So the CA Supreme Court just handed down their decision. You can read it here. I know that there are going to be a LOT of opinions on this issue, but I think that there are some important considerations with respect to this ruling.
First, let it be said that the furor is over an amendment that was passed by the voters of California. Just because the majority believes something does not make it right (that is mob rule, i.e. democracy); there are checks and balances in the system to make sure that the majority does not override the rights of a minority. That is what a federal republic is all about, which is the system of government that we practice. Here is how it went down:
- The voters of California spoke (and with a margin about as wide as President Obama’s defeat of John McCain in the presidential election, lest anyone think that the margin was too thin to count).
- There was an appeal by the minority; this is just fine and the way that the system is designed to function!
- That appeal was taken to the highest court in the state, which heard the appeal from a well-funded and researched legal team who made the best argument they could.
- That court ruled that the people of California have the right to amend their constitution by vote.
If you want to read a great discussion of the topic of same sex marriage and the biblical issues behind it, you can’t do better than Kent DelHousaye’s article on the subject. He makes a compelling case. Go read it. No, I mean it. Now. I can wait.
No, for real…go read it.
Okay, done? Good. On with the show…
As a Christian I was somewhat torn over this one for awhile. (I know…I am supposed to be vehemently and angrily against same sex marriage because I am an evangelical Christian…sorry, I prefer to think about this stuff and come to a conclusion that is thought out, thoughtful, and understands the other side) The tension in my mind arises over trying to live life with a biblical outlook as someone who is trying to follow Christ. On the one hand, when I vote I try to vote for those laws and candidates who I believe honor God; it’s a “HWJV” (How Would Jesus Vote) thing. On the other hand, I can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians (heck, a lot of Christians don’t act very Christian!) and I have a difficult time legislating morality. I am also wary of government interference…what will I feel like when the majority votes to outlaw Christian worship? I lean libertarian at times…so sue me.
When I read Kent’s article awhile back it crystallized my thoughts. The idea here isn’t marriage; at least that is not the stated issue that same-sex marriage proponents offer. The issues here are supposed to be tax advantages, estate law, and health care benefits that marriage offers. I believe what Kent says in his post (go read it if you haven’t!), that if those are the issues then another “estate” such as domestic unions should be acceptable. The term “marriage” has always been a primarily sacred (not secular) institution. For instance, when I officiate at a wedding I end with something like “By the authority vested in me be God and recognized by the state of Arizona, I pronounce you husband and wife.” It is a sacred institution recognized by the state.
If the true idea, though, is that someone wants a sense of God’s blessing over something that is clearly delineated in Scripture as sin (and it is; go read Romans 1:24-32) then I cannot sign off on that. As Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” Asking God to bless sin is not okay! Whatever we want to say about it, God’s standards never change. That is not being hateful, just honest. I am sad that many Christians can get way too angry over issues, but stating the biblical issue is not hateful. And lest someone ask why the Bible can give laws, our entire culture and the foundation for law in the western world comes from the precedent and mandate given to us in Scripture. That is why a copy of the Ten Commandments still stands outside of our Supreme Court.
Furthermore, as my friend Robert has said, this isn’t about equality or human rights. We have laws against children marrying, against siblings marrying, and against currently married people marrying again. We have laws against people marrying other animals. (but why no laws against people marrying plants, or ideas, or something else? “Yes, Reverend, I am madly in love with Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ and I would like to commit to it in holy matrimony!” “Your honor, I want to leave my home to my dog when I die and this is the easiest way to do so. I love her so much that I want Pumpkin to be my wife.”) So the argument that love is love, is, unfortunately, a non sequitur. Our attitude toward marriage and its transience has caused so much social damage (go ask a child of divorce how painful it is to go through) that doing more damage to the institution can’t possibly make things any better.
So I applaud the decision of the CA Supreme Court on multiple levels. One they upheld the constitutional process and the voice of the people of California. Two they checked the political power of a few elected officials (and unelected judges) who were overriding the will of the people. Three they decided that going backward would be a nightmare as well as recognized that another civil arrangement could be made that provides the same secular rights without the sacred overtones. That is a good decision.
Okay, I am going to leave comments on. Remember, if you are going to post a comment I will moderate it however I see fit. If you are respectful and polite and thoughtful to others I will allow it; if you are mean-spirited I will delete the post AT MY DISCRETION. This blog is a dictatorship, not a federal republic. 🙂