The simple answer to the same-sex marriage issue

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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Why Gay People Should Not Get Married

The best reason for society to legalize and encourage gay marriage is that it would reduce the spread of AIDS,  cut-down on society's health costs, and help gay people live longer and more contributing, healthy lives.
The simplest answer to the same-sex marriage issue is to loosen the use of the term "married" so it's equivalent to "coupled," rather than to "legally contracted."

Then people who want to be married only need call themselves married to be accorded the various respects and honors and benefits that go with being married.

The so-called "activist judges" were simply intelligent jurists who saw that American Constitutional democracy doesn't allow for religious-based discrimination. But it's too bad they framed the issue as the right to marry, instead of as the similarity between gay relationships and traditional "common law marriage."

We wouldn't have the legal fight we have now if what they'd said is that gay relationships that look like marriages, like common law unions, should be recognized as genuine, voluntarily entered into, human bonds and respected accordingly.

That's really how we use the term "married" in gay life anyway. People speak of themselves as being married in the sense of having a stable romantic partner even though the legal standing doesn't really apply.

Of course, there would be times and situations where things needed to have been more legally specified, times when property and money were disputed over, or inheritances passed on. But those should be handled in legal contracts anyway.

Besides, the loose term "married" shouldn't have to imply so many contractual obligations and agreements. That it does is what requires the creation of another kind of legal contract: the "pre-nup" in which married people renounce or deny one another the contractual agreements of marriage!

It's ironic that the forces that want to prevent gay people from marrying don't see these so-called "prenuptual agreements" as, by far, the greater threat to tradaitional marriage.

The reality is: "married" just means "coupled." Who knows who's legally married to whom? Who asks to see marriage licenses to prove couples are actually married?

What difference does it make?

Let us accord one another respect for the intimate, meaning-giving relationship in our lives. Human beings "tend to come in pairs." We're intimacy-seeking beings. Coupling with another person for companionship and especially physical intimacy with one another (which is what the term "married" most implies) is part of our experience of creating our worlds. We literally create our lives by having somebody else to talk with about and share the experience with. (Of course, not all of us seem to need that kind of partnership. Lots of us are loners.)

Why Gay People SHOULD Get Married

Coupling, especially when it's recognized and celebrated by friends and associates--as happens in a regular ceremony of Marriage or Holy Union, gives people a sense of safety and security in their most intimate relationship.

Coupling tends naturally towards monogamy, and alleviates the continual sexual pressures of promiscuity. In that sense, coupling is good for one's physical health AND one's mental health. Coupling in the gay world is one of the simplest protections from the dangers of AIDS.

Why Gay People Should NOT Get Married

Gay relationships are qualitatively different from straight relationships. We understand sex differently; we have a different model for what our partners means to us and their places in our lives. The fundamental model of marriage that most heterosexuals embrace--and famously proclaim as "family values"--just doesn't apply to us. And we shouldn't want it to.

Heterosexual marriage is based around the emotional attractions of the opposite poles of the male-female polarity. This is about the complementarity of the organs of reproduction. The emotional bonding of man and woman fills the missing half of each in order to create the one whole being which then gives birth to new life. Heterosexual marriage is about bonding at the level of reproduction and subsequent creation of a nest and household in which to raise children.

The model of the family is traditionally hierarchical and structured. The male and female partners have roles specified for them by their sexual function in the relationship.

Gay relationships are not based on this kind of attraction at all. Sexual attraction is not about the complementarity of the physical organs. Gay people don't have sex in order to complete a bio-hormonal process. Our sex is not about glands and organs.
Gay people don't see their partners as "other halves,"with body parts and traits and gender-defined roles that complete them.

From a purely functionalist perspective (like that, say, of St. Augustine), then gay sex has no function; and even straight sex should be entered into only for the purpose of fertilizing the egg in the female and done in a way that gives the minimally necessary amount of pleasure for the male to perform his function.

But then that's missing the point of what sex is as a state of consciousness. Even for straight people, sex is mostly about pleasure and neurodynamics in the brain.

It's those neurodynamics that gay sex witnesses to.

Our sex is about sharing that pleasure with another body, because the presence of another body (either in reality or in imagination) is what gets those processes in consciousness going.

Gay love and sex is about seeing one's Self in one's partner, that is, seeing that one's partner is an expression and manifestation of consciousness just as one is oneself.

It's "God's" realization that he's the consciousness in every being in the universe, for the universe is "God" evolving into God and discovering himself in everything.

In this sense, gay relationship has mystical overtones that reverberate with the spiritual messages of almost all the world's religions that God is the ultimate unity and harmony in the cosmos.

Jesus Christ told us to recognize his presence in everybody we meet: "What you do to the least of these, my brothers and sisters, that you do to me." That is, other people are "other Christs."

Avalokiteshvara (a lovely gay-resonant mythological image written about extensively elsewhere in this website ) agreed to become every sentient being in order to save them all from suffering.

Whether we realize it or not, all of us human beings are "incarnations of Avalokiteshvara" and "other Christs."

Heterosexual love and heterosexual sex is about bringing the incomplete halves together to create a new being which, in turns, gives birth to yet a new sentient being.

Homosexual love and homosexual sex is about seeing that all of us sentient beings are incarnations of that One Being--Christ, Avalokiteshvara, Gaia, Dharmakaya, Yah, planet Earth, etc.

Of course, practically and legally, gay couples need legal protections. That's why marriage rights need to include us.
But we MUST BEWARE confusing our relationships with straight relationships. They really are NOT the same.

It's not a matter of one being better than the other, but of the model of relationship and interpersonal interaction being different.

Of course, in a free society everybody should be able to do what they want with their lives so long as they don't hurt other people. It's a violation of human freedom for one set of people to impose their will on another--especially based on something as flimsy and neurotic as being "offended" by someone else's sexual and affectional behavior.

If gay people want to get married, they should have every right to. It is NOT the government's business to determine how the citizens live their personal lives.

Thus the political fight for gay marriage is important:

1) because it communicates to gay and lesbian teenagers who are just discovering their sexual orientation that true love and long-term relationship potentially await them as adults, and

2) because the forces against gay marriage are telling lies and misrepresenting what gay experience actually is.

The discriminatory nature of the so-called Constitutional "Defense of Marriage" Amendments are just hateful and discriminatory and scapegoating. The Amendments should be defeated--if only out of compassion and kindness, the real "Christian values."

The Simple Answer to the Same-Sex Marriage Debate


Gay writer Scott Bidstrup has a wonderful essay dealing with all the specific issues. I recommend it highly.
Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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