change to welcome a small part of the population, but nothing like how marriage has changed in the past,” he said.
He noted that polygamy was once respected, as evidenced in the Bible, and arranged marriages were also a common practice in days gone by.
Myers challenged the people gathered at the church to reflect on whether their own sexual orientation was a personal choice.
He defined the term “sexual orientation,” to mean an individual’s erotic dreams and longings.
“For most of us, it’s like a computer pop-up ad,” he said. “It’s just there.”
He noted that rates of sexual orientation haven’t changed over the years and efforts to modify people’s gender-based desires haven’t worked.
Myers pointed to studies recounting differences in the brains of people who are gay and straight and data about genetic influences and the effect of prenatal hormones to support his case.
Science wasn’t the only topic of discussion during Myers’ lecture.
“Of 31,103 verses in the Protestant canon, seven deal with same-sex behavior,” he said. “Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality and sexual orientation.”
Myers said the concept of “homosexuality” was only about 100 years old.
“The Christian case for gay marriage is based partly on the human need to belong,” he said. “I may be wrong, but it seems to me that sexual orientation is not a choice. We need to recognize all people’s need to belong.”
Attitudes about marriage equality are rapidly changing, with acceptance on the rise, he said.
“What should we do? Maybe we should ask, ‘what would Jesus do?'” he said. “If we’re going to risk error wouldn’t we rather err on the side of grace and inclusion?”
Straight or gay, audience members seemed to support Myer’s message.
Janet Moody, 57, said she was in favor of marriage equality before she came to the lecture.
“I wasn’t here to be convinced,” said Moody, a Southfield resident. “I learned some of the scientific and social research that’s being done.”
Berkley resident Betty Pejakovich, 73, said she thought marriage equality was an important issue.
“I feel gays and lesbians have a right to publicly declare their love for each other,” she said.
Her fellow Berkley resident, Knut Petersen, 72, said he also thought gays had a right to get married.
Divorce is a greater danger to marriage than gay people’s desire to wed, said Polisano.
“I think everyone in America should have the right to choose to be in a committed relationship with the person they love,” said Czartoryski.

Dr. David Meyers coming to Warren
Dr. David Meyers will give a presentation titled “Bridging the Divide: Strengthening Marriage, Welcoming Gays” at Macomb Community College, 14500 E. 12 Mile in Warren, on Thursday, March 30 at 1 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public. Tickets for a luncheon with the author prior to the presentation are available for $12. Tickets must be purchased by March 24. For more information call 586-445-7198. The event is co-sponsored by Multicultural Initiatives, Macomb Library and The Forum.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.