As France became the 14th country to legalize gay marriage, Oprah took the issue of gay marriage to her talk show, Super Soul Sunday. Winfrey asked her three panelists, Episcopal Rev. Ed Bacon, author and educator Elizabeth Lesser and philosopher Mark Nepo whether they thought the shift in gay marriage attitudes is a social evolution or cultural shift.
Nepo noted, “The more we as a nation have suffered, the more our hearts have opened up.”
Lesser said that as a child, gay people were never spoken about. While she admitted that she probably knew some gay people, she certainly didn’t know it at the time because everything was so under wraps. It wasn’t until she befriended a gay man and nursed him through AIDS that she realized everyone wants love.
When Oprah asked if the institution of marriage was in jeopardy with the marriage of gay people, Lesser replied, “The institution of marriage was already in trouble, long before the gays were getting married.”
Rev. Bacon said that marriage would actually be enriched with the allowance of gay marriage. He said that he’s never had a straight couple come to him saying their marriage was in trouble because of the gay couple next door. In fact, he found the opposite.
Bacon not only has gay couples in his Parrish, but has also married same-sex couples. He also said that children of gay couples are just part of the wood work these days.
“That’s the notable thing,” Bacon said about the kids. “That it’s not notable anymore.”
Bacon said that one of the leaders in his church always says: “Where you stand on this issue depends on where you sit on Sunday mornings,” meaning that sitting in church and worshipping next to a gay couple is enriching both couples’ lives.
By the end of the discussion, all panelists and Oprah seemed to agree that exposure is one of the answers.