I have posted on this subject before, but given the continuing march toward the legalization of the aberration some call “gay marriage”, it seems to me worthwhile to reiterate some thoughts as to the appropriate response of Christians should this become the law of the land. A couple preliminary observations:
1. Our allegiance is to God long before it is to the United States of America, its Constitution, or its laws. That said, of course we ought to seek to comply with its laws insofar as we are able to in good conscience; in fact, what I will advocate below does not involve the breaking of laws. But it’s important that we drive this stake in bedrock; “we must obey God rather than men.”
2. We must do what is right—not necessarily what is popular, understood by others, etc. We must do what is right—and not what is advantageous tax-wise, or inheritance-wise, or what-have-you.
Those things being said, it seems to me that a course of action Christians should strongly consider, should the state radically redefine its definition of marriage to include couples of the same sex (or, for that matter, polygamy or group marriage, which are surely coming down the slippery slope right behind “gay marriage”), is to voluntarily withdraw from state-recognized marriage. Now, I’m not advocating divorce, per se, because the laws in most states, if my understanding is correct, would demand that couples do certain things such as living apart for a period of time, demonstrate incompatibility, etc. I have no intention of doing any of those things, but rather of honoring the vows I made to my wife 28+ years ago. What I’m suggesting—and what I plan to do in the event “gay marriage” comes to Georgia—is to petition the state for the legal decertification of our marriage.
This calls into question issues such as
- What is the very source of marriage?
- What truly makes one married?
- What is marriage really about?
- Secondarily, is there legal precedent for taking such a step?
As Christians, we understand marriage to be instituted by God. He started the enterprise, and gets to make the rules. Marriage is not an invention of this or any other state, and when this state pretends it can tinker with the fundamental definition of an entity ordained by God, we must respectfully resist this usurpation of the state’s prerogative.
What makes one married? It is surely not a piece of paper called a “marriage license”. Rather, it is a commitment made between two people and before God, a covenant binding man and woman together for life.
Marriage is not about rights. Period. This is one of the major fallacies of the arguments that are being made in favor of “gay marriage”, that legal rights aren’t equal between homosexuals and heterosexuals (this is a specious argument; they are, and always have been equal, but I’ve argued that point several times before and won’t belabor it here), and thus to secure rights, we have to have “gay marriage”. Nobody in their right mind is thinking about rights that the state will endow (hmmmm…isn’t it our Creator who endows rights?) when they walk down the aisle.
Legal precedent? The fact of the matter is that the government of the United States has not, for most of our history, seen the need to interject itself into such matters. Put another way, neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln had marriage licenses. It wasn’t until 1923 that the Federal Government established the Uniform Marriage and License Act, and it took another six years for every state to have adopted marriage license laws. Such matters were usually left, in the early days of our country, to things like family Bibles, which in the front would often record major passages of life such as marriages, births, and deaths.
To sum up, here’s how the basic argument goes, in laymen’s terms:
- “XXX years ago, I entered into a contract with my spouse, recognized by the state.”
- “With the introduction of ‘gay marriage’, the state has unilaterally changed the terms of the contract, to define ‘marriage’ in a way that is intensely unacceptable to me as a follower of Jesus.”
- “Therefore, since the state has changed the terms of the contract, and I have not agreed to them (and will not agree), I demand a recourse that extricates me from the contract without causing me to violate my Christian conscience by consenting to a divorce as currently construed.”
Further, as I’ve stated before, once “gay marriage” becomes the law of the land, I will no longer be free as a Christian pastor to sign a marriage license. Currently, I am not free to sign such a license in those states that have adopted this aberration, and if it becomes the law of the land, I will remain happy to unite couples in Christian matrimony, but I refuse to act any longer as an agent of the state as a matter of Biblical conviction.