Around the world, many christians are embroiled in the debate on same sex marriages.
On Nov. 21, Israel’s Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, ordered the Israeli government to recognize same-sex marriages performed abroad, this on the heels of the South African decision to legalize same-sex marriage on Nov. 9.
This decision made South Africa the first African nation, and only the fifth country in the world, to remove the legal barriers.Meanwhile, in Canada, the United Church in October refused to reopen the discussion of same-sex marriage in the House of Commons. The United Church of Canada represents the nation’s largest protestant denomination.
The United Church’s moderator, the Right Rev. David Giuliano, in a speech delivered to parliament said, “parliamentarians should vote against re-opening the debate on same-sex marriage.”
While the debate worldwide continues, in the United States, 27 states have changed their constitutions to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Arizona, in the Nov. 7 election, became the first state to say no to a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
New Jersey, in October, voted to give same-sex couples the same privileges as heterosexual couples.
In Florida, same-sex marriage was not included on the ballot. Here, it is illegal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Despite the non-inclusion of same-sex marriages on the ballot, in a pre-election survey of Leon County residents conducted at the Tallahassee Democrat from Oct. 30-Nov. 3, Florida A&M University students asked residents whether marriage was solely between a man and a woman.
Leon County residents were adamant that marriage should stay between a man and a woman.
The results from the survey showed that of the 393 people surveyed, 279 people believed that marriage is between a man and a woman and only 54 disagreed.
Marriage is a union that is legally and socially sanctioned and is usually between a man and a woman, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The results of the FAMU survey show that Leon County residents believe this definition of marriage. This comes in the midst of the national debate about allowing homosexual and heterosexual couples the same legal rights.
A program assistant in the College of Engineering Sciences Technology and Agriculture, Diane Jones, said it is “not a matter of being tolerant. I don’t have a problem with gays and lesbians. I just think that marriage needs to legally remain between a man and a woman.” She went on to say that “it is not a matter of religion; it’s a matter of what is morally right.”Adeswa Erhunse, a Ph.D. candidate at FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute and a FAMU alumna, strongly believes that the marriage debate should be left up to the individuals involved.
On the topic of same-sex marriages and religion, Erhunse said, “I believe that marriage and other civil rights are essential to foundation of the family. If same-sex marriages strengthen the foundations of same-sex parents, then it makes the institution of the family safe and secure.”
Godfrey Nurse, a FAMU employee and Leon County resident, contends that gays and lesbians are functional human beings, and he has no problems with them. He said, “Just use another term, not marriage.”
“The general picture seems to be that many American Christians tend to be opposed to same sex marriage,” said Michael LaBossiere, FAMU Professor of Religion. “American Christianity is hardly monolithic. Some people oppose it on religious grounds, but do not vote against it because they regard it as a personal moral choice and not something the state should dictate. Some Christians do support same-sex marriages – but they seem to be a minority.”