Marriage Equality

It is once more in the headlines and up for discussion. That’s right, I’m talking about gay marriage.

It’s been almost two years since my first post on the subject, Gay Marriage from a Christian Perspective and it’s follow-up post, Hate the sin, not the sinner! Is that right? and I’m a little surprised that this hasn’t been resolved in that time. Now, I won’t profess to know all about the current situation with the government because I don’t really follow the news that much. It’s too full of negativity and twisted truths. In other words, I never know what or who to believe as I’m sure there is always more to a story than is told. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Have I changed my mind?

With this subject coming back (or at least hitting the headlines again) I thought I would revisit my previous posts. After all, it’s been two years (almost) and God has changed me in several ways over that time. So, maybe my thoughts and beliefs on this issue might have changed too? I reread my posts a moment ago and sat here pondering my current thoughts. In reflection, I realised, my thoughts haven’t changed on what I said but that maybe, there was something else here that I did want to say. So here I go.

Marriage Defined

I thought I might approach this from a different perspective this time. The term marriage specifically. In the Oxford dictionary, it is defined like this…

The legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman)

Dictionary.com has several definitions, one of which is…

Also called opposite-sex marriage. The form of this institution under which a man and a woman have established their decision to live as husband and wife… see also traditional marriage

This is their second definition, the first talks about an interpersonal union to form a familial bond and mentions opposite-sex, same-sex, plural and arranged marriage.
The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines it like this…
Further down the page they have a usage paragraph that goes into the controversy of the institution of marriage. They mention that…
the controversy involves cultural traditions, religious beliefs, legal rulings, and ideas about fairness and basic human rights. The principal point of dispute has to do with marriage between two people of the same-sex
I don’t think that clears anything up. Each definition has the concept of two people being united in marriage. The traditional definition is of man and woman but all others mention same-sex and even multiple partners in one.

Marriage in the Bible

But what does the Bible say? Well, in Genesis we read that it is between man and woman (Genesis 2:24), in Malachi we get the description of marriage being a Holy Covenant before God (Malachi 2:14), and there are many more references throughout the Bible. In contrast, 1 Corinthians 7 says it’s good for a man not to marry but to avoid immorality, a man should take a wife and a woman a husband (my paraphrasing – 1 Corinthians 7:1-2). In my mind, this isn’t just referring to sexual immorality but all forms i.e. greed, selfishness etc. In a way, I think this is saying that marriage can help you improve yourself, because you don’t just live for your own desires but also that of your partner. The Bible also teaches us that to live in a sexual union and not be legally married does not mean you are married in any sense. In John 4 Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman who has had 5 husbands and is currently living with another man about who Jesus says…”the one whom you now have is not your husband” (in v18).
The Bible’s stand point, God’s stand point, is that marriage is between a man and a woman, that it is a Holy union, that you will improve yourself by being married and just because you are living together doesn’t mean you are married. Now, there is a lot more said about marriage, about how a husband and wife should behave and so on but that has nothing to do with my discussion today.

As For Me and My House…

As a Christian, I follow the Bible’s teachings so marriage to me is between a man and a woman. That’s the way I did it and may do again one day (I’m currently divorced – but that’s another subject). So as Joshua said, As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord.

But that doesn’t mean that’s the way you have to do it.

The Law and Authority

The Bible also teaches that we are to honour the law and governmental authority because God has established it. It’s hard to recognise that God puts the people who are in charge there, especially when they are not Christians but that is what the Bible teaches us. However, in submitting to the government’s authority and the laws of the land, we are not to break the laws of God. Where the law of the land requires a breaking of the Law of God we should not submit. How does this then play out with same-sex marriage? Well, to me, it’s easy. As a Christian, I don’t do it. That means it’s OK for others to do it, but I won’t be marrying a man anytime soon. To further this a tiny bit, I then think it is wrong for someone who does want to marry someone of the same-sex to expect it to be in a church or by a minister of God. To me, that would be a breach of God’s Law.

I’m sure that if this law is changed, it wouldn’t be the first that doesn’t follow the Bible’s teachings. While, as a Christian, I believe that many of our laws are based upon the Ten Commandments and law handed down from God to Moses, I know there are several that are not. For example, there is nothing in the Bible about speed limits specifically but that doesn’t mean a Christian can speed. I’m also sure that our policies regarding refugees (who haven’t applied to come here legally) are not based on Biblical principles. What is reported on how they are housed and treated doesn’t sound like the way the Bible teaches we should treat foreigners. The golden rule taught in the Bible is to treat others how you want to be treated. I’m sure that the border policy makers don’t want to be treated the way their policies instruct others to be treated. That being said, to reiterate, as a Christian, we are called to obey the law unless it calls us to break God’s law.

Getting back to the subject at hand, if same-sex marriage is about equality, then that is something that the Bible does teach about. Job provides the best example when he talks about everyone being made the same, formed in the womb (Job 31:15). We are all born equal and therefore should all be treated equally, including marriage rights and pay rights and so on and so on. I could also talk about how we as Christians are called on to love and not to judge, for that is God’s domain, but I think that I have made my point already. I’ll save that for another blog, some other time.

If then, our Government decides to allow same-sex marriage in Australia, it’s OK with me. I won’t participate, but it’s fine for others to do so.