Gay Marriage and Theology

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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

and the answer to the condemnations of homosexuality
Fundamentalist Protestants find in the Bible

After visiting this page, please take a look at Lethe Press/White Crane Books.
This is the publisher Toby Johnson now works with. We have a wonderful selection of titles.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal,  that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights,  that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of

        --The Declaration of Independence (4 July 1776)

The answer to the "Gay Marriage Debate" lies in traditional Roman Catholic doctrine and old-time conservative political ideology.

The Catholic Church teaches that the "ministers" or "celebrants" of the sacrament of Matrimony are the two people who are marrying one another, not the priest. The priest is present simply to witness the marriage (and because it is a legal contract to record it) and to offer the community's blessing on the new life the pair has chosen to share together.

The Church doesn't perform the sacrament: the couple does.

And the way sacraments work is that they work if the people performing them believe they work. In the condemnation of the early Church heresy of Donatism, theologians held that the moral state of the priest didn't matter (and neither does the priest's approval or opinion of the marriage). The validity of the sacrament is in the belief of the receiver.

Remember in catechism class the nuns taught that if somebody is dying you should baptize them (whether you have any business doing so or not) and you should hear their confession if they want to confess to you (cause in their delirium they might think you're a priest). If people believe they are receiving a valid sacrament, then they are.

I would argue that gay couples who adminster the sacrament of Matrimony to one another do--by virtue of their intention to commit themselves before God. After all, the "validity" of the sacrament is up to God, not the Church officials.

It's the state, not the sacramental system or God, that is determined by legal rules. BUT the very basis of conservative political ideology is that the state should stay out of the private lives of individuals. Things like God, religion, sacraments--and personal relationships--are none of the government's business.

And they are correct about that.

The government's role is to witness and record the contract. And that's all. Certainly not to tell individuals who they can and can't marry.

So, ironically, according to Catholic teaching and Conservative (Republican???) political theory, gay couples who want to enter into a contractual relationship and concelebrated sacramental union can and do.


And the answer to the question "what does the Bible say about homosexuality?" lies in orthodox Protestant theology.

Central to the Protestant Reformation was the idea of "private interpretation of Scripture," i.e. it wasn't the officials of the Roman Catholic Church who should declare what the Bible says, but rather the Holy Spirit working in the souls of the faithful.

So what the Bible says and means is what it says and means to me, and to you, that is, what it means to the individual reader.

Fundamentalist preachers and TV evangelists have no more authority than the R.C. Church in this regard. They have no business telling other people what the Bible says; they can only say what it says to them. The rest of us are on our own also. When we read the Bible, what we get from it is what comes forth from our interior inspiration.

What the Bible says to homosexuals is what homosexuals get from reading the Bible. We naturally see that the taboos and primitive rules and primitive interpretations of biblical times have little meaning for modern, psychologically-sophisticated, rationally-minded, 21st century high-tech culture. And so what the Bible really says about homosexuality is what we, with enlightened minds and good hearts, understand. And that ought necessarily be gay-positive.

Besides, Jesus's advice was to abandon all those old and numerous commandments of the books of the Law. A new Commandment I give you, he said, Love One Another.

Do to others what you'd want done to you. Treat other people as though they were you yourself.

Isn't that simple?

Using Jesus's criteria, how could anyone deny another person love, affection, and sexual fulfillment? Why would anybody think a five thousand year old law for desert dwelling nomads should be used to deny human rights to people in today's world?


Click here for information about Toby Johnson's books

See also: Shame on the American People for the November 2004 & (in California, Florida & Arkansas 2008) election
What Jesus said about the cause of homosexuality
What Jesus said about Gay Rights


The value of the gay marriage debate is that it demonstrates to young homosexuals that true love and stable relationship awaits them, not the isolation and loneliness that popular belief used to hold out as the inevitable future for homosexuals. How wonderful for such youth struggling to understand and cope with their burgeoning sexual orientation to find role models in the lesbian and gay couples who are coming forth to proclaim their commitment to one another and petition that their de facto legal and economic issues be accommodated in the law.

And the prejudice, meanness, and narrow-mindedness of the opposition to acknowledging the reality of gay relationships demonstrates to gay people at least--and maybe also to a sizable segment of psychologically- sophisticated non-gay moderns--that so-called conservative thinking and old time religion fail to encourage loving attitudes, harmonious behavior, and spiritual enlightenment.

This should remind the gay population how important it is that they lead exemplary lives of kindness, generosity, good citizenship, and integrity. Since people whom today we'd likely call by the inexact term "gay" have throughout time been the artists, cultural leaders, and spiritual guides on the "cutting edge" of human evolution, it's a good thing for contemporary homosexuals to be impelled to demonstrate and promote compassionate attitudes toward all racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities.

The struggle for same sex marriage is not about besmirching traditional arrangements but really about creating that "kinder and gentler society" the first George Bush had supposedly called for. It's about urging the majority of Americans to be compassionate instead of prejudiced, and kind and generous instead of petty and selfish.

Why Gay People Should NOT Get Married

Toby and Kip's successful longterm relationship and the Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay writer Scott Bidstrup has a wonderful essay dealing with all the specific issues. I recommend it highly.
Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives

The Bible DOES NOT define marriage at all!
Read: Four Things You Didn't Know About God and Same Sex Marriage
from the Center for American Progress


BACK to Toby's home page
Click here for information about Toby Johnson's books

See also: Shame on the American People for the November 2004/2008 election
What Jesus said about the cause of homosexuality
What Joseph Campbell called, only half-jokingly,
"the highest form of love" in the Middle Ages.

COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE OFFERS DIVORCE alternative for same-sex couples Through EMPHASIS ON COMMUNICATION & THE FUTURE Behind the flurry of media attention surrounding gay marriage, very real gay couples are also facing the unfortunate reality of relationships dissolving. When sanctioned marriages fall apart, spouses have the legal option of divorce. But when the law doesn’t even recognize your partnership, what options are left? Collaborative Practice, a divorce alternative that focuses on communication and cooperation, offers same-sex partners a legal alternative to divorce.  This Practice places an emphasis on respect, mutual agreement, taking the edge off the often painful disentanglement of lives, children and assets – all outside of the court.

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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