Texas has joined the growing list of states whose judges have struck down constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, alongside other “Bible Belt” states such as Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. More than ever before, those who believe in biblical marriage will be forced to defend their position. Here’s how I foresee the debate proceeding.
First, proponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) claim that there is no rational basis for denying this “right.” For instance, Texas federal judge Orlando L. Garcia stated that the ban has no “rational relation to legitimate government purpose.” My response: enforcing the will of the people is a “legitimate government purpose.” In Texas, 76 percent of voters approved a constitutional ban on SSM. In Oklahoma, 76 percent of voters did the same, as did 57 percent in Virginia, 66 percent in Utah, 75 percent in Kentucky, and 52 percent in California. Activist judges have overturned bans in each of these states.
Second, proponents of SSM brand opponents as “extremist” and “radical.” For instance, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently claimed that “extreme conservatives who are right-to life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay… have no place in the State of New York.” My response: changing a position that has stood since the founding of our nation is “extreme” and “radical.” To quote Dennis Prager: “Many societies allowed polygamy, many allowed child marriages, some allowed marriage within families; but none in thousands of years defined marriage as the union of people of the same sex.” Which position is more “radical”?
Third, SSM defenders claim that that laws forbidding it are analogous to laws forbidding interracial marriage. Those who support biblical marriage are likened to segregationists and racists. Here’s my response: there is no difference between blacks and whites, but there is an obvious and clear difference between men and women. The Bible nowhere forbids interracial marriage (Moses married a black woman, Numbers 12:1); it consistently forbids same-sex marriage (Genesis 1:27-28; Matthew 19:4-6).
Fourth, proponents claim that SSM is a civil right which should be extended to all citizens. My response: if “marriage” without restrictions is a right, why should it be limited to adults? Why should it be forbidden to polygamous relationships or marriage within families? Nowhere does the Constitution grant the “right to marriage.” However, the First Amendment clearly protects freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. If SSMs are made legal, will churches be forced to perform them? Will religious organizations be forced to provide benefits for them?
Fifth, SSM proponents claim that opponents are “homophobic” and bigoted. My response: we seek to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). The reason God forbids homosexual activity is because he knows how harmful it is. When physicians diagnose problems, they do so because they care for their patients and want them to be well. This was Jesus’ spirit, and should always be ours.
Homosexual activity is not the unpardonable sin. God loves gay people just as much as he loves straight people. All sex outside of marriage, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is unbiblical. God wants each of us to experience his abundant life (John 10:10). The One who made us knows that living by his word with regard to sexual activity is best for us.
Let’s choose to defend God’s word on this divisive issue, but let’s do it “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15), remembering that others will know we follow Jesus not by our logic but by our love (John 13:35).