This week Rotary Club 21 in downtown Spokane hosted a “leadership dialogue” featuring Bishop Blase Cupich, of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane and Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder. The topic was referendum 74 dealing with marriage equality.
Snyder, married 15 years to Heidi, was raised with his sister in a gay household. He supports Referendum 74 because he believes the heart of marriage to be about love, commitment and responsibility and that everyone should be able to participate.
Cupich, raised in a family of nine, believes that redefining marriage will not be good for society. His view is that the law would grant exclusive rights to “relationships” and would challenge the norm of how children learn about gender roles.
Snyder made good points supporting the freedom to marry, eliminating the discrimination that exists against gay couples. He commented,” marriage makes relationships stronger why exclude people from that?” His final statement, referring to difference between marriage and civil union was, “if we call it something different it will be something different.”
Cupich’s final comment was about the law’s effect on the complementary nature of sexes and that the law would fundamentally change the “benchmark” that is marriage.
I didn’t hear anything new in this dialogue, it was a very civil discussion and I think many people wanted to make comments but the format didn’t allow anything but questions from audience. One of these questions prompted Cupich to agree that the law might eliminate some discrimination against gay couples. I think Snyder made a good case for eliminating the exclusion of gay people from marriage and Cupich made a strong argument that redefining marriage would open up many new problems related to this law. I think as a Christian, I must always rely on the great command of Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” Also from Matthew 22:39 we hear Jesus say,” And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
How can I love my neighbor and exclude them from marriage which has benefited me for last 32 years?
The Rev. Alan B. Eschenbacher serves as pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church.