Friday, February 24, 2012

"Haven't you read . . . ?"

Both houses of Maryland's legislature have approved same-sex marriage, and the bill is on its way to the governor for signature.  He will sign the bill, as he sponsored it in the first place.  Maryland will become the eighth state in the Union to apply its  marriage laws to two people of the same sex as it does to two people of opposite sexes.

Haven’t you read  .  .  .  that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

 This is what Jesus said in Matthew 19 in reply to a question about divorce that the Pharisees put to him.  As John Stott points out in today's reading, rather than answer questions about whether (and, if so, on what grounds) a man could divorce his wife, the questions in which the Pharisees wanted to embroil him, Jesus chose to talk about marriage.  He went back to first principles.

There is an argument, I suppose, that as a legal matter, same sex couples should be treated the same way as opposite sex couples.  After all, it is a free country.  I am ready, however, to hear someone from the "progressive" side of the argument argue that we should drop marriage as a "legal matter" altogether, and make it a matter of contract for everyone.  If a couple wants to create rights and obligations between them, then let them make an agreement that the state will enforce.

 These civil unions are permitted in some states, but for the "gay rights" movement, I believe it is seen as a stepping stone for their quest for moral equivalency.  That equivalency, at least in their eyes, is same-sex "marriage" approved by the government.  But moral equivalency is in the eye of the beholder in our post-modern world.  Why should the other side get a win on this one, and oppress the rest of us with their moral views.  Why don't we simply take marriage out of the realm of government altogether, and make it an agreement between two people that the courts will enforce?

That would leave "marriage," then, to religious institutions to confer or clubs or other associations, permanent or temporary.   Evangelical Christians, for example, can recognize a marriage as Jesus described it.  The rest can pour spiritual content into whatever arrangement they like.

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