Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What the Supreme Court Rulings on Same Sex Marriage mean to me!

I believe in Same Sex Marriage and continue to support the God-given right for two people who chose to enter into a consensual, loving, exclusive, and permanent lifetime partnership of romance, companionship, and family-building to have that right. I have long said that true marriage has nothing to do with gender. Rather, it is about covenant.

The rulings of Supreme Court, however, do not define marriage or clarify what it is—or what it is not. They simply recognize that the State, not the Federal Government, has the right to define marriage and that any such definition must not be discriminatory.

For those of us who long for genuine marriage equality and justice, today’s rulings are symbolic victories in the progressive movement toward fulfilling God’s word and creating a more just, equal, and compassionate society. Yet, before we celebrate, we must do so with caution and compassion.

We must be cautiously enthusiastic about the rulings because they do not actually legalize Same Sex Marriage. They clear significant roadblocks toward legalization and I honestly trust that many more states will follow this decision and move toward equality and justice.

We must be compassionate toward all amid the changing culture of our nation. There are many people—including some of my most beloved, trusted, respected, and admired friends—who find the Nation’s progressive movement toward marriage equality as a vile and reprehensible perversion of God’s will. The sense of abandonment and betrayal by large segments of their beloved country and faith, as well as a genuine sense of disgust that the Supreme Court would thwart God’s Law is very real for those who oppose Same Sex Marriage. Their refusal of such marriages is not a matter of homophobia or ignorance, as many would postulate. Rather it is a profound and authentic expression of faith that must be respected and compassionately understood.

One factor that I believe must remain central to today’s (and all future debates on the legality of Same Sex Marriage) is that freedom of speech and free exercise of religion must remain central to whatever laws are passed in my, or any other, State. If a person, on the basis of religious doctrine or moral principal does not wish to perform a Same Sex Marriage, their right to refuse must be protected by law.

In the end, no ruling of the Supreme Court is going to define marriage in a way that is acceptable for all, or necessary for all time. Marriage has evolved and changed over time as have virtually all aspects of human culture and religion. Even in Christianity, our faith has evolved and changed over the past 2,000 years and the evolutionary change in the faith's understanding of marriage is part of that epic cycle of God's amazing design. Yet, for all of us who profess a genuine faith in Jesus Christ, the fact remains that we must find a way to be Christians together even when we disagree over matters of faith and practice.  

Advocating for, or against, Same Sex Marriage, however is not enough. If that is all we do, I fear we have totally missed the point. There is a bigger issue out there!

As Christians, there is a serious matter affecting marriages that we have been largely ignoring and must seriously pray about and act on! That is protecting true Marriage!

There are many different ways that people define marriage. As noted above, I define it as “two people who chose to enter into a consensual, loving, exclusive, and permanent lifetime partnership of romance, companionship, and family-building.”  As anyone who has been, or currently is married knows all too well, that is not an easy covenant to keep. Marriage requires dedication, effort, forgiveness, compassion, intentionality, and love. Successful marriages require mutually selfless devotion to the spouse, intentional communication, and relentless commitment to choosing every day to honor the sacred covenant the couple has made. Unfortunately, many marriages fail today because one or all of those vital components goes lacking.

Rather than worrying about who must be denied marriage or fighting over who can get married, Christians need to spend more time nurturing healthy marriages and cultivating a culture where marriage is held in highest honor, respect, and admiration.  We need to work for a world where marriages are no longer threatened by pornography, consumerism, addictions, violence, and infidelity. It is time we truly promote quality, meaningful, and permanent unions grounded in God’s love. We need to be compassionate and supportive of those who have made mistakes in marriages and embrace them in God's love. This, in my opinion, is more in line with God’s will than all the back-and-forth debating we have seen thus far.

So, now the States are free to pursue legalizing Same Sex Marriages without undue hindrance from the Federal level. Thanks be to God! With that behind us, it is time to start lobbying for Marriage! 

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