Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)
Just about a week ago, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was in the news for two rulings in regards to same-sex marriages. One was specific to California (Proposition 8), and I won’t address that here, but the first was regarding a case challenging the constitutionality of section three (§3) of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS ruled that §3 of DOMA was indeed unconstitutional, based on the protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. (The Full Faith and Credit clause.)
And so, what began as a not very good idea continues to crumble.
In 1996, Congress rushed through (with great approval, based on the votes) the Defense of Marriage Act. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton—who at that time personally, publicly opposed gay marriage, in addition to his belief that it should not be sanctioned by the Federal government—and ever since then, DOMA has been challenged by one court case after another, slowly eroding its frail constitutional structure.
And really, I agree with this ruling.
I do not agree with same-sex marriage. I think God was pretty clear (stick with me here) speaking strictly anatomically, that there is a proper “match” between a man and a woman. The physical is obvious. And then there is the story of Adam & Eve: when God made a partner for Adam, he made Eve. (Not “Steve”.. haha!! Good one!!!) 🙂
And, the other obvious reason for a marriage to be between one man and one woman for life is procreation. You can’t actually have kids without both sexes being involved. Are you with me?
Now, I know there are seemingly a billion nuances to this. There’s one side yelling, “Homosexuality is a SIN! God hates fags!!!” And then the other side—properly and rightly offended—begins to hate the God whom these “Righteous Ones” claim to represent. And the former dig deep into the scriptures to sling judgmental condemnations straight from the Mouth of God upon these forlorn, wayward, despicable sinners! (Meanwhile ignoring their own filthy rags, and/or logs in their eyes, etc.)
The debate about what is right and what is wrong will never, ever get us anywhere.
So, if we’re arguing from the Bible, let’s take a look at Jesus. He is the final, fullest revelation of the Father, right? So, Jesus must have said plenty of times that he hated homosexuality (and then, it stands to reason, he hated homosexuals too, right?)—AND he hated, opposed, campaigned against gay marriage. Of course.
But… I don’t think Jesus ever addressed homosexuality? Weird.
Does that mean it is not a “sin”? No. Does it mean it’s “right”? Still, no. (In fact, logically you can’t presume something is “right” from the absence of a declaration of it being “wrong”, can you?)
Liberty is Paramount
What I think it does show us is the first way that we can deal with this issue.
Back off. Love people. “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”
We are not the police of anyone. (Unless of course you are a police officer, and then, well, we thank you for your service.)
It’s not my job to tell you—or as is the pattern of some—to make you do what I think you should do. If you want to marry someone who has the same body parts as you, well, I personally can not “sanction” that, but, I do sanction your right to choose differently than me.
And I expect you to do the same for me.
This is the crux of the whole thing for me: Liberty. It’s not a moral issue, though of course underneath the minutia of all these cases, and legal and political battles it has moral implications.
It’s an issue of liberty. And not only that of the people wanting to legalize same-sex unions.
I may strongly disagree with you, but inherent in my understanding of liberty is your liberty. You are entitled to live your life however you please, so long as no one else is hurt (without their full, willing consent) in the process. We are all guaranteed these inalienable rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Even if it’s “wrong”, or even if it might hurt us. (Larger portions at fast food restaurants? Smoking? Drinking? Marijuana? Driving without seat belts? Riding bikes without helmets?)
We have become a people who no longer celebrate diversity, and we are increasing the pace toward total control over everyone’s lives.
Equality? Or Victory?
The cry from those who want to legalize same-sex marriages at the Federal level—thus requiring all States to abide by this legal status, whether or not they sanction such unions—is that of “equal rights”. But what is happening is really just an attempt to gain control, and force others to do what you think they should do. One group telling another how they can and will act. Bakeries have to make wedding cakes, and churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriages1.
The bottom line is: if you want freedom, then you must also give freedom.
You can have freedom, and the consequences of freedom, and you must concurrently and equally allow others to think and live differently than you. There are obviously places where these freedoms intersect, and at that point a society must decide how to resolve such disputes. That is what our Constitution (and the government it created) allow for.
I am opposed to gay marriage. But I am even more opposed to legislating any bit of this. In fact, I’m all for unlegislating marriage altogether. I love being married to Jen—it’s maybe the most important piece of who I am after being a child of God. Do I care that New York State “recognizes” my marriage? Not really at all.
Much of this fight is because of tax penalties (including the case that brought about last Wednesday’s ruling) and legalization of immigrants, and other financial/taxation concerns. So drop them, as much as possible. Don’t tax money bequeathed to a loved one. Don’t provide financial benefits to married couples.2
Just leave me be.
I agree with the Supreme Court that defining marriage is unconstitutional, but not because it violates the constitution as much as because the federal government has no place defining marriage in the first place. Traditional marriage, or same-sex marriage, or multiple concurrent marriages, or polygamy, etc, etc.
Some seem to see government as the protector of morality, but is that really our government’s role? I heard a statement in regards to this subject on a podcast just this morning:
“It’s the government’s job to treat [marriage with] equal[ity], it’s not the government’s job to make moral choices for people.”3
Stop thinking that you can pass laws and make people into what you want them to be.
Laws do not shape people’s minds and hearts. Education, the Holy Spirit, and in general, a caring instructor will do that. (As well as common sense and life experience; those can be the best teachers sometimes.)
You can’t say “Gay marriage is legal and approved!” and change people’s beliefs by that statement. Nor do we conform people to “right thinking” by saying, “Gay marriage is abhorrent and banned!!!”
It just doesn’t work that way. The morality of our laws and government reflect who we are, the do not make us who we are. In addition, our laws are about blind justice (not preferential prejudice) and equality, for all.
God made us free. Our Founders recognized that. We are born with the right to choose, and our government is We the People, protecting each other’s inalienable rights. I’m still going to disagree on the specifics regarding gay marriage, but that’s my inalienable right. And yours.
And that is what we most need to protect here.
It’s not “hate” to say that homosexuality is a sin. (Nor is it usually very helpful, in a public setting.) It is encroaching on freedom to say that someone can’t think that, or even express that.
(Again, it may not be helpful, but let truth be truth. If you say homosexuality is not a choice, but as natural as different skin or hair colors, then let that be true. Don’t force it on someone who strongly disagrees.)
But that’s where we fall sadly short. We are supposed to be the Land of the Free, but we really want to be free to make other people like me.
How sad. We’re meant to be more.
Love mercy, do justly, walk humbly with your God
So let’s be. Love your neighbor—whatever they believe. Find common ground, even if there’s barely any to be found. Stop trying to make other people think like you do!
And most of all, pray. Not for God to change other people, but so your eyes will be opened to what he is doing. First in you, and then around you.
I think it’s good that DOMA is being questioned. DOMA arigato, SCOTUS. Hopefully that means there is a semblance of constitutuional liberty still present in our bloated, overreaching federal government.
And now we proceed with liberty our goal. And justice for all.
True justice, not petty political victory.
May God help us as we do.
- Note, I realize this is in Denmark, but this mentality is being championed here in the US. When we make the gay view the “right” view, the same errors in how we treat each other will inevitably be carried out, just in the reverse. ↩
- I’m sure there is much more here than I even have time to consider, but the general principle makes sense to me. Less government is better government! ↩
- Wayne Jacobsen, The God Journey Podcast – Sexuality & Transformation (6/28/13) ↩