Monday, January 11, 2010


This post is motivated by reading the following article that is linked by Yahoo! News and AP Press:

Groundbreaking test for gay marriage

It will be nice for this issue to be settled once and for all, but I hope they make the right decision. The definition of "right decision" obviously differs depending on your World View. In my world view, the only reason we have something called "marriage" is that it is a ritual/ceremony that binds the couple in a contract not only with each other, but with God as well. After that, there are civil implications to the status of marriage, given by the state, in the sense of them being self proclaimed life partner. Sharing of property, decisions in medical care, etc. become privileges...and obligations. In a civil rights argument, gay people already have the option of civil unions, which give them the same rights as "married" couples. Why is the title of "marriage" even an issue here. Marriage is a holy union. In America, we are free to live as we please, within the limits of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but to give a gay couple's civil union the status of "marriage" changes the definition of marriage itself. Marriage would no longer be marriage in its original sense, i.e., being a contract with not only one another, but with God as well. Clearly, the Bible intends marriage to be the union of a man and a woman. This is clear all the way back to the Creation and Adam and Eve. If you want God's blessing in your union, then entering into the sanctity of marriage is good and right.

Confining marriage to only believers in God, might offend some people (heterosexuals) for whom got legally married but have no faith in the God defined in the Bible. So be it. But, in my mind, a civil union is the equivalent of marriage without asking for the blessing of God. Have a ceremony, if you want, but don't consider it holy matrimony, i.e., marriage. If you don't claim God, who established marriage in the Bible, as central to your relationship, why go through that ritual in the first place?

In a civil union, if there is a break in the relationship, there is as much a need for legal proceedings as with a marriage. In one, it breaks the contract with the couple; in the other, it also breaks the contract you made with God.

So, I think the issue here isn't whether or not gays can get married. I think it's the definition of marriage. Is it a holy ceremony established by God himself, or a cultural name for a ceremony that joins two adults, participating in a sexual relationship, for life. My worldview portends that true marriage would leave out not only gays from the title of "married", but also any couple who does not recognize their action as a contract with God, as well. A civil union is plenty for anyone who doesn't ask for God's blessing on the marriage. Have a ceremony; even call it something more interesting than "civil union," but don't pretend that you are entering a marriage.

If you give gays the right to be "married," you are changing the definition of marriage itself, and allowing anyone who wants to claim a commitment in a sexual relationship room to be married, too. This could potentially lead to polygamists getting to enter into the sanctity of marriage. Where does it end?

If a couple (heterosexual), for whom faith in God was not an element at the time of their official union, comes to a point in their relationship where they truly want God to place a blessing on it due to new belief, then have another ceremony declaring that. That is the point of marriage.

These posts are a chance for me to enter a stream of consciousness to think through some complicated political, religious, and social issues. Bouncing these ideas off of other people help me to see the holes in my thought, so gentle comments pushing me to rethink my reasoning are welcome. I think an honest dialogue on these things in the public is healthy, if done in a respectful way.

As I reread this, one more thing entered my head. Above is an analysis stemming from the question of whether or not to make it lawful for gays to enter into marriage based on the premise that marriage is strictly a religious ceremony. In this case, the 1st amendment enters into the arguments. After all, it prohibits the Congress from making laws "respecting the establishment of religion", or impeding the free exercise of religion. Perhaps, speaking of marriage in terms of laws is pointless and even unconstitutional. Therefore, I come back to the point that as far as the state is concerned, these contracts between two adults in a committed sexual relationship is simply a legally binding civil union. Beyond that, it is a religious choice. The state should not be making laws about a religious ritual. Then, people are free to make their choices and call their union what they want, but the state should not be defining something that has been established by the church. So according to the state, my husband and I are united in a civil union, subject to the privileges and responsibilities of that. But, according to my church and my heart and my God, my husband and I are united by the holy union of marriage. If, God forbid, we were to divorce, our civil union contract would be terminated, removing the rights and privileges the state assigns to the relationship, but so would our contract with God, which brings to us its own consequences determined by our belief in our God.

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