First, I want to say how much I enjoy being friends with many of you on this forum. I love that my beliefs bring me close to those with the same beliefs, and I love that my beliefs, which are the polar opposite of some others' beliefs, do not stop us from also having a friendship. I've been in many discussion recently on my stance with the whole gay marriage issue. I've made people on both sides mad. :lol-sign: But I think it's important for each person to have the opportunity to explain what they believe and why. In addition, it just makes for good discussion. Gay Marriage: I'm not for nor against it. In truth, I think the federal government needs to get out of it. At the most, it should be a state governing issue. At the least, just make it legal already and move past it. My feelings on homosexuality are complicated. I think people are who they are. I have friends, who are a "lesbian couple" (although I don't bother thinking of them that way), and I know for a fact that 1 is in the relationship after a horrid 15-year marriage with an abusive husband. She has openly said that she couldn't look at men the same way. For her, this was a "choice". For her partner, also my friend, she had always known she was "different" (aren't we all....lol). Thus it could be said she was "born this way". Here's the thing: no matter what someone does, I hate sin. But I don't hate the sinner (I'd be my own #1 hater! ). In fact, my heart breaks that we treat others, especially those struggling with feelings and emotions they cannot get a grip on, with disdain. God doesn't love the "in-crowd". Jesus didn't hang around the good kids who never did anything wrong. I don't get why we can't open our arms and love people and show them kindenss. I am very close to one particular cousin, and to be frank, I always thought he was gay (or would be gay). I just always had that feeling. He, too, was brought up in the Baptist church, but they switched to Greek Orthodox when he was about 15. We're in our 30's now. It breaks my heart to watch him struggle with his own sexuality, especially the feelings of wanting to love and be loved by that one special person, and yet struggle with his perception of what the Bible says. He attends church every Sunday, and he enjoys that time. But at the same time, he's waging an internal battle between religion and himself. Here's the thing: religion is MAN-MADE. It's not about religion; it's about a personal relationship with God. Yes, I've read the Bible from front to back and back to the front again. I've done numerous Bible studies throughout my life. I took 4 years of Bible classes in high school. I know what the Bible says. It is not my place in this world to pass judgment and condemn someone (I'm not talking about a thief going to court...I'm talking about the person himself/herself). That's not my place, and it's specifically talked about and looked down upon in the Bible. Yes, we all make judgements on a daily basis - it's what helps us to make our own decisions as to what is right or wrong and whether or not we should do it or not. That kind of judgement happens. But it's not my place to turn my back on someone who is gay, nor on someone who told a lie or stole something or who had an abortion. I may not like and/or condone the action, but it doesn't mean I don't like or love the person. Heck, I'll be the first to admit I'm soooooooooooooooo not perfect (I know, I know....hard to imagine, ain't it ). I always hope that people know they can come to me regardless of differences. I pray that people know that I wouldn't ever turn my back on them based upon their sexuality. The only job God gave me is to love and be a vessel for His grace. I'm to stand up for what I believe in, and I'm to be the best example I can be. I'm to witness, not just by words, but by actions. I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes. I'm a good ol' sinner. I'm not to forsake my beliefs for what is popular, but I'm also not to distort my beliefs to apply them in a manner they are not truly applicable (if that makes sense). I want to thank y'all for reading this rambling post. I'm not even sure why I felt the need to write it, but I just did. As much as I love having friends and friendships with those different from me, I love that those same people respect me for who I am and are willing to put in the same level of attention to establish a mutual friendship. Difference shouldn't equal hatred.