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2I’m going to say this in the plainest and shortest way I know how. I’m not against gay marriage. That puts me at odds with many, if not most, of my Christian brethren. That includes people I’m bound to in spirit and people I’m related to by blood.

When my home state, Indiana, lifted the ban on gay marriage this week, I couldn’t turn left or right without hearing about it. On Wednesday night, I was sitting in a church pew, where my friends worried about what it meant for their freedom of speech. On Thursday night, I had dinner with friends in a women’s golf league, where a significant percentage of the membership is gay. The mood there was nothing if not celebratory.

If you’re reading this as a Christian who is against gay marriage, you might wonder how I defend my neutrality. I’m not up to writing a tomb on the subject today, but I’ll give you a clue about my thinking.

Based on what I know of Jesus, he wasn’t all that interested in earthly laws. Even a beginning student of the Bible knows that His was a spiritual kingdom. His influence on our earthly laws is shown in fairness, otherwise known as due process. It is also recognizable in our moral standards for showing love and respect to all human beings.

Denying health care and other tangible benefits to people based on their sexual identities is not only the opposite of his example; it’s a form of bullying in a society that often considers these benefits a birthright. Nothing in the nature of Christ makes me think I can defend His name by rebuking or diminishing other people based on their sexual preferences.

We live in a country where religious freedom is protected by separation of church and state. It’ll take a lot more to overturn that than marriage rights for gay couples. Christians compromise nothing when they respect and/or show deference to gay families that are every bit as loving as their own.

God owns everything and everyone. What he says goes. I suspect that many an observant Christian may find himself on the outs with God for having too much enthusiasm for judging his neighbor and too little for examining himself.

Every week, many Christians accept communion with sin so deeply embedded in our lives that we can’t even see it, much less change it. We categorize ourselves as better or worse than our neighbors based on comparisons of sin. Socially acceptable traits like greed, envy and other matters of the heart are marginalized and never quite make it to the top of our reform list. That’s a warped point of view that can only be covered by God’s grace.

Is it possible that wanting so fervently to exclude gay people from legal rights other couples have is distracting us from our sins? Is it possible that some of us will need God’s grace for that? I think so.

I hate to imagine my life without the gifts of friendship, love and forgiveness I’ve received from gay friends, family and co-workers. Among them are the smartest, kindest, most loyal and talented people I know. Love them? You bet I do. Fervently. I don’t want any of my cherished people to be mistreated religiously, legally or otherwise.

You may not realize it, but someone you love is gay. What are you saying in their presence?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.