Add new comment

I found this conversation to be a real gem. There were several passages in it - the empassioned statement of consumation of marriage, the statement about patriotism and compromise, and the importance of scepticism to faithful inquiry - to be worth carving on a wall somewhere.
I reflected upon the notion that both parties were in agreement, but realized that it probably would be impossible to capture the precise dialogue leading up to the point of Mr. Blankenhorn's change of heart.
There was a question from the audience that was not treated very deeply, the one about physical "fit" among different gender pairs vs. same gender pairs. The question led to a touching soliloquy about true love, which was nice. However, it could have been deepened by an exploration of the fear of the other, or the revulsion of the "different" that our historically closet-bound culture generated. The question about consummation is as legitimately asked of obese people who marry as it is of homosexuals - but we don't ask the question because obese people are normal and public in our culture, we may even have obese relatives. The governor of New Jersey is obese and no one questions his intimate life. Among the perversions that the closet wrought in our culture was the invisibility of normal gay relationships. Mr. Rauch hinted at this when he spoke of what he assumed his love life would be like (anonymous midnight liaisons) when he came to terms with his homosexuality. The consummation question was important because it was really based on an identical naivity to Mr. Rauch's, a naivity grounded in invisibility rather than mean-spiritedness. Oddly the destruction of the closet is likely the source of the swing in opinion measured in polls - relationships that are visible are conceivable to the disinterested bystander. Andrew Sullivan's article from the late 90s on "Life and Death" (adoption and the AIDS epidemic) being the genesis of the modern movement for marriage was probably the most prescient on this topic.
What was missing was a real exploration of what the scriptures say that underpins gay marriage or acts as an analogy to it. Either party could have drawn on the example of Ruth and Naomi or Paul and Silas - same sex couples who formed "family" and shared their mission in life together (absent the sexual aspect) or Jesus's great commission that we should go out into the world in pairs. Analogy is perfectly appropriate, since the basis of the sacramental treatment of marriage is the analogy that Jesus made about marriage (though John Calvin had fun with that notion in the Institutes of the Christian Religion). Or perhaps most suitably Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” What does "suitable for him" mean, and in some cases is suitable another man?
Aside from the one question being short changed and the lack of a deeper exploration of the tradition from within the tradition I thought it was a great show.