FATHERLY LOVE

Pastor Hopes To Officiate Gay Son’s Wedding In OR As He Did For His Other Gay Son In WA

rossingRetired Lutheran pastor Gilbert Rossing of Olympia, Washington, penned a moving op-ed for The Oregonian about same-sex marriage. Rossing has been married to his wife for 53 years and together they have four grown children, two of whom happen to be gay.

Any parent should be so lucky to have not one, but two queens in the family, but Rossing’s faith initially blinded him to the embarrassment of riches with which God, or what have you, blessed him:

On a March night in 1987, our oldest son — now a Portland business owner — told his mother and me that he was gay.

My first, determined response was to counsel him both as father and pastor, and both academically and biblically, to turn back from this identity. When he tearfully pleaded, “I don’t want to lose you!” I realized that my pontificating was driving him away. I needed to listen and learn.

When I first wrestled with Scripture passages, I was struck by the disconnectedness between the idolatrous and sexually abusive behaviors the Bible condemned in contrast to the high character and integrity of my son. I began to see that my quickness to judge contradicted the Biblical mandate not to judge, and violated the basic command to love our neighbor — my son — as we love ourselves.

Through ensuing years I developed an understanding not only of my older son, but also my younger son, who is gay as well. I was fortunate to become friends with dozens of devout, godly people who are gay, lesbian and transgender. I saw that we may seem different, but we all have a lot more in common.

Rossing, who led Portland’s Gethsemane Lutheran Church before hanging up his vestments, wrote the column in support of a petition currently circulating to put the freedom to marry on the Oregon ballot for November 2014.

“That freedom,” Rossing writes, “would also give me the religious freedom to officiate at the wedding of my Portland son and his partner of 15 years, much as I did this year at the Washington marriage of his brother.”

Last year, Washington was one of three states to legalize same-sex marriage through landmark popular votes. The Oregon Says I Do campaign is working towards brining marriage equality to that state — you can learn more about it and get involved here.