The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on two high profile cases that bear on whether the commitment of two homosexual individuals should be defined as marriage. One case, commonly known as Proposition 8, is a challenge to a California state law to maintain the legal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman only. The second case is a Supreme Court hearing over the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that became federal law in 1996. The basic argument put forward by those opposing Proposition 8 and DOMA and advocating same-gender “marriage” is that homosexual individuals should have the same rights as everyone else in America to love and marry whomever they wish, with corresponding legal rights and benefits. Though this argument may seem reasonable to many Americans who are proud of the American way of freedom, equality and opportunity, what is a Christian response?
First, any distortion of marriage as ordained and designed by God is wrong. Whether that is fornication, adultery, divorce, homosexuality or polygamy, all are distortions of God’s ideal. Regarding homosexuality specifically, the Scripture is clear that homosexual behavior is sin. The Old Testament, by direct statement and implication, condemns homosexual activity (Genesis 1:28, 19:5, Judges 19:22, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). The New Testament follows with clear statements against homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10).
Second, governments do not define marriage. Marriage, the union of a man and woman for companionship, procreation and rearing of children, was first designed by God at the beginning of creation before there were nations or marriage laws or ministers or justices of the peace to officiate. God said “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” and commanded the man and women to “be fruitful and multiply,” giving them complimentary bodies, organs and functions to make this possible (Genesis 1:28, 2:24). Governments and societies throughout history have recognized the benefits this institution brings to any society and have put in place laws to recognize marriage, encourage its stability, encourage proper training of children and attempt to provide fairness between parties and children when marriages are dissolved.
Third, those who have decided to live a homosexual lifestyle are not denied the rights of other Americans. They have the same right to marry whomever they choose as long as they are human, of marriageable age, of opposite gender, not a close relative and not married to someone else. Redefining marriage to include same-gender commitments opens the door to include other types of relationships as marriage. Rejection of the Scriptures as the foundation for morality by many in our society has resulted in a lack of national moral standards, which will result in continual redefinition of morality. Forty years ago, homosexuality was considered abnormal and detestable, as polygamy and incestuous relationships are now. Given a legal redefinition of marriage and another forty years, these too could be normalized.
Our nation is in need of bold truth-telling and prayer. Prayer that the U.S. is not so far down the road of ignoring God’s truths that He has given us up as He gave up those described by the apostle Paul in Romans 1 – “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error,” Romans 1:26–27 (ESV).