On rites and rights: I performed my first gay wedding (COMMENTARY)

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The writer peeks through the heart hole created by the newly married couple on Sept. 5, 2015, in Occoquan, Va. Photo courtesy of USA Today

The writer peeks through the heart hole created by the newly married couple on Sept. 5, 2015, in Occoquan, Va. Photo courtesy of USA Today

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I’m not a Christian. But one of the grooms I married was raised Catholic, so I spent weeks thinking about how to weave God’s word into the ceremony.

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  • George Nixon Shuler

    Thanks, excellent commentary. I would only add in anticipation of missives from the great unwashed that you and the two grooms are bound for hell, that if that is so it is proof they worship an evil false god and no person of good character would consider entering a hebbin which would exclude folks over such.

  • She sheathed her pen, pitting the supreme being vs. the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling on June 26, which legalized gay marriage nationwide.

    While that is correct, the important thing is that the Supreme Court has established that gays have a constitutional right to marry in order to provide equal protection and due process in accordance with the 14th Amendment. When a public official actively denies those rights it is a very serious matter. I am quite surprised that Judge Bunning did not get a commitment from Davis not to interfere prior to releasing her from jail.

    The other thing that I would like to emphasize – again – is that Davis was not just making personal decisions. She was prohibiting civil servants that she supervises from acting in accordance with the law.

  • ben in oakland

    It’s too bad that Mom chose to miss her son’s wedding. But that’s what religion of her sort will do to you: enable you to act badly while all the while enabling you to think you’re being a good person.

    It’s never going to make her son sorry that he’s gay, or make him sorry that he has married his love of his life. It’s only going to make him sorry that she is his mother.

    Great lines from Torch Song trilogy.

    Arnold: I KNOW YOU WOULD RATHER I WAS STRAIGHT, I’M NOT! Would you also rather I lie to you? My friend Ed, who’d never dream of telling his parents, instead he cut his parents out of his life. And they wonder ‘why? Why is my child so distant?’ Is that what you’d rather?

    Arnold: There’s one more thing you better understand. I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture… There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect and anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.

    I speak from experience here.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Have you no decency at all, Sir? This sort of sickening comment is emblematic of why most people would prefer to live next door to an LGBT family than someone like you. You should be sorely ashamed of having made such a post.

  • Terry Byrne:
    “As I said in my sermon: ‘I hope that someday all … will no longer feel scorn and hostility from certain corners of society.”

    My only complaint of your otherwise wonderful commentary
    is your refusal to call out religion as the enemy it truly is.

    “Execute my enemies in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    In this Parable, Jesus is explaining – in not very veiled language – that he will command executions when he returns to find sinners.

    It doesn’t matter that JESUS may also have said “Judge not”
    because he is explaining HE will return and HE will command others to judge for him at some unspecified time in the future. Christians are being told they may judge others as long as they do it in his name.

    People should be honored. But Religion should not be honored – it should be abandoned.

  • Ben,

    “There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect and anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”

    Well said.
    Religion remains the most inhumane, most needless bulwark against humanity.
    May it be abandoned one day in favor of rational thinking.

  • ben in oakland

    Short answer:


  • Richard Rush


    I went through puberty in the late 1950s, and during that period (and later) I never witnessed anything about homosexuality in magazine/newspaper articles, pictures, movies, TV programs, school, or anywhere in our extended. neighborhood. And yet, I only found other boys sexually attractive, never girls. The experience led me to feel terribly alone in the world.

    Fortunately, for kids growing up nowadays, they are living in a society largely accepting of “gay men kissing on the mouth in public in front of children,” and if any of those children are gay, they will benefit greatly from that exposure to reality. And for the straight children exposed to reality, it’s a valuable part of the their education

    You have obviously been poisoned by toxic myths which has left you allergic to & hostile to reality, addicted to imaginary facts, and with an obsessive/compulsive need to poison other people with the same toxic myths.

  • ben in oakland

    You haven’t know bq as long as we have, Richard.

    If anything is poisoning him, it’s the projection of his own fantasies onto others.

  • Dominic

    Oh, somehow the groom’s mother is wrong in not participating in her son’s marriage to another man! Her Catholic convictions should suddenly disappear simply because her son is involved? What hogwash. Love of God supercedes all other attachments in life, and for many, attending a mockery of a sacrament is inonceiveable. Participation would assume agreement, which, of course she cannot do.She must still love her son, but her respect for God is paramount to all else.

  • Ben in oakland

    I never said anything different, D. Of course we have very different opinions about what god wants, or whether god exists,

    I’m just mentioning the consequences for her. As with my own parents, who decided that my being gay was the most important thing about me. Our relationship, which wasn’t all that much to begin with, starting when I was in college, deteriorated. In the end, both of my parents died with three of their four children not caring all that much, but for different reasons.

    I was a good son, never gave them any trouble, gave them many reasons to be proud of me. They didn’t even have the very poor excuse of religion. \

    not that that is any kind of an excuse, except for the religious. But Jesus himself said something about having to hate your family if they cross you when it comes to believing in Jesus.

  • Dominic

    Max, the quote you attribute to Jesus is part of a parable that you obviously interpret as you wish to fit your agenda. The interpretation goes to God’s perfect judgement on sinners at life’s end. You obviously don’t know what a parable is, although 1st Century Jews understood quite easily.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    The ignorance about our LGBT Brothers and sisters was prevalent in the 1950s and before, but in that decade, a new element was added – paranoia. The conspiracymongers feared gays as much or more than they feared the commonists. See Stanley Kubrick’s 1965 movie, “Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Bomb,” in which George C. Scott played an air Force General worried the commonists would get his “precious body fluids.” Far of LGBTs, like the fear of the commonists by the ignorant of those days and a few still-brainwashed octogernarians today says a lot more about the fearful than the groups they fear, about which they have little or no information.

  • Larry

    “Max, the quote you attribute to Jesus is part of a parable that you obviously interpret as you wish to fit your agenda. ”

    So that puts him on par with every Christian ever. Context means nothing if you can use quotes as a bludgeoning tool to claim “God says I am right”. Nothing says hypocrisy more than criticizing one for doing something you engage in as a matter of course.

  • Dave F


    You are so right.

    The god of this world is rapidly gathering in his disturbed minions.

    And notice how they hate Christians as a matter of defining them.

  • Dominic

    Some parents are just bad parents, unworthy of the love their children naturally strive to show them. That is sad, and very damaging to the child’s psyche…..”if my parents don’t love me, no one……..”.

    Personally, I would continue to love a gay child of mine, and dwell on the hardship he had to face realizing his homosexuality in silence. I could not attend his/her gay wedding though, but most likely they would understand my position and no bad blood would fester over it.

  • Dave F


    Christian marriage in every conceivable interpretation of the New Testament is immutably man and woman. To continue your tirade against honest Christians that keep to the truth of Scripture is diseased behavior.

    Obviously it is OK that anti-Christians can have their redefined marriages but Christians are not bad or wrong with opposing them.

  • Larry

    Except for those sects which do not say so.

    Denying they exist or claiming they are not Christian (according to you) does not negate their existence.

    Diseased behavior is thinking that all people must abide by your version of religious belief. Many people, even those considering themselves Christians are not afflicted in such a way. You are not.

  • Larry

    Not to be a jerk, but it the loony Air Force general worried about his bodily fluids was played by Sterling Hayden.

  • Ben in oakland

    You should read what some of the Christians on these very pages say about other Christians.

    You are right. The God of this world is indeed gathering in his minions, unfortunately, it’s so difficult to tell which is which, who are the devils, and who are the Angels.

  • Brent Rollings

    My understanding was that the judge conditioned her release on non-interference with the deputy clerks, who had been issuing marriage licenses, since the County Clerk was jailed.

  • Shawnie5

    Dominic, don’t bother. By now he knows all that already. He’s playing for converts among the scripturally ignorant — and Lord knows there are plenty of them.

  • Larry,


    1. Doesn’t know what is in the Bible.
    2. Doesn’t realize Jesus commanded more evil behavior than good behavior.
    3. Thinks a man of my advanced age of 53 needs a lesson in parables after 47+ years of devout belief and Christian devotion.

    As I think you know…..I repeatedly exhibit evil Bible verses not because I don’t understand the context – but because I understand the context very well.

    “Kill them” (luke 19:27) is Jesus playing the Nobleman of the parable. It is literally a (not very veiled) threat from Jesus himself. It is also interesting that this parable is identical to a scene from Odysseus. Some controversial but interesting theories would suggest this story was never uttered by a man named Jesus at all – but was plagiarized directly from Homer’s Illiad. Fascinating. And another reason to doubt the veracity.

    But as long as Christians insist they are following orders they should know what the orders are. 🙂

  • Shawnie:

    “Execute them all” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    If you are not among the “Scripturally ignorant” why do protest? You must know that Jesus is using the Nobleman story as a foil in preparing his disciples for his return at the Parousia. You can see Jesus saying he will command executions. I find it notable that Jesus will not execute anyone by himself, but will be happy to throw their souls into eternal Hellfire after the heads are chopped off.

    What is the “Holy” context which you claim would elevate such a disgusting parable (Luke 19:20) to the level of divinely inspired? As I mentioned to Larry, it doesn’t bother me that it appears to have been lifted right out of Odysseus – but as long as you Christians are insisting it is actually the ‘word of Jesus’ you should be prepared to defend not only the Jesus character but the horrible god who would be so cruel.

  • Greg1

    Man that is one strange picture… whew!

  • Shawnie5

    Max, I do not see why you continue to belabor this issue. Of course evil is not going to be permitted to continue to flourish forever. Of course all of creation will be restored to perfection and its original purposes. What do you expect God to do with creatures who do not fulfill their purposes? Stick them in a cushioned playpen to fight among themselves for eternity? Pfft. Complete annihilation is far more kind.

    And yes, the scriptures tell us quite clearly that Jesus will slay the lawless one with the breath of His mouth when He returns (2 Thess 2:8). So what of it?

  • @Shawnie:

    “Complete annihilation is far more kind…what of it?”

    Excuse me – Jesus is not doing the annihilating.
    Jesus said he will command his obedient servants (YOU) to kill those who are not obedient (Gays, etc).
    The executions will be carried by YOU as executioner despite having been told all your life to “forgive” by the same Jesus!

    Yet you say “what of it?”
    Why are you so eager to execute these gay people for Jesus?
    How did you determine Jesus is not evil for commanding it?

  • Christopher Blackwell

    So you would not want gay kids to know that they might one days find someone who would love them as they are. We expose them daily to violence, murder, rape, crime, and hateful behaviors of all in the name of entertainment kinds and then think that two men kissing is somehow different than any other couple kissing. Love, affection, and gentle loving sex is taboo, and all that is negative and violent is is suitable for entertainment? What a strange society we live in. o wonder its many problems.

  • @Christopher,

    “Love, affection… is taboo”

    Ever notice how the ‘most extremely religious’ are never ‘the most extremely loving’? The religious live in a sadomasochistic state of constant revenge porn.

    Religion defines evil as whatever you may be secretly coveting
    and the way to extinguish evil is to wipe out someone else who is getting away with it. Humanity must get past this.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Thanks for the correction

  • Greg1

    Actually, Richard, when young children are in the developmental stage, they can (and will) be highly influenced by their surroundings; this can lead them to shift from “normal” behavior, to “abnormal” behavior. What we will see going forward is more and more “social homosexuals” than have been witnessed in the past. We will see the percentage begin to creep up from its 3 or so percent at present. This was a huge mistake by the Supreme Court to “normalize” this behavior.

  • Shawnie5

    I’ts a PARABLE, Max. Something that uses what the listeners would be familiar with to illustrate a larger idea. An earthly king would send his servants to do the executing. The Son of God, however, needs only the breath of His mouth.

    Evil is whatever does not harmonize with God’s will and design for His creation. WE are to show the same forgiveness to others that has been shown to us, for we are all fallen. What to do with those who do not want forgiveness or to fulfill their purposes is not up to us. It is up to the Potter. It’s His universe.

  • Richard Rush

    Shawnie5, thanks for demonstrating quite clearly that, if you were a Muslim, you would be an enthusiastic supporter of ISIS.

  • Shawnie:

    “YES, the JESUS says the obedient servants will execute those who are not obedient.
    ‘Annihilation….So what?” – Shawnie

    JESUS says the executions at the Parousia will be carried out by NOT BY JESUS – BUT BY YOU (the obedient servant) despite having been told all your life to “forgive” by the same Jesus!

    Why are you so eager and willing to execute gay people for Jesus?
    How did you determine Jesus is not evil for commanding this?


    I asked you why you would be willing to kill people who never did you any harm!

  • Larry

    So in addition to being a legal scholar, you are a child psychologist?

    So where did you find this steaming load of bovine scatology from?

    Its funny, nobody outside of religious bigoted wackadoodles makes such claims. In fact, objectively reliable published studies show that gay parents actually may raise children better than most straight couples due to never being burdened with accidental additions to the family.

    Up until the last generation one can safely say, ALL gay people were raised by straight parents, in an environment hostile to expressions of their sexuality. So obviously there is no truth to your, “if you see two men kiss, you will turn gay”.

  • Ted

    bqrq, your continuous, lascivious homophobia on this site is a clear indicator of your own latent homosexuality. Dude, just admit it and come out already. God loves all of us, no matter how badly someone once hated you (and you still do.)

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Research indicates otherwise, but most people would certainly prefer to have an LGBT kid than one who became a religious fundamentalist. As Margaret Cho said, “Who wouldn’t want to have a gay kid? That way, you know if you hear there was a school shooting that it wasn’t him because it would interfere with yearbook!” Stereotypical joke of course but there’s validity to it. “Normal” is a setrting on a washing machine, not something people should demand of their kids. There are still some abusive and insane parents who force their kids to be right-handed. 100 years ago to do that was “normal.” I doubt anything will increase the percentsage of LGBTs in the population but if there was such a thing, it would certainly be a good thing to do.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    non sequitur

  • Shawnie5

    @Richard: Why should I support ISIS? Jesus said those who live by the sword die by the sword. He said He, rather, was sending us out as sheep among wolves–do sheep kill wolves? Don’t be silly.

  • Shawnie5

    Max, I already answered you. Repeating yourself does not make your assertions any more correct.

    “I asked you why you would be willing to kill people who never did you any harm!” I’ve no need or desire to do anything along those lines. It’s the Potter’s job, not ours.

  • Shawnie:

    “It’s the Potter’s job, not ours.”

    NO IT ISN’T – Jesus made it clear that he will tell you when to round up his enemies and execute them. There is no question about who is to do the executing! It is the obedient servants – YOU Christians.

    “You bring to me those enemies of mine and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – JESUS (LUKE 19:27)
    This is Jesus talking about exactly how he will conduct things at the Parousia!

    And you said: “What of it?”

    These people did nothing to you. Perhaps they are enemies of Jesus – but they are not YOUR enemies!

    Shawnie – How did you determine Jesus is not evil for commanding YOU to be ready to EXECUTE GAYS for him when the Parousia happens? Why are you willing and ready to help Jesus with these executions?

  • Shawnie5

    Max, again, it’s a parable. His return will be LIKE a ruler returning. In another parable He says His coming will be like the days of Noah when a flood wiped out the wicked. But we know there will be no flood.

    Jesus will slay the lawless with the breath of His mouth when He returns, exactly as the scriptures say:

    “His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west…And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” (Zech. 14).

    Max, again, repetition does not make your assertions more correct. Nor do caps or bold print. Put down the propaganda and actually read the scriptures in their entirety.

  • Shawnie:

    “…like the days of Noah when a flood wiped out the wicked.”

    Yeah, yeah…more distracting Revenge Porn for the Holy.
    But there was no Noah. That story is a fable like Exodus. Don’t divert attention away from your personal responsibility.

    Unlike those ridiculous Bible stories you claim Jesus was real.
    And today real people are being denied rights because you claim a REAL JESUS will soon command his servants (Christians) to KILL THESE GAY people at his personal direction.

    You said: “What of it?”
    I say, these people did nothing to you. Why do you celebrate their death? They are not YOUR enemies.

    How did you determine Jesus is not evil for commanding YOU to be ready to slaughter innocent people FOR HIM WHILE JESUS WATCHES!?

    “Bring them….Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

  • Ben in oakland

    Better latent than never. I always say.

    And in his case…

  • Shawnie5

    Why do you think I “celebrate” it? I want as few as possible to be a part of what Zechariah describes. Jesus went to the cross so that it need not befall any of us. But the fact remains that some refuse that forgiveness and restoration, and their end is therefore unavoidable, because a perfect universe can not harbor evil. There is no sense in raging about that. All that can be done about it is to encourage as many as possible to choose the other path.

  • Shawnie:

    “because a perfect universe cannot harbor evil.

    I would like your answer to my question:

    How did you determine Jesus is not evil for commanding YOU to be ready to slaughter innocent people (as he watches) upon his return?

  • Shawnie5

    I would like to reiterate my answer to your reiterated question: Jesus will dispose of God’s enemies Himself, as the scriptures say, because it is His right to do so. I have no ability, nor will have, to cause people to decompose while standing.


    “Jesus will dispose of God’s enemies Himself…I have no ability…..”

    YOU DID NOT REJECT the Parable of the Minas – Jesus describes exactly HOW he will conduct his return. Obedient Christians will slaughter the disobedient – and you agreed:
    You said, “What of it?”

    So I would like your answer to my question:

    How did you determine Jesus is not evil
    for commanding YOU to be ready to slaughter innocent people FOR HIM WHILE HE WATCHES ?

  • Shawnie5

    Max, I’m getting considerably bored here. The scriptures are quite clear about what is going to happen at the second coming of Christ. Thessalonians describes it, Zechariah describes in in graphic detail, and Revelation 19 describes it: “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet…these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.” The latter part parallels Jesus’ words from the gospel of John: “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.”

    His word spoke the universe into existence, and will instantly dissolve away those who oppose His return to His earth. But what is your problem with this? Isn’t this the ultimate fate you believe awaits you anyway? Dissolving away into nothing?

  • Shawnie:

    “evil must be eliminated… there is a judge…what is your problem with this?”

    You have ALREADY acknowledged the Parable of Parousia is an actual threat to disobedient servants:

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine…execute them in front of me”- JESUS

    How did you determine Jesus is not evil
    for commanding you to slaughter people as he watches?

  • Scott

    God does not approve such arrangements. They are not about love but about condoning sexual immorality of the worst kind. Sorry, this is an ugly event that simply speaks to how far America has rebelled against God. The Catholic mom was right not to attend and to avoid bestowing any semblance of legitimacy on such a ceremony. Also it is sad when non believers try to cherry pick scripture to match their made up themes. Not surprising but sad. The Bible does not teach that immoral behavior is equal to moral behavior (quite the opposite) and no, Jesus’ teachings on hypocrisy do not justify sexual perversion, but nice try I guess.