I left a note on the National Organization for Marriage blog that I wrote carefully, in response to their ad. Here it is:
One of the big problems I see is that when kids are taught that it’s okay for other people to marry anyone they want, they naturally apply that same logic to themselves. So teaching tolerance can end up advocating homosexuality. The big message of this ad is that gays aren’t just asking for tolerance any more, but instead want to evangelize their lifestyle in a (manditory) public venue.
I think the really scary thing happening in school is that we don’t have full control over the values that our kids develop. Some of them, exposed to a message of tolerance, are going to go past that tolerance and experiment with a homosexual lifestyle, against the wishes of their parents. It’s plenty hard just teaching kids the basics, like a sense of justice and fair play. State mandated messages in school open a can of worms that would probably be easier to deal with a few years later when the kids are adults and have their value systems more fully formed.
If we’re going to be teaching tolerance to the children of people of some faiths, who believe that homosexuality is an abomination, then we need to get the message in school clear that, while homosexuality should be tolerated and is part of the “normal” spectrum of human behavior in the larger world, it is NOT acceptable and NOT normal if you are going to be a member of these faiths. Then at least the kids can wrestle directly with the issue that their parent’s faith requires a stricter set of behavior than society at large does. That leads to questions of faith which can then be directed to a priest, elder, etc.
About the marriage license thing: you are part of many groups. Some large, like your state, which grants marriage licenses. Some less inclusive, like your faith. The norms of the more inclusive groups have to be broader. That’s why your faith can say no to homosexuality while your state may say okay. Since lots of people get married in a church, they tend to think of marriage as being something granted by the church. But that hasn’t been true for a long time. As my pastor pointed out, I was legally married to my wife BEFORE we got to church, just by the process of getting a marriage license.
Lighten up about the imprimatur of your approval. If people want to know how you feel about homosexuality they’ll look to your faith before they look to your state, and that’ll be clear enough.