On December 20, 2013 a U.S. District Judge ordered Utah’s defense of marriage legislation unconstitutional, in effect overturning a legally approved ban on same sex marriage that was passed by Utah voters in 2004. Many states across this nation seem to be dropping like flies through both judicial and legislative processes as of late regarding the issue of same sex marriage; although Utah may seem to be just one more of those states, both sides of the debate recognize that this decision in this state has massive repercussions. Usually, I do not like to wade into politics in my writing, but since I believe that the issue of marriage and sexuality is more spiritual than political in nature, I desired to write a short piece to help our church who ministers in this state to think correctly and Biblically through these issues.
Before we look at how Christians should respond, let us be certain we understand the issues well. For one committed to the Bible as their sole authority for faith and practice, same sex marriage is an impossibility. Neither society nor governments created the institution of marriage; therefore, no society nor government has any authority to define what marriage is. Let us be clear conservative societies have no right to define marriage as being between one man and one woman and so-called progressive societies have no right to define marriage as between two men or two women. Governments, societies, cultures, communities do not define marriage. God defines marriage and he has done so in his Holy Bible. In that sense, same sex marriage is a pretend agreement that the government is expecting everyone to pretend exists. So whether by legislation or by judicial overreach, the governments given to us are asking us (or commanding us) to pretend the imaginary is real. The way in which the liberal society does this is by redefining what marriage is. God has defined marriage as a lifetime covenant made between one man and one woman whereby they leave their current familial setting and vow to forsake all others thus creating a new family unit which God may or may not bless with children and in so doing provide one another with suitable companionship until one or both individuals dies. This is God’s ideal, but the war against Biblical marriage began long before the latest rulings for same sex marriage. The attack against Biblical marriage in this particular society began when marriages stopped being about lifetime covenants made between a man and woman and validated by God as their witness and began to be about “expressions of love and affection.” When marriage ceases to be about two naturally distinct genders covenanting together to create a new family unit in cohesive, loving, and mutually beneficial companionship and becomes more about an expression of deep affection; it is not long before it begins to make sense that two members of the same sex are thought to have the right to express deep affection. By deemphasizing the covenant aspect of marriage and emphasizing the emotive affection in a marriage, many have been convinced that it is only natural if a man and woman can show their love by getting married why two men cannot or two women show their love by getting marriage. You are not opposed to love and commitment are you? It my civil right to love whoever I desire! By changing the argument from being about the covenant of marriage, to being about so called “love” and appealing to emotion, liberals have won popular opinion in the up and coming generation.
We also need to understand that the issue is not about civil rights. The lawyer for the same-sex couples who brought suit against Utah leading to the judge’s decision used this argument, she said that “gay marriage [is the] civil rights movement of this generation.” Think carefully, how is marriage, gay or straight, a civil right? How is it being denied to anyone if it is? What is being denied is government recognition for certain beneficial purposes (like tax purposes or legal purposes). But most of those benefits from being married are already legally obtainable in most if not all states. Most states allow “civil unions” for legal reasons between same-sex couples. And if that fails, same-sex couples are able to get “power of attorney” for most everything else. I am not for these things, but it shows that legal recourse for supposed “same-sex couples” has been possible before the challenges to Biblical marriage. There are some things that are different, such as tax benefits, but that is different, single people do not get tax benefits married couples do; neither widows or widowers. Is it not a civil right that single people get the same benefits as married people? The reason why any group gets tax advantage because of their relationship situation is because somewhere along the lines, our government deemed it beneficial to societal structure for certain relationships to be encouraged. The Government cannot force anyone to get married, but they can provide benefits to those who do, knowing that heterosexual marriage relationships creates cultural and moral stability for the society as a whole. The government does not have to give advantage to married couples, but they certainly are free to if it is shown that such an advantage benefits the society. My point in this, is that it should be clear that all the oppositions to bans on gay marriage is not a civil rights issue, but rather a desire to call evil good and good evil. It is as Romans 1 says, not wanting to retain God in knowledge or express gratitude to God, but to suppress God’s truth on the matter.
Finally, we need to understand that the speed and pervasiveness of the attack on Biblical value in our society is at a breakneck pace and unless God intervenes our society will continue in this trajectory. The resolve of the judicial branch in our nation to defy the will of a vast majority of people in favor of this judges personal feelings regarding what marriage is and who should be married is shocking. This is what has most people, Christian or not reeling. This ruling seems so bold. A valid legal process was enacted in 2004 where the will of the people was heard and the constitution properly amended to reflect the will of the citizens; but that civil way of conducting law was rudely attacked by one judge expressing his personal opinions. The media would have us believe that those who oppose same-sex marriage are the minority of backwards religious zealots. If that is so, how do they explain that 32 states have bans on gay marriage by either Constitutional amendment or state law; but only 18 states have legal same-sex marriage, and seven of those were only by court decision (Utah being the latest), eight by legislation and only three by popular vote. The media would have you believe that if you are opposed to same-sex marriage you are the woeful minority who needs to move into the 21st century, but the actual math does not measure up. My argument is not for a political solution, but I share these numbers to point out that the worldly agenda that is opposed to Biblical truths one of which is Biblical marriage will skew the facts, twist the numbers, use propaganda and coercion in an effort to get their desired results. This will happen so quickly in the months and years ahead, that many professing Christians may find themselves checking their Bibles at the door and embracing godless ideologies.
(to be continued)