Coming soon to a country near you....

(YAY! I can finally access my "post something" page again - major problems yesterday)

So it seems South Africa will be legalizing gay marriages in the near future. And of course it's got a lot of people hot under the collar! Mainly the big Christian groups, with similar arguments to those we've heard on the American front.

But I'm surprised at my own reaction to the situation. It actually doesn't bother me at all that they're legalizing these unions. Now, I'm probably going to be consigned to the nearest Hot Place by a couple of good Christians for being a Bad Christian (or flamed in my comments box, for all I know), and maybe I deserve it - but I'm just not bothered.

Thinking it through, the phrase "live and let live" keeps coming into my head. Look, gay folk have chosen this path, and many have fought like crazy against awful odds to be together, ending up rejected by those who they had hoped would support etc. A year or so back, two women finally won the battle to adopt kids - who would have gone parentless otherwise. These ladies are in a permanent long-term relationship, completely committed to each other for life, and now raising a family together - more committed than many "normal" marriages I've seen. But legally they can't claim the benefits of this. They're not acknowledged as each other's spouse for purposes of insurance, or anything else.

There's a similar situation with common-law Muslim marriages. One woman's husband died, but because the state doesn't recognize Muslim marriage, she couldn't claim anything - not even rights to her kids, who ended up with her husband's parents.

It's a bit of a mess, really. The country is having to rethink how it defines marriage in a variety of ways.

Wouldn't it be better just to let these folk live the way they've chosen to, and allow them the benefits, the recognition the rest of us have? They've got enough other struggles to face without this gigantic one too.

Yes, I'm aware of all the Bible texts condemning gay unions/lifestyle, I know all the Christian arguments, and I've also seen the absolute hurt some Christians inflict on this group.

And I've also seen grace. Like this post at OtherEndUp a few days back.

I choose grace. I choose to treat these fellow children of my Creator with respect, in spite of a lifestyle I would not choose myself. I choose to offer them friendship and support, though I do not know many of them personally. I choose to do what I can to make their lives easier. I do not know what makes a person gay, nor do I really care whether it's genetic or a choice - but I choose not to judge. I am not God and I cannot read the heart.

So I choose grace.