Posts Tagged ‘Gray’

Please read this in its entirety before commenting.  Some of you will disagree with the first paragraph; the rest will disagree with the following passages; and everyone will equally dislike the conclusion. I have put much thought into this, and wish I could explain this and more in a blog friendly format. Unfortunately, this has turned into a novel.

This has been a topic of much debate, and for much of the debate (online, at least), I have been on the sidelines; the subject being Amendment One/The Marriage Amendment. In this amendment, North Carolina is seeking to define marriage as between one man and one woman, thus protecting current marriage laws prohibiting same-sex marriages from being overturned by an individual judge or appellate court.

There are many things that are being said: some true, some false, some a slight mixture of the two. I have read the amendment, several news articles, a dozen or so blog posts, and countless Facebook posts and threads. As I am with most things, I have thought very long and hard about my own views on this amendment. I am not easily influenced, and do not change my view without a great deal of evidence. My goal here is not so much to change anyone’s view, nor persuade anyone to vote one way or another. My effort is to try to shed some light into both camps, and hope for people to realize that there is, in fact, gray area here.

  1. Marriage

1.1.      God created Adam and Eve, man and woman he created them. Genesis 1 and 2 outline God’s creation, and His institution of marriage. A husband should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. This institution was a lasting one, being practiced by every civilization in recorded history. The Old Testament defines this union further, in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, as prohibiting same-sex intercourse, thus outlawing homosexuality for Jews. In the New Testament, we see Christ endorse marriage, in Mark 10:9, saying what God has joined together, let not man separate. We also see him celebrating in John 2 at a wedding in Cana. After Christ’s resurrection, the apostle Paul likens the relationship between a husband and a wife to that of Christ and His Church. Paul also condemns same-sex relationships, outlining in Romans 1 that these relationships are a result of humanity turning against God repeatedly, and God giving them over to a debased mind. The case against homosexuality within the church and its standing as a sin is indisputable for Bible believing Christians.

1.2.      In a 2012 America, there is much more to a marriage than a commitment to a couple and God (not within the church; but remember, there is a large group of non-Christians who live here as well). In the United State, couples are married by pastors, rabbis, monks, dead rock and roll singers, yoga trainers and magistrates.  Divorce occurs in nearly 50% of all marriages (no official source.)  The government encourages marriage by offering tax benefits, health benefits, and welfare benefits based on a person’s marital status.  In a time of civil rights, it seems hard to justify denying these benefits to 8 percent of the US population (per a 2010 study by The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior).  Marriage, in a legal/state perspective, is about much more than the God ordained union between a husband and a wife.

1.3.      The singling out of a single group of people to exclude from marriage based on their lifestyle being a sin is incredibly hypocritical.  If this amendment is to pass, what would stop the state from creating future amendments to restrict the actions of a particular group of people (i.e., Christians)?  The arguments that I have seen most are that marriage is about kids and family and same-sex relationships are just not what God intended.  Well with the divorce rate in the church, and the number of single-parent families, it doesn’t appear that we as a church or society are pushing to outlaw divorce or re-marriage. These are at least equally harmful to the family and God’s plan for marriage, yet is just accepted.  (Disclaimer: My parents were young teenagers when I was born and my mother raised me as a single mom for many years. There is a lot of divorce in my family. I am not saying that we should outlaw divorce or excommunicate anyone, I just think we should be consistent and not pick and choose what sins should be tolerated.)

Disclaimer: Paragraph 1.3 in not worded as well as I would like it to be. Marriage in the Biblical sense should absolutely be restricted from same sex couples. A church should not endorse or perform such a union. However, the offering of civil and state benefits to people for getting married, and then neglecting the 7 or 8 percent of the population that are restricted from being married is just inconsistent, in my opinion.

  1. 2.     Benefits-

2.1.      One common thing that I have read is this statement:  “Well the marriage amendment only defines marriage. There are no other consequences or additional strings attached. It is just straight forward; define marriage as one man and one woman.”   I agree with this statement on the surface. However, obviously the legislators did not, because they deemed it necessary to include this statement: “This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”  Well that’s funny.  If all we are doing is defining marriage, why all of the extra jargon?  Simple- because politicians lie, lawyers are crafty and people are cheap.  There was something like this passed a few years ago.  A bill was passed through the NC congress for a never-ending stream of revenue to pay for the public school system and stop tuition hikes at UNC schools.  This of course, was the NC Education Lottery, raising 2.3 billion dollars since 2005 according to the homepage. Yet 2 passed bonds and hundreds of layoffs and 4 years without teacher raises (and a 1% raise this year…what a joke. Different topic though), money is still flowing out of tax payer money despite what was intended by the law.

2.2.      There is definite potential for unintended consequences in this instance. While I don’t believe health insurance will be affected by this amendment, contrary to popular propaganda, I do believe there will be additional hurdles for gay couples to cross to do very essential things.  This includes making life-saving decisions at hospitals, hospital visitation, adoption (potentially, depending on how a judge interprets that extra clause in the amendment), and I’m sure a few others. Homosexuality is not trending down. People will not choose to be straight just because a law is upheld. There are laws in 30 states outlining the same definition, yet the LGBT community is growing exponentially. There needs to be further definitions or rights granted to same sex partners in the event of an emergency and/or other scenarios.

  1. 3.     Conclusions-

3.1.      I decided months ago that I would not vote against this amendment. I came to this conclusion after much thought, and coming across the passage in Romans 1 that condemned people not only for participating in ungodly acts, but giving approval for those who practice them (I will also note that pride and being disobedient to parents is breathed in the same breath as sins against God in this passage, along with homosexuality. I pray we don’t start legislating against pride.)   I decided a few days ago, that with the amendment being worded as it is, and incomplete in my eyes, I’m not entirely sure that I can vote for it. I have laid out several thoughts here as to why I could potentially see voting against it.  I have many views on how the church should react and view issues like this one, but that will be for a different post. Romans 14:23 says this: “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

3.2.      I have heard it said that not voting for this amendment is a vote against it. Romans 14 calls that statement a lie.  If there is a doubt in your mind, or something that you cannot reconcile in your heart to be correct, to go against that is to proceed apart from faith, which would be a sin. For those in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and our conscience bears witness to Him.  The beautiful thing about the Bride of Christ is that we are all quite different. Some of us feel compelled to restrict how we live; others take to the book of Galatians and live in the Liberty that has been given in Christ. To believe in the liberty and continue to follow the Law is sin, just as one that is attempting to follow the Law and delves into liberty apart from faith is in sin. 

3.3.      In reading all of this, I hope that it has been beneficial to some.  I know many will disagree with what I am saying here, and since I am writing for and against both sides, I fully expect to take heat from all sides. I urge everyone to vote by faith. If you are convinced that this issue needs to be legislated, then you ought to do it. If you are convinced that this amendment is going too far, and current laws are good enough, then you should vote against it.  As for me, my conscience, and the evidence before me, will not allow me to vote one way or the other. And to do it in doubt would be, a sin. Maybe that too could be legislated…