In this article, the author does not attempt to take a position on one side or the other, but rather to present the facts as they currently exist. Your comments will add to the discussion of this important issue.
Same sex marriage – some have coined this issue as the civil rights issue of the 21stCentury. Freemasonry has defined its tenets as based in morality; morality defined by legal statutes derived from the Judeo-Christian values set forth in the Volume of Sacred Law. So how does the Fraternity view the battle for same sex marriage and how will the outcome affect membership in the future. As recently as 2009, a member of a local lodge was asked to resign after “coming out” on the basis that his relationship was immoral.
Recently, in California, Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by the courts and will most likely make its way to the Supreme Court. The religious right claims that marriage is clearly defined in the Bible as a union between a man and a woman. The most often quoted passage is the “abomination” paragraph in Leviticus, even though there are more than 20 references to homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments. The LGBT supporters state that there are many passages that are no longer adhered to including dietary constraints and prescribed punishments for digressions and therefore the homosexual argument is not valid. You can’t pick and choose which verses you will adhere to and those you will ignore.
So how does this all translate in the United States in 2010? The number of states allowing same sex marriage or civil unions is growing daily; the number of children being raised by same sex parents increases; and the number of corporations and local governments accepting these unions for the purpose of domestic benefits skyrocket. So as the climate surrounding this issue changes, will the Fraternity also change?
One must look at this issue in a historical perspective. One hundred years ago, or even 50 years ago if a petitioner was living with a woman without being married, it might have been considered immoral and the applicant might have been rejected on that basis. And yet in modern society, the live-in arrangement has become the rule rather than the exception. No longer is this looked upon as being an indication of an applicant’s lack of morality. Many of these couples are raising children and the group is considered a family unit with significant others participating as spouses would. And as attitude changed, so also the Fraternity changed.
It will be interesting to see how the Fraternity addresses the issue of same sex marriage as the national climate changes. Please take the time to weigh in on this issue.