So what does the Bible says about same-sex marriage? Based on the intensity of the debates, you might assume that same-sex marriage is the major issue of The Bible. In fact, same-sex marriage is never mentioned in The Bible.
In reality, even homosexuality is a minor issue in the Bible. Let's take the Book of Leviticus from the Hebrew Bible (aka the Old Testament.) The Book of Leviticus contains the most commonly cited examples of anti-homosexual verses.
In the entire Book of Leviticus, the subject of homosexuality is mentioned twice in passing. That same book discusses the subject of burnt offerings in extensive detail no less than fifty times. So we would assume the topic of burnt offerings was far more important to the author of Leviticus than the topic of homosexuality. Yet I don't know a single church that includes among its worship rituals the offering of burnt animal remains to God.
Fundamentalists explain their lack of interest in burnt offerings as based on their understanding that New Testament laws supersede Old Testament laws. If this is true, then I ask why Leviticus is quoted with such abandon in the debate about same-sex marriage.
The common fundamentalist response is that Paul also condemns homosexuality as a sin. Since the sinfulness of homosexuality is mentioned in both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and Christian Bible (New Testament), its sin status remains intact.
So let's take a look what Paul has to say on the subject. Here is a frequently quoted verse:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.Even if Paul did mean ἀρσενοκοίτης to refer to homosexuality, he certainly didn't mean it to refer to a committed same-sex relationship. This much is clear from the context of the rest of the verse. For example, in the same verse he condemns adulterers. Adulterers are those who have heterosexual sex outside of their committed relationships. One would never say that Paul's condemnation of adultery should be taken as a diatribe against committed heterosexual relationships.
So we must assume that if Paul is discussing homosexuality at all, he is discussing casual homosexual sex outside of the context of a committed relationship. This is completely consistent with his view of heterosexual sex. While Paul isn't crazy about any sexual activity at all (Paul was, by today's standard, a prude), he does accept sex within the context of committed long-term relationships (aka marriages.) And he rejects any sex, homosexual or heterosexual, outside of committed long-term relationships.
When he [Jesus] had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed... And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
The Greek word used to describe the servant was pais,a term typically used to refer to a male concubine. But Jesus didn't care if the servant was a pais or not. Jesus blessed the man and he was cured.
There is quite a bit more that one could explore about the topic of committed same-sex relationships and The Bible. For example, there are a number of committed same-sex relationships that are portrayed in the Hebrew Bible in positive, even glowing terms. One example is the relationship between David and Jonathan, a topic explored in 1 and 2 Samuel in detail. Hopefully this is obvious, but 1 and 2 Samuel are books of the Hebrew Bible, the same Bible that supposedly condemns homosexuality in Leviticus.
Based on the fact that same-sex committed relationships are portrayed positively in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, I can only conclude that if homosexual sex is condemned, it is in the context of casual sex. In other words, the Bible sees no difference between homosexual and heterosexual sex. Casual sex is casual sex and casual sex is bad. And the Bible sees no difference between same-sex committed relationships and different-sex committed relationships. Committed relationships are committed relationships and committed relationships are good.
From this discussion, I hope it is clear that there is a sin associated with committed same-sex relationships. But the sin is not on the part of those committed to such relationships. The sin is on the part of our society that refuses to sanction such relationships. Relationships that are sanctioned by the Bible.
A good resource for information on this topic is http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/.