Julie Rodgers. Photo provided by the author. It is not available for republication.

Share our joy! How Julie Rodgers recalls last year's marriage ruling

Julie Rodgers is both a passionate Christian and part of the LGBT community. Her guest column is part of a series on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision that requires states to license marriages between same-sex couples. 

by Julie Rodgers

I was recently chatting with a new acquaintance when she casually referenced the checklists we all had when we were children—the ones that outlined the qualities we hoped for in our future spouses. As I smiled and nodded, eager to hear about her list, she suddenly stopped: “Wait. You had a checklist, right?” I hadn’t. She turned to the other gay person in the room and asked, “Did you?” Neither of us had made future spouse checklists when we were kids.

The conversation then turned to how we gay people had grown up with an inability to imagine a future family with someone else, or as Jonathan Rauch put it, we could never imagine a home for our love. Most straight people grow up with the assumption that they’ll live into the script their parents did—the one almost every adult they know lives into—in which they date, have an awkward first kiss, and usually find someone with whom they create a shared history that spans decades.

For most of my life, I couldn’t imagine creating a shared history with anyone, where we could eventually look back and recount the ways that place, or those people, or that near-death experience had shaped us into the people we were today, because those places and people and near-death experiences were things I arrived at alone and left alone. Since there was no script for LGBT people—no potential home for our love—I felt like I had to choose between clubs and hookups or a life of suppressed longing for a family. A passionate Christian with no interest in promiscuity, with no imagination for a home and shared history, I chose suppression.

Then came June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that marriage was an option for those of us who are not straight. Then came Justice Kennedy’s remark:

“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

As I read that—equal dignity under the eyes of the law—I burst into tears. Having heard Christians describe the movement as a “war on marriage” for so long, I finally felt seen and celebrated by people who had the power to bring change. After a lifetime of hearing my community of Christians refer to the way I’m wired to love as broken, disordered, deviant, and cannibalistic, after seeing my friends dismissed from communities they cherished, after hearing we couldn’t be around the kids if we “chose” to be gay, we heard we were worthy of dignity and love.

What quickly followed was the crushing realization that although I was elated and the community of Christians who had been my family was dismayed. My excitement turned to sorrow as my newsfeed filled with posts from friends and family who decried the decision. They saw it as the beginning of the end of their idea of a Christian nation. Our dignity was their defeat.

By that point, I was accustomed to feeling torn between the gays and the Christians whenever there was an explosion in the culture war. Prop 8, Chick-fil-A, and World Vision all triggered feelings of alienation and confusion because two communities that I loved tore into each other and I didn’t know where I belonged. But on the day marriage equality became the law of the land, it was clear to me where I belonged: I belonged with the people who said I was an occasion for celebration, not for lament.

As I look back on the day, those who moved me the most were the ones who could stand firmly with me in both communities. Many of my Christian friends had been moved to support the LGBT community by then, and rather than dismissing us as problems, they delighted in our presence. These Christian friends empathized with me as I grieved the alienation I felt from loved ones who were outraged, and they celebrated that my LGBT friends and I had been invited into a world where we could finally imagine a home for our love.

They didn’t force me to choose between my orientation and my love for Jesus because they saw the beauty in both. These Christian brothers and sisters will never know how healing it was, on that day in particular, for my joy to finally be their joy, too.

Read more of Julie Rodgers' columns at julie-rodgers.com. Julie works for restoration within communities that hope to learn from those on the margins. She has served as an advisor to sexual minorities at Christian colleges during a time of tremendous cultural transition, and she’s been transformed by the youth she’s served in low-income communities. 

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  1. Hmm. Celebration of legalized gay marriage? No.
    No malice, no disrespect, but just plain “No” to gay marriage itself. That’s the Bible’s position, and the Supremes really aren’t in position to repeal it.

    In 1 Cor. 6:9-11, saying “Yes” to Jesus, effectively gives Him permission to create an inner “No” to homosexual marriage and/or behavior (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13). You can see what Jesus did for some of the ancient Corinthians. He took away their homosexuality, their homosexual behaviors. Wall-to-wall transformation, from the inside out. Powerful healing action. NO “maybe or maybe not’s.”

    People have different individual life situations, but no life situation is more powerful than God’s ability to deal with it (Jer. 32:27). Christ does not offer homosexual-marriage. Christ does not offer “once gay always gay”. Instead, Christ offers healing. Christ offers holiness. Christ offers hope and help.

    So it’s time to speak up. Christ, NOT Obergefell, offers salvation, healing, and deliverance for all..

  2. Doc, malice and disrespect t is what you thrive on.

    When the bible is the law of this country, the. You might have a point. But until then, the bible is in no position to repeal obergefell.

  3. “Christ offers healing hogwash. Christ offers holiness wholly nonsense. Christ offers hope and help hopelessness and helplessness.” . . . because he and his dad are myths.

    “So it’s time to speak up.” Obergefell, NOT Christ, offers liberation, healing, and deliverance of gay people from Christian oppression..

  4. Keep in mind Ben, 1 Cor. 9-11 speaks to a situation (the historical Corinthians) in which the Christians had NO support from the government at all. In fact Christians getting killed was not beyond the ballpark. No legal support from the Corinth government at all.

    Plus the Corinthian Church had its own internal problems anyway.

    And yet, in the middle of all THAT mess, Jesus goes to the Corinthians and transforms their homosexuals into **FORMER**homosexuals. Saves them, heals them, cleanses them, delivers them, makes them all new.

    That’s not “malice and disrespect”, Ben. That’s just Jesus.

  5. It’s no myth, Richard. I’ve spoken with ex-gays just like I’ve spoken with gays, face-to-face and everything. Some of them even claim that Jesus healed them. And their lives prove it.

    (Just ask the Mayor of New York City about his current wife, a FORMER lesbian. She does not give God or Jesus any credit for it, but she’s still married to Hizzoner Bill De Blasio — with no spare tires on the side, I might add!!)

  6. The notion of “ex-gay,” which is a delusion, is almost always promoted by people living under the stranglehold of religious myths. But, bisexuality is a reality, although I think that a bisexual self-identity is often a transitional phase for some people on their journey toward admitting their homosexuality. So, while most “ex-gays” are either delusional or liars, some of them may be bisexuals who have chosen to focus exclusively on their opposite-sex attractions.

    Even if sexual orientation change were possible, there is no legitimate reason whatsoever why people should be pressured or forced to change, or have less than full equality.

    If change were possible, though, there could be some interesting possibilities: For example, two straight best-buddies might finally admit to each other, “If only we were sexually attracted to each other, we could have a far more fulfilling life together than we would with women.” And then they might proceed with changing their sexual orientation.

  7. ” Some of them even claim that Jesus healed them. And their lives prove it.”
    Prove it? No they don’t – not in any reality where the English language is respected rather than misrepresented.
    Do you have any arguments to support your beliefs which don’t rely on using English words to mean something they don’t?

  8. It’s so cool that God approved gay marriage. After all, hordes of christians, following the lead of goons like Franklin Graham, prayed their christian brains out for God to turn the Supreme Court against gay marriage. He slapped them down. Hard. Just like he slapped them down on defunding Planned Parenthood and almost everything else they pray for.
    Of course, if the Supreme Court had DENIED a right to gay marriage, everyone knows that christian goons like Franky-Boy Graham would be whooping it up in the streets and screaming about how God has acted. But when it DOESN’T go the way of the nasty christians, all of a sudden (insert usual christian excuse here for why nasty prayer wasn’t answered).

  9. When people tells you that they are gay, YOU are expected to take them at their word, no questions asked. They cannot prove from DNA analysis, genetics, or any other science that they were born homosexual. You’re just supposed to take their announcement and anecdote as true. Strictly face value. Their lives presumably prove that they’re gay and not merely mis-guided.

    Well, when EX-GAYS tell you that they are ex-gay, it’s the same thing. No genetic DNA proof is available for either gays or exgays. Like the gays, the ex-gays just speak about their own lives, and their own current experience of no longer being LGBT, and so THEY, the ex-gays, are living out what they say they are. And that “living it out” is the proof.

    So you and I can take not only gays, but also the EX-gays, at their word !!!

  10. Hey, did I leave out the EX-bisexuals? Christ can fix that bisexual thing too!

  11. “And that “living it out” is the proof.”
    No – it is not proof. It is a claim. It includes actions that support that claim but proof is much more demanding. It is unacceptable to say “I can’t prove anything properly so you have to accept a lesser standard because that’s all I’ve got”. That’s what alternative medicine practitioners (think homeopathy) sometimes do.
    There have been scientifically valid evaluations of gay reparative therapy. The clear evidence is that it does not work – the founder of the major organisation in the field has admitted it is sham.
    If simply saying you believe something to be true and living as though it were true then every muslim who leads a devout life would be proving that Islam is, as they believe and practice, the right way, every Scientologist who believes and lives out LRH’s fantasies is proving that Xenu was the galactic master, and every paedophile who, as many do, believes that a sexual relationship with a child is a pure form of love and whose behaviour indicates that his belief is true proves that paedophilia is a right lifestyle (for the record I believe it isn’t).
    If you don’t have a dictionary at home there are several freely available on-line.

  12. But evidently god can’t fix stup1d. Or at least he really loves them. That is why he made them so numerous.

  13. Gay marriage? The controversy shows every sign of joining the list of other things that religious orthodoxy has come to terms with over the years.
    * One of the first was the sin of usury. Over the years the ban on interest morphed into a ban on excessive interest. Usury is now the sin of loan sharks.
    * Next came the movement of the earth around the sun. This heretical idea was finally accepted by all except the flat earth society.
    * Then we decided to suffer witches to live despite what the Old Testament (and John Wesley) might say.
    * Then we banned slavery, despite a whole slew of texts in both Old and New Testaments that clearly accept slavery. (John Wesley approved of this reform.)
    * Then most of us accepted the fact that the theory of evolution was a better explanation than the two contradictory creation stories in the beginning of the Book of Genesis.
    * Divorce and remarriage, birth control and a number of other reforms are taken for granted.
    * Somewhere along the way we decided that mental illness explained madness better than demon possession.

    So same sex marriage is not the make or break deal that some preachers make it out to be. It’s just another change that will stop being such a big deal.

  14. I have to disagree with you, at least from the possible perspective of one of those preachers.

    This is a vicious, ancient, and very durable prejudice that we have inherited in our culture. It is extremely, deeply, and corrosively embedded in our culture. So much so that you can call a woman Ryan, and no one bats an eye. But call a boy Sue, and them’s fightin’ words. So much so that fathers don’t kiss their sons lest someone think they are kweer. So much so that you could get kicked out of the military despite a sterling career. So much so that even scripture is twisted and perverted into saying something that it simply does not, and which is used to justify hatred, despite, and discrimination. So much so that my rather innocuous sex life is called a threat to family, faith, and western civilization, such as it is.

    This very ancient prejudice has long been given the thinnest possible veneer of respectability, if not outright holiness, by calling it “sincere religious belief”, “god’s word”, “love the sinner hate etc…”. What these preachers are rightfully afraid of is that when people see that plain old bigotry and hatred are masquerading as holiness and morality, when they see the lies that are told about their friends, Colleagues, and family to justify the bigotry and the hatred, that they will reject religion as well as the prejudice.

    I think it’s a very real concern, but I also think that people who are bigoted by nature, or believe themselves to be god’s BFFF, are not going to dump the religion. It’s the ones that are not bigoted, and have far less exalted views of their personal holiness that and make the connection, that will more likely leave.

  15. And just about everything you say also applies to heterosexuals. No hetero gene. No proof that you were born heterosexual. Just your claim that you are.

    And people like Ted Haggard and Alan chambers and John Paulk have certainly shown us the proof of that.

    Keep trying, doc.

  16. You’re right about God’s approval Richie. And about creatures like F Graham. I don’t worry about it or argue with them. Fear mongers and haters are not going to listen to reason, truth, etc.

  17. This is a beautiful piece you’ve written Ms. Rodgers. I’ve bookmarked your website so I can read more of what you’ve written. Thank you!

  18. My brother has the opposite problem. He is a putatively thoroughly heterosexual male who doesn’t like women, but is stuck with them because he is heterosexual.

  19. There you have a contradiction in terms.

  20. Ben, you’d be surprised at how things change over time. In 1955, Princess Margaret dropped Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorced man.
    However, Prince Charles divorced his wife and in 2005, married Camilla.

    In just 50 years, the taboo on divorce and remarriage had been broken.

    The same kind of change happened with slavery, the slave trade, the slaughter of witches, the belief in demon possession and the definition of usury. If it can happen with these issues, the same change can happen to same sex marriage.

  21. I think there are a lot of men like that. They prefer to spend most of their time with men, and only want to spend time with a woman for as long as it takes to have an orgasm. These men need to be educated to learn how much more satisfying their lives could be if they became gay.

  22. But Richard, they are not gay. That is the problem for them.

  23. I agree with you that things change. But on none of those other issues did so much change, and there weren’t a lot of witch hating witches, or divorce hating divorced people’s who were not also seriously inconvenienced by their marriages.

    I don’t have the time to write right now, but I suspect this issue is a lot different,

  24. But Ben, if it’s possible for people to become ex-gay, it must certainly be possible to become ex-straight. I had no trouble making the choice to be gay, so these frustrated straight men should easily be able to make that choice, shouldn’t they? But if they need some help, maybe they need to be reminded that with God, all things are possible. And as floydlee reminded us, “Christ offers hope and help . . . and deliverance for all” men who are frustrated with their sexual orientation.

  25. A beautifully written article. And for those who still claim Jesus heals gays, remember that the leaders of the ex-gay ministries admitted years ago nobody changed orientation from homosexual to heterosexual during the 40 years of ex-gay ministries. Today, every major, decades-old ex-gay ministry has faded into history. And every medical association explained sexual orientation is not a choice, and gay conversion therapy has cured nobody, but harmed many.

  26. I’m not sure that you are right. Certainly there is heated opposition to same sex marriage, just as there was to Darwin’s theory of evolution. However, over time the evidence for evolution has strengthened and the opposition to evolution is increasingly confined to extremists.

    I think the same change will happen with attitudes to same sex marriage, as more and more people take it for granted.

  27. I don’t disagree with you that things can, will, and do change. Eventually, the most heated opposition to same-sex marriage will lie with the most extreme. My point is, however, that this is going to take a lot to time to accomplish, because religious grifters have made it a centerpiece to their theology, and they see the whole house of cards falling down. And then also because of the political grifters who earn their livings from it, and form the homosexual hating homosexuals that infest conservative religion like bedbugs, but who hide behind their putative heterosexuality and obvious gay bating.

  28. I’m sorry but pervert marriage will never be real marriage. Marriage was created by God, not the government. 1 man and 1 woman to procreate. Real marriage will always be, this pervert marriage will never be so in the eyes of God. Its part of our degenerate society in which we live.

  29. That is a complete lie. Yes, people have been set free from the bondage of homosexuality. People have changed, if they so desire to change. God can do anything.

  30. Please offer some evidence for your nonsensical claim. You won’t be able to because you are wrong. Anyone can Google “Exodus International admits gays can’t change”; and “Love in Action leader John Smid says nobody changed from homosexual to heterosexual”. Those were the largest and oldest ex-gay ministries. Today you can’t find a single ‘ex-gay’ except those on the payroll of an anti-LGBT organization.

  31. Too late. God gave the victory to the equality forces. Marriage is legal in many nations and many churches are now LGBT affirming. You won’t get it, but your grandkids will. Only God can create a homosexual and only God does – in the mother’s womb.

  32. Ben has a knack of turning friends into enemies, positive comments into negative ones and nitpicking individual points while missing the big picture. And I say that as someone who is on the side of equality for LGBT people and as a gay man who has seen Ben’s posts for years. It saddens me he can’t find any common ground.

  33. I’m sorry, but I don’t have the slightest idea of what you are talking about. If MGlass saw anything as an attack, he had a right to say so. I don’t see anything in my comments that was untrue or out of the realm of possibility if it were an opinion.

  34. there is no cure for alcoholism. That doesn’t mean the behavior is acceptable or that they should give up the fight. Homosexuality is a mental illness that is also influenced by something demonic.

  35. There is an old saying that the mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small. Yes, the opposition to Darwin lives on, more than 150 years after the publication of “The Origin of the Species” but the evidence for evolution is far, far stronger now than it was in 1859. As for previous controversies, such as the witch slaughter text, or the belief that the sun goes round the earth, they are quite moribund.

    Prejudice against gays is still virulent, but it is fading, a pale shadow of what it was 50 years ago. In another 50 years it may be less virulent again.

  36. No addiction expert claims sexual orientation is an addiction (but alcoholism is). No medical doctor claims homosexuality is a mental illness (but homophobia is). However, every bigot who ever lived tried to demonize the minority group they hate. THREE STRIKES. YOU ARE OUT. YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE FOR YOUR CRAZY CLAIMS.

  37. Homophobia is a made up word. Its not even a real term. Thanks. And yes, homosexuality was definitely considered deviant behavior by most psychologists. Because of the militant homosexual agenda, any further study on this was disabled. We need to seek the truth and love the truth. We know that sin is wrong. God loves us as sinners, but he hates our sin. We can turn from sin.

  38. RVABREAD22 is actually Meade Skelton, whose youtube videos show him to be a mediocre singer drawn to corny old songs (nothing wrong with that) and an obsession with male homosexuality.

  39. I’m a songwriter and Your opinion on “medicore” is that. An opinion. But God’s word on homosexuality is clear. It is an abomination. I am not obsessed with homosexuality. I only disagree that we can embrace it.

  40. We are leading people astray. God is not okay with sin. Its not just about homosexuality, but any kind of sin. We should not embrace it as the body of Christ.We must minister and help people get lifted out of bondage.

  41. Its no more a delusion than people saying that God is okay with homosexuality (or any kind of perversion for that matter). People have been delivered from homosexuality, just as they have been delivered from pornography, drug addiction, gambling, etc. We must treat this as a spiritual issue.

  42. of course sex can be an addiction. And sexual orientation makes pathways in the brain which re-establish the behavior.

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