The Gay Marriage ( Proposition 8 ) issue in California is becoming increasingly divisive with the scattered remains of YES and NO on Prop 8 signs blowing in the Santa Ana winds throughout the Los Angeles area.
And, folks are working hard on both sides to make sure that their side passes. The Yes on 8 folks, for instance, are holding no punches as my household received not one, but two, LIVE phone calls from a Yes on 8 person last night.
Then, there are the religious ramifications. One side says you cannot be Christian if you vote in favor of gay marriage. The other, less publicized side, says that you can’t be Christian unless you follow the greatest commandments of loving God with all your heart AND loving your neighbor as you love yourself — and, a vote against gay marriage is not loving your neighbor as yourself.
For me, the issue doesn’t need to involve partisan politics or religion, per se.
Whether or not you are an American who is religious, we are all pretty much in agreement on one thing. This United States is an amazing place to live. And, a substantial reason for this is the freedom provided to us in the U.S. Constitution.
The well-crafted 14th amendment to the Constitution provides:
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This is the only place that we need to look.
When the government stepped in to regulate marriage, requiring marriage licenses and that ilk, the U.S. Constitution became the arbiter of any dispute involving marriage. The concept of “equal protection” became the maxim for all such situations. So, like the U.S. Supreme Court in Loving vs. Virginia which instituted the right of different races to marry, the California Supreme Court got it right.
The “slippery slope” argument fails under the 14th amendment. This is the argument that many of my fellow church-going friends like to cite. If we allow this, then we allow other freedoms, like the freedom to marry dogs, children, or lawn furniture.
A straight person cannot marry a dog. A straight person cannot marry a child. A straight person can marry a “ho” but not a hoe.
As to churches, society should not and cannot force churches to marry homosexuals, and no reasonable person is advocating this. So, under a policy of gay marriage acceptance, churches will not be required to marry gay people. Our wonderful Constitution protects this right, as well, in the first amendment.
At our most basic, Constitutional level, under the equal protection of the law, gay and straight people have an equal right to get married at city hall or any other private place that will take their money.
As a Christian, I adhere to the biblical construct that homosexuality is a sin… the bible makes clear that homosexuality is an abomination. This being said, there are many, many, many other sins detailed in the bible. And, Christians are noteworthy for recognizing that we ALL fail to meet God’s standard which is why we needed Jesus to die for our sins in the first place!
If there was anything for a church to do on the issue, it was to prevent government intrusion on marriage altogether. And, we can all agree that it is too late for that.
So, concluding, we should render under Caesar’s what is Caesar’s: the 14th amendment is the rule, and we should follow it. It hasn’t failed our country yet.