605 South 5th Street
Watertown, Wisconsin 53094
To whom it may concern,
I am a Watertown resident writing to you regarding the message displayed on your church's sign that states your opposition to same-sex marriage.
At times in our social evolution, marriage was defined as only unions between people of the same race and religion and wives were property of their husband. Those once-acceptable practices changed over time as our society evolved.
When the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that laws barring black people from marrying white people were invalid and unconstitutional, opponents insisted that marriage by definition was for partners of the same race and argued the court's decision would lead to polygamy. That was not the case. The question of who can marry is an entirely different question from how many can marry.
With marriage, comes over 1,200 federal rights and benefits such as joint child custody, tax breaks, hospital visitation of a spouse, receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses and much more. Same-sex couples are still being denied those rights and benefits in most states.
It's impossible for a country that guarantees equal protection under the law to allow some loving couples to get married while denying that same right to other loving couples. Marriage is about love and commitment – both of which same-sex couples are more than capable of. In fact, the divorce rate for same-sex couples is only about 20 percent. It's 50 percent for opposite-sex couples.
Jesus often spoke of kindness and compassion. He fought for the equal treatment of minorities. He created everybody in his image. There's no asterisk saying in small print “*except for those I make attracted to the same sex.”
I’m writing this because I’m worried about the future of the Church. The Church keeps scratching its head, wondering why 70 percent of 23-30 year-olds who were brought up in church leave. I’m going to offer a pretty candid answer, and it’s going to make some people upset, but I care about the Church too much to be quiet. We’re scared of change. We always have been. When scientists proposed that the Earth could be moving through space, church bishops condemned the teaching, citing Psalm 104:5 to say that God “set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” But the scientific theory continued, and the Church still exists.
There are gay children sitting in your congregations unknown to you they will be listening to you as you echo Amen; and that will soon silence their prayers. Their prayers to God for understanding and acceptance and for your love. But your hatred and fear and ignorance of gay people will silence those prayers. So before you echo amen in your home and in your place of worship, think, think and remember, a child is listening.
Jordan W. Turner