Table of Contents
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
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"
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
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
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
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
back to top