I really didn’t want to write this. But when I saw Franklin Graham on TV endorsing the proposed NC constitutional amendment about marriage as something that Christians must support, I had to say something.
For those out of state, the proposed amendment to our state constitution states:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State”
Amendment goes past ‘Christian’ purposes
If Christians were simply concerned about defining and protecting marriage, then the proposed amendment would read:
“In this State, ‘marriage’ shall be recognized only as a relationship between one man and one woman”
But by adding text that makes all other “domestic legal unions” invalid, the proposed amendment outlaw existing local laws and policies that allow:
* elderly couples to join in civil unions and evade “marriage penalties” on their retirement benefits
* divorced people to join in civil unions to protect individual assets from retaliatory ex-spouses without going to the expense of prenuptial contracts
* single-sex couples to join in civil unions that provide access to health benefits, hospital visitation, and other life basics when “marriage” isn’t an option
God is concerned for the family
God is, of course, very concerned about protecting the integrity of His family. I’ve catalogued more than 60 commands about family relations so far, and I’m still working my way through the New Testament.
What the supporters of this amendment seem to be missing is that God’s concern is about the integrity of God’s family. God’s family has always lived among other families who lack the knowledge of God’s ways and the power of God’s spirit. And it is not the responsibility of God’s family to judge whether people living without God’s power are failing to live according to God’s laws. As the Apostle Paul wrote: (1 Cor 5: 9 ff)
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this worldwho are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. … What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? … God will judge those outside.”
Is is appropriate to make laws to protect people from immorality, greed, and swindles (just to reference the few sins listed above)? I think it is. We have few reservations about locking up pedophiles, those who run Ponzi schemes, and those who cheat the elderly with fake home improvement schemes. We have broad agreement as a culture that these are wrong.
But we don’t have broad agreement as a culture that it’s wrong to be able to visit your registered domestic partner in the hospital after an emergency admission. We aren’t broadly agreed that it is better for the elderly to be married and live on catfood than to register and retain their benefits.
That’s why I’m voting no on the Marriage Amendment. And that’s why I urge all good Christians to do so as well.
- Tweedy, Mould Unite Against Proposed Same-Sex Marriage Ban (rollingstone.com)
- Gaston board supports marriage amendment (newsobserver.com)
- Amendment One (nclawyer.typepad.com)
- Controversial marriage amendment discussed at community forum (newsobserver.com)
- Billy Graham backs NC anti-gay marriage amendment (thenewstribune.com)
- Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage (religion.blogs.cnn.com)