“Religious Right Must Embrace Gay Marriage.”

Many social conservatives have come out against gay marriage, Steven N. Goings insists they’re doing themselves a disfavor. Rather than shunning gays, he writes, religious types need to appreciate queer courage and make room in the congregations for same-sex lovers.

Have you ever stopped to consider the moral courage it takes for gays and lesbians to refuse to let their pariah social status push them into lives of debauchery, shame and self-destruction in the face of religious and social forces that seek to exile them to the underbelly of society? The desire of same-sex couples to be included in the institution of marriage is not an assault on family values; it is an embrace of those values.

Social structures and forms change, but the spirit of the law forever bends towards love, charity and mercy. Religious conservatives need to rethink their strategy of shutting the gay community out of the very institutions–family, church, and marriage–that bring all communities into closer alignment with God’s will.

By outright rejecting out gays, says Goings, the right rejects an “opportunity to ease the heavy burden of social stigma.” Embracing the lavender set gives the right a chance to spread their word, rather than “hoard” it from the homos.

[On The Image: This painting depicts Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, who were, according to some, gay lovers. They were executed for refusing to attend sacrifices in honor of Jupiter.]